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Compromise for Whom?: Bargaining Coalitions in American Cities

Schiller, Jacob E. (2023) Compromise for Whom?: Bargaining Coalitions in American Cities. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Compromise is about bringing people together to make progress, but who and what gets included in the compromise has fundamental implications for society. The literature on coalition formation provides mixed predictions with rational choice models and some scholars suggesting that winning coalitions will be relatively small and constrained by parties, while the literature on universalism and vote-buying argue that coalitions should be unnecessarily large and sometimes unanimous. Evidence suggests that local governments function differently than the national governments on which this literature is built, questioning the applicability of these theories to the local level. Interviews with city council members suggest that the competitive and partisan environment of Congress might not well describe the bargaining environment in local government. Examining the motivations for legislators to act, I construct a theory of coalitions in which legislators are incentivized to govern inclusively, with issue urgency and identities impacting and influencing legislative coalition. I test the implications for legislative behavior using roll call data for large cities across the United States, finding significant effects for the presence of women and nonwhite representatives decreasing average coalition size. Increasing coalition size is demonstrated to lead to greater inclusion of women and racial minorities. Using a survey experiment, I then examine the incentives citizens offer to legislators in response to legislative compromises under the premise that legislators incorporate these preferences into their decisions. The findings produce two interesting results. First, increasing the urgency of an issue increases citizen approval of compromises, creating an incentive for legislators to reach compromises. More importantly, Black citizens show a unique concern for the quality of compromises only when Black citizens are disadvantaged by the status quo. This dissertation provides an important contribution towards understanding how legislative coalitions work inclusively in large cities and how urgency and identities constrain those coalitions through both citizens and legislators.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Schiller, Jacob E.jes298@pitt.edujes2980000-0003-4794-225X
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairKanthak, Kristinkanthak@pitt.edukanthak
Committee CoChairProvins, Tessatessaprovins@pitt.edukts33
Committee MemberWoon, Jonathanwoon@pitt.eduwoon
Committee MemberTrounstine,
Date: 10 May 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 28 July 2022
Approval Date: 10 May 2023
Submission Date: 17 July 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 205
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Political Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Local Government, Legislative Coalitions, Urgency, Gender, Race
Date Deposited: 10 May 2023 18:19
Last Modified: 10 May 2023 18:19


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