Filibusted: The Mixed Effects of 'Going Nuclear'

20 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2017

See all articles by Adam Ramey

Adam Ramey

New York University Abu Dhabi

Date Written: November 4, 2017


Perennial gridlock in Washington has led to many political and media elites calling for an end to the filibuster. But would it matter? In this paper, I derive a series of legislative bargaining models and show that eliminating the filibuster would likely affect gridlock in a narrow set of circumstances. Using data on gridlock from Binder (1999), I conduct simulations to show that the the effect of removing the filibuster on outcomes is even bleaker. Thus, while getting the rid of the filibuster might be a good gimmick, the practical effects of doing so on gridlock are, at best, minimal.

Keywords: filibuster, obstruction, congress, game theory

Suggested Citation

Ramey, Adam, Filibusted: The Mixed Effects of 'Going Nuclear' (November 4, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Adam Ramey (Contact Author)

New York University Abu Dhabi ( email )

PO Box 129188
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

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