Dynamic Models of Endogenous Political Power

Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2013

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Political Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Consisting of three essays, this dissertation studies repeated bargaining games in which current bargaining outcomes determine players' future bargaining power. The first essay examines the combined effect of endogenous proposal and voting power by letting the players' recognition probability and voting weights evolve over time proportional to their share in the earlier bargaining outcome. The results emphasize the initial power distribution and players' farsightedness. I find that if all players are sufficiently farsighted, there is no transition from non-dictatorship to dictatorship. Unless the initial state is dictatorial, the political system reaches an oligarchic state where two players divide the power and resources equally, and the composition of this oligarchy does not change over time. The second essay studies a repeated bargaining game in which players' subsequent voting weights depend on the previous bargaining outcome with equal proposal power being guaranteed for all players every period. I show that when players mobilize present resources to gain greater voting power but do not control proposal rights, ultimate tyranny and ultimate oligarchy are the long-run outcomes. As in the first essay, players' farsightedness and initial distribution of resources and power determine which outcome prevails in the long run. The third essay investigates the effect of endogenous proposal power, keeping the principle of ``one man, one vote''. I show that when players buy agenda-setting power using current resources but still cannot deny other players' voting rights, there emerges a permanent tyrant.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Norman Schofield

Committee Members

Elizabeth M Penn, Randall Calvert, John Patty, Brian Crisp, John Nachbar, Marcus Berliant


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/K7FF3QB2

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