DP12966 | Open Rule Legislative Bargaining

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We consider non-cooperative bargaining on the division of a surplus under a simple majority rule. Bargaining takes place according to an "open rule" as originally suggested by Baron and Ferejohn (1989): Under an open rule, proposals can be amended before they are voted on. We point out some gaps in Baron and Ferejohn's earlier work, and provide a fresh analysis of open rule bargaining. We devise a method to construct equilibrium candidates and to test whether these candidates are indeed equilibria. When players are sufficiently patient, we explicitly compute equilibrium outcomes. Compared to the canonical closed rule bargaining game, the equilibrium outcomes of open rule bargaining involve delays, but lead to more egalitarian surplus allocations. However, our results suggest that equilibrium delays tend to be longer, and surplus allocations tend to be less egalitarian than predicted by Baron and Ferejohn.