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Collective choice bodies throughout the world use a diverse array of codified rules that determine who may exercise procedural rights,and in what order. This paper analyzes several two-stage decision-making models,focusing on one in which the first- moving actor has a unique, unilateral, procedural right to enforce the status quo, i.e., to exercise gatekeeping. Normative analysis using Pareto-dominance criteria reveals that the institution of gatekeeping is inferior to another institutional arrangement within this framework - namely,one in which the same actor is given a traditional veto instead of a gatekeeping right.The analytical results raise an empirical puzzle: When and why would self-organizing collective choice bodies adopt gatekeeping institutions? A qualitative survey of governmental institutions suggests that -contrary to an entrenched modeling norm within political science -empirical instances of codified gatekeeping rights are rare or nonexistent.

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