# Romer, T. and H. Rosenthal (1978), Political Resource Allocation, Controlled Agendas and the Status Quo

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Has article title | Political Resource Allocation, Controlled Agendas and the Status Quo |

Has author | Romer, T. and H. Rosenthal |

Has year | 1978 |

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Back to BPP Field Exam Papers 2012

## Background

Committees allow for division of labor and gains from specialization. However, a committee also has gate keeping power. If gates kept closed, the status quo prevails. If gates opened, the policy outcome depends on if open or closed rule is use.

### Open Rule

If committee opens gates, legislators propose policies to challenge status quo. Simply majority voting selects Condorcet winner [math]x_{m}[/math]. Committee only opens gate if he prefers [math]x_{m}[/math] to [math]x_{0}[/math] the status quo.

Suppose [math]x_{0} \lt x_{c} \lt x_{m}[/math]. We can see that the median of the committee prefers [math]x_{0}[/math] to [math]x_{m}[/math], so he will keep the gates closed and not allow a vote, as voting will result in [math]x_{m}[/math]. Thus, we get a status quo bias under open rule.

### Closed Rule

The closed rule solves these types of commitment problems.