Public Choice

, Volume 152, Issue 1–2, pp 147–161 | Cite as

Towards a theory of bicameralism: the neglected contributions of the calculus of consent



In The Calculus of Consent (1962: 235) Buchanan and Tullock assert: (1) ceteris paribus, while a coalition controlling less than a majority of voters may control in either chamber, the greater the difference in the bases of representation in the two houses, the less likely is any given coalition of voters to control a majority of the seats in both chambers; (2) the potential of cross-chamber logrolls (on issues of unequal intensity) increases the likelihood that a minority may effectively control policy making. We link these ideas to social theory approaches to bicameralism and for the empirical study of legislatures.


Bicameralism Representation Majority rule Supermajorities Coalitions 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernard Grofman
    • 1
  • Thomas Brunell
    • 2
  • Scott L. Feld
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for the Study of Democracy, School of Social SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of Texas at DallasDallasUSA
  3. 3.Department of SociologyPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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