DP11281 Corruption and Bicameral Reforms

Author(s): Giovanni Facchini, Cecilia Testa
Publication Date: May 2016
Keyword(s): Bicameralism, Corruption, Lobbying
JEL(s): D72, D73
Programme Areas: Public Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=11281

During the last decade unicameral proposals have been put forward in fourteen US states. In this paper we analyze the effects of the proposed constitutional reforms, in a setting where decision making is subject to `hard time constraints', and lawmakers face the opposing interests of a lobby and the electorate. We show that bicameralism might lead to a decline in the lawmakers' bargaining power vis-a-vis the lobby, thus compromising their accountability to voters. Hence, bicameralism is not a panacea against the abuse of power by elected legislators and the proposed unicameral reforms could be effective in reducing corruption among elected representatives.