The Filibuster as a War of Attrition
Contrary to popular claims, we argue that the filibuster conveys meaningful information about participants’ willingness to fight for an issue. To this end, we present a model of the filibuster as a continuous-time, two-sided game of incomplete information and derive predictions about the frequency and hazards of observed filibusters. We show that informative signaling in the model can be detected by the presence of a specific mixture over distinct duration processes. Using a new estimator consistent with these predictions, we find that the filibuster has historically conveyed information and that it continues to do so, counter to many claims. In addition, the model explains variations in the frequency and duration of filibusters, including the puzzling increase in filibustering after rule changes easing the adoption of cloture.
Dion, Douglas; Boehmke, Frederick J.; MacMillan, William; and Shipan, Charles R.
"The Filibuster as a War of Attrition,"
Journal of Law and Economics: Vol. 59
, Article 4.
Available at: https://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/jle/vol59/iss3/4