The power of the last word in legislative policy making

B. Douglas Bernheim*, Antonio Rangel, Luis Rayo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1161-1190
Number of pages30
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Agenda setting
  • Dictator
  • Distributive politics
  • Legislative bargaining
  • Majority rule
  • Pork barrel politics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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