Econometrica: Sep 2006, Volume 74, Issue 5

The Power of the Last Word in Legislative Policy Making
p. 1161-1190

B. Douglas Bernheim, Antonio Rangel, Luis Rayo

We examine legislative policy making in institutions with two empirically relevant features: agenda setting occurs in real time and the default policy evolves. We demonstrate that these institutions select Condorcet winners when they exist, provided a sufficient number of individuals have opportunities to make proposals. In policy spaces with either pork barrel or pure redistributional politics (where a Condorcet winner does not exist), the last proposer is effectively a dictator or near‐dictator under relatively weak conditions.

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