Discussion Paper Series, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics 558
We conduct experiments to investigate the effects of different majority requirements on bargaining outcomes in small and large groups. In particular, we use a Baron-Ferejohn protocol and investigate the effects of decision rules on delay (number of bargaining rounds needed to reach agreement) and measures of "fairness" (inclusiveness of coalitions, equality of the distribution within a coalition). We find that larger groups and unanimity rule are associated with significantly larger decision making costs in the sense that first round proposals more often fail, leading to more costly delay. The higher rate of failure under unanimity rule and in large groups is a combination of three facts: (1) in these conditions, a larger number of individuals must agree, (2) an important fraction of individuals reject offers below the equal share, and (3) proposers demand more (relative to the equal share) in large groups.