Buying supermajorities in the lab

Sebastian Fehrler, Maik T. Schneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (SciVal)


Many decisions taken in legislatures or committees are subject to lobbying efforts. A seminal contribution to the literature on vote-buying is the legislative-lobbying model pioneered by Groseclose and Snyder (1996), which predicts that lobbies will optimally form supermajorities in many cases. Providing the first empirical assessment of this prominent model, we test its central predictions in the laboratory. While the model assumes sequential moves, we relax this assumption in additional treatments with simultaneous moves. We find that lobbies buy supermajorities as predicted by the theory. Our results also provide supporting evidence for most comparative statics predictions of the legislative lobbying model with respect to legislators' preferences and the lobbies' willingness-to-pay. Many of these results carry over to the simultaneous-move set-up but the predictive power of the model declines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-154
Number of pages42
JournalGames and Economic Behavior
Early online date15 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Carl Müller-Crepon for excellent research assistance and Alessandra Casella, Fabian Dvorak, Urs Fischbacher, Moritz Janas, Gilat Levy, Simeon Schudy, Irenaeus Wolff and participants at several workshops and conferences for valuable comments. We also thank the Advisory Editor and two anonymous referees for their very helpful and constructive comments. All remaining errors are our own. This work was supported by Swiss National Science Foundation grant 100017_150260/1 .


  • Colonel Blotto
  • Experimental political economy
  • Legislative lobbying
  • Multi-battlefield contests
  • Vote-buying

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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