While legislatures typically use majority rule to allocate a budget in distributive legislation, near-unanimous consent over the broad allocation of benefits is pervasive. I develop a game-theoretic model where players strategically interact in a universal coalition to determine allocations, with non-cooperative bargaining as a threat point for the breakdown of cooperation. To quantify the effects of political power and actual needs on the agreed-upon allocation, I structurally estimate the model using the "Bridge Bill Capital Budget" in 1992. I find that 9.58% of the budget would be allocated differently if allocations were determined only based on actual needs.
Universalism, Distributive legislation, Legislative bargaining
International Economic Review
Universalism and the Value of Political Power. (2018). International Economic Review. 1-46. Research Collection School Of Economics.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/soe_research/2035
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