Legislative Negotiation Project

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Seven newly written simulations and three cases in legislative negotiation are available free of charge to educators through the Harvard Kennedy School Case Program. The Harvard Legislative Negotiation Project, with support from the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation Madison Initiative, has developed these cases and simulations for teaching effective legislative negotiation at the congressional and state levels. The materials are designed to help legislators and their staff maximize legislative goals and overcome legislative impasses, particularly in these days of increased political polarization. For a list of people involved in this project visit the Ash Center webpage on Legislative Negotiation.

This site offers two kinds of materials, all available free of charge:

  1. The following cases and general instructions for simulations are available to all: Negotiating a Coalition of the Willing; Bridgeton’s Polluted Waters; Funding the FDA; Turning Down the Heat; Re-Building Bridges; and A New Airport?. No registration required. Just scroll down to find the case or general instructions and click to download. 
  2. Teaching materials, including instructor plans for cases and specific instructions for simulations, are available free of charge to qualified instructors for use in training Congressional Members or staffers, state legislators or their policy aides, or students in courses on legislative negotiation. To download these materials, please register for Educator Access by creating an account (notification received within 2 business days) or signing in and then navigate back to this page by clicking on the ‘Legislative Negotiation Project’ link above.

The Harvard Legislative Negotiation Project is working with the Library of Congress, the Program on Legislative Negotiation at American University, and the National Conference for State Legislators to deliver these materials to Congressional and state legislative audiences.

 

Video/Multimedia Case
BIPARTISANSHIP IN THE U.S. CONGRESS: THE WATER FOR THE WORLD ACT OF 2014
#2151.2 - February 2019

Case Author: Patricia Garcia-Rios
Video Producer: Patricia Garcia-Rios
Faculty Lead:  Kessely Hong

Abstract: This multimedia case focuses on the key decision points leading up to the unlikely passage in 2014 of the bipartisan Water for the World Act in the U.S. Congress. It features interviews with members of the House and the Senate, Congressional staffers, advocates and lobbyists. Through seven short videos to be played in class, faculty and students can explore the challenges of bipartisan negotiation in a highly polarized legislative environment, and of strategies to increase the chance for success when the only way to pass legislation is through bipartisanship.

Learning objective: This case supports discussion of the challenges of bipartisan negotiation in a highly polarized legislative environment, and of strategies to increase the chance for success when the only way to pass legislation is through bipartisanship. Some of the key aspects that may be explored through this case are: understanding two-level negotiations, developing strategies to choose coalition partners and build coalitions, the importance of framing the issue in a way that avoids potentially toxic amendments, the value of gaining bipartisan input to create a better and more durable bill, and the need to proactively identify spoilers and develop strategies to deal with them. The case is designed both for traditional classroom teaching and executive education, and for students with and without experience in legislative negotiation. It requires no preparation before class.

(90-100 minutes to teach)

MATERIALS FOR DOWNLOAD
The materials for this case are for registered instructors to use in class. If you do not have Educator Access, please register here (notification received within 2 business days).  

Teaching Materials include: 
-Teaching Plan
-Multimedia Website (link in Teaching Plan)

Download Teaching Plan

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Case Study 
NEGOTIATING A COALITION OF THE WILLING: CURT BRAMBLE AND THE UTAH IMMIGRATION FIGHT

#2127.0 - May 2018

Case Author: Laura Winig
Faculty Lead: Brian Mandell

Abstract: The case describes how state legislators in Utah, a very conservative state, assembled a “Coalition of the Willing”— Republican and Democratic representatives alongside religious, civic and business leaders—to negotiate a bipartisan compromise to address the emotionally-charged issue of immigration reform in 2010-2011. The case illuminates issues such as: diagnosing the barriers to agreement; understanding the role of the Utah Compact in shaping the negotiation strategy and trajectory of the 2010-2011 legislation; showing how a focus on problem framing brings more people to the table and creates the conditions for buy-in of an acceptable compromise solution.

Learning Objective: Key learning objectives include: diagnosing the barriers to agreement; understanding the role of the Utah Compact in shaping the negotiation strategy and trajectory of the 2010-2011 legislation; explaining how a focus on problem framing brings more people to the table and creates the conditions for buy-in of an acceptable compromise solution.

(90 minutes to teach) 

MATERIALS FOR DOWNLOAD
-Download Case
-Download Teaching Materials

Teaching Materials include: 
-Teaching Plan

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Video/Multimedia Case
OREGON TACKLES EQUAL PAY... AND WRESTLES WITH BIPARTISAN COMPROMISE
#2142.4 - January 2019

Case Author: Pamela Varley
Video Producer: Patricia Garcia-Rios
Faculty Lead:
Kessely Hong

Abstract: This multimedia case provides a lively portrait—from multiple points of view—of the creative bipartisan negotiations in both the Oregon House and Senate that ultimately led to passage of the 2017 Equal Pay Act. The case helps participants gain insights on the benefits and risks of bipartisanship, how a culture of bipartisanship is created, and strategies to resolve thorny issues and maintain support from political allies.

Learning Objective: This case supports discussion of the benefits and risks of bipartisan negotiation, and strategies to increase the chance for success—identifying traditions and norms that can cultivate bipartisan culture, procedures to help get past thorny issues, and internal negotiation techniques to maintain support from political allies. The case is designed both for traditional classroom teaching and executive education, and for students with and without experience in legislative negotiation.

MATERIALS FOR DOWNLOAD (two versions available)

Version 1 (for executive education, trainings — 100-120 min., no pre-class prep required): The materials for this case are for registered instructors to use in class. They include five classroom videos, a backgrounder, and a teaching plan. 

Teaching Materials include:
-Teaching Plan
-General Instructions

Download Teaching Materials

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Version 2 (for standard classes — 75-90 min., requires pre-class prep by students): The materials for this case include a multimedia website (available to students) and four in-class videos, two handouts, and a teaching plan (available to instructors).

Teaching Materials includes:
-Teaching Plan
-Handouts 

Download Teaching Materials

BUILDING A 21st CENTURY WORKFORCE
#2144.2 - January 2019

Abstract: This 1-on-1 Congressional simulation involves negotiations before the introduction of a bill between a senior Senator (D-OH) and the President of the Business Association of Ohio (SBAO), a key interest group for the Senator. The two parties are trying to find agreement on a workforce assistance package for small businesses in rustbelt states hurt by the economic recession.

Learning Objective: This exercise supports the introduction of interest-based negotiation and promotes discussion over the differences between interest-based and positional bargaining. This exercise can be debriefed to illuminate concepts such as the best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA), the zone of possible agreement (ZOPA), and focusing on interests to create mutually beneficial options. This exercise is designed for traditional classroom teaching and executive education, and for students with and without experience in legislative negotiation.

(90-120 minutes to teach)

MATERIALS FOR DOWNLOAD
The materials for this simulation are for registered instructors to use in class. If you do not have Educator Access, please register here (notification received within 2 business days).  

Teaching Materials include: 
-Teaching Plan
-General Instructions (included with Teaching Plan)

-Download Teaching Plan

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BRIDGETON'S POLLUTED WATERS
#2143.0 - January 2019

Abstract: This 1-on-1 Congressional simulation between two senior Representatives on the House Water Resources Environment subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee involves sorting out a sub-issue in a water infrastructure bill that affects water pollution in the Ranking Member’s District.

Learning Objective
: In this simulation there is no zone of possible agreement (ZOPA) unless one of the parties ignores their key needs or unless the parties reluctantly share their underlying needs and interests. Armed with this information, the parties can creatively explore ways to satisfy these interests while satisfying the key needs of for each party. This exercise supports the introduction of interest-based negotiation, the differences between interest-based and positional bargaining, how to help elicit underlying interests of parties, and the potential risks of revealing these interests. This exercise can be debriefed to illuminate concepts such as the best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA), the zone of possible agreement (ZOPA) and focusing on interests to create mutually beneficial options. This exercise is designed for traditional classroom teaching and executive education, and for students with and without experience in legislative negotiation.

(120-150 minutes to teach)

MATERIALS FOR DOWNLOAD
-Download General Instructions
-Download Teaching Materials

Teaching Materials include:
-Teaching plan

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NEGOTIATING AN ENERGY POLICY BILL
#2147.2 - February 2019

Abstract: This 1-on-1 Congressional simulation involves a scored negotiation between the Chair of Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (D-WA) and Ranking Member from same committee (R-NC). The case requires negotiating the final six remaining issues for an energy policy bill: nuclear power; addressing climate change; offshore drilling; investing in renewable energy; safeguarding the electrical grid; and funding offsets.

Learning Objective: The primary purpose of the simulation is to consider ways to create value in negotiation through trading on differences in priorities. Discussion topics include the importance of preparation to support setting an ambitious goal while maintaining flexibility, strategies to gather critical information about the other side’s priorities while avoiding biased assumptions, and process strategies such as discussing multiple issues to allow for tradeoffs and avoid getting stuck on one thorny issue. During the debrief, negotiators can compare their agreements with those made by other participants and explore strategies to make "Pareto Improvements" (agreements which are better for one or more players and not worse for anyone).

The simulation is designed both for traditional classroom teaching and executive education, and for students with and without experience in legislative negotiation. It can be used as an introductory or intermediate exercise (following a two-party, single issue negotiation).

(195 minutes to teach)

MATERIALS FOR DOWNLOAD
The materials for this simulation are for registered instructors to use in class. If you do not have Educator Access, please register here (notification received within 2 business days).  

Download Teaching Materials

Teaching Materials include: 
-Teaching plan 
-PowerPoint Presentation 

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FUNDING THE FDA
#2145.0 - February 2019

Abstract: This 4-person Congressional simulation concerns how to fund FDA User Fees. The negotiation is a 4-corners pre-conference scored exercise among: the Majority staffer of Senate HELP Committee; the Minority staffer of Senate HELP Committee; the Majority staffer of House Energy & Commerce; and the Minority staffer of House Energy & Commerce. The costs of not reaching agreement rise as the simulation continues and the impact of the FDA not being funded are felt.

Learning Objective: Funding the FDA allows for a wide range of possible agreements regarding the allocation of funds from the various parties to meet the funding goals. Groups will also use a wide range of criteria in order to craft specific packages. Additional lessons include the role of ethics in negotiation, managing time urgency, separating self and group interests, process design, and sharing and withholding information strategically. This exercise is designed for traditional classroom teaching and executive education, and for students with and without experience in legislative negotiation.

(195 minutes to teach)

MATERIALS FOR DOWNLOAD
-Download General Instructions
-Download Teaching Materials

Teaching Materials include:
-Teaching plan
-Excel spreadsheet

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TURNING DOWN THE HEAT: NEGOTIATING WILDFIRE PREVENTION AND RECOVERY
#2150.0 - February 2019

Abstract: This 2-on-2 Congressional simulation of a pre-conference negotiation involves reconciling quite different House and Senate bills on wildfires; the goal is to develop a uniform bill that could pass both chambers. The negotiation is among staffers to the Chair of Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (Dem), a Minority Member of Senate Energy and Natural Resources (Rep), the Chair of House Committee on Natural Resources (Rep), and a Minority Member of Committee on Natural Resources (Dem). All negotiators share a desire to address wildfire prevention and funding, but differ on key sub-issues.

Learning Objective: The purposes of the simulation are to help participants consider ways to build coalitions across parties and chambers, to design a process to manage complexity and move toward agreement, and to move beyond incompatible positions on a given issue by discovering and addressing underlying interests. During the debrief, negotiators can compare their agreements with those made by other participants and explore strategies to address different challenges they encountered. This simulation is designed both for traditional classroom teaching and executive education, and for students with and without legislative experience (although participants with legislative experience will have an advantage). It can be used as an intermediate or advanced exercise, and should follow after a two-party, multi-issue negotiation.

(160 minutes to teach)

MATERIALS FOR DOWNLOAD
-Download General Instructions
-Download Teaching Materials

Teaching Materials include:
-Teaching Plan
-PowerPoint Slides

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RE-BUILDING BRIDGES
#2152.0 - February 2019

Abstract: This 6-person capstone Congressional simulation centers on negotiating elements of a Manager’s Amendment before introducing a large infrastructure bill on the floor. There are 6 issues to be resolved: the number of amendments allowed, implementation timeframe, size of infrastructure bill, gas taxes, how the bill is paid for, and provisions on self-driving vehicles. Outcomes are scored for each negotiator. The parties negotiating include the Senate Majority Leader (R-IA), the Senate Minority Leader (D-OR), a Republican Majority Senator (R-AR), a Minority Senator (D-NJ), the White House Legislative Affairs representative, and the president of an autonomous vehicles interest group (AVIA).

Learning Objectives: The exercise introduces and explores the complexities associated with multiparty negotiations in the US legislative context including building, maintaining, and blocking coalitions and process management. This exercise is ideally situated later in a course that has already addressed negotiation fundamentals, including creating and claiming value, and in which students have had experience moving from two-party to multiparty negotiations. While Rebuilding Bridges is set in the United States Congress, instructors need not have legislative experience to run this case exercise. Relatedly, the main teaching objectives are universal and can be relevant to students outside of the legislative context as well as students who live and work outside of the United States.

(150-210 minutes to teach)

MATERIALS FOR DOWNLOAD
-Download General Instructions
-Download Teaching Materials

Teaching Materials include:
-Teaching Plan
-Confidential Roles

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A NEW AIRPORT?
#2146.0 - February 2019

Abstract: This 6-role capstone state-level negotiation simulation in the Senate Public Works Committee involves several issues, including siting the airport, regional transportation, possible healthcare concerns, and environmental questions.

Learning Objectives: A main point of the exercise is the increasing importance of process as the number of parties and issues increases. Systematic preparation, agenda-setting, and attention to how questions and activities are sequenced and framed is critical. For example, focusing primarily on demands and positions is likely to use time inefficiently and foster deadlock, in contrast to clarifying interests and concerns and focusing on brainstorming legitimate ways to meet those. Likewise, asking for criticism of illustrative proposals and then iterating them tends to result in far more progress than asking for acceptance of early proposals. The exercise requires learning to keep priorities clearly in mind while improvising strategy and tactics. And one’s likelihood of achieving a satisfying outcome is greatly enhanced with thoughtful preparation, especially analyzing the likely interests of other parties and possible creative options.

(225 minutes to teach)

MATERIALS FOR DOWNLOAD
-Download General Instructions
-Download Teaching Materials

Teaching Materials include:
-Teaching plan
-Spreadsheet

BE REASONABLE, SEE IT MY WAY
#2148.2 - February 2019

Abstract: This research-based exercise is designed to enhance legislators' or staff’s willingness to engage with and listen to those with whom they disagree on important, partisan issues, a key obstacle in many bipartisan negotiations.

Learning Objectives: The exercise is designed to help identify and overcome psychological biases that arise in partisan conflict. Participants learn through experience that: a) discussions of emotionally charged policy issues with those who hold opposing views are usually less aversive than expected; b) holders of opposing views often have well-considered and benign reasons for their beliefs; and c) that we agree more with our opponents than we expect. The exercise teaches participants to “perspective take” during conversation, recognize and neutralize psychological biases, and practice effective listening. Mutual understanding is an important precursor to effective negotiation, necessary for crafting effective and lasting agreements.

(90-120 minutes to teach)

MATERIALS FOR DOWNLOAD
The materials for this simulation are for registered instructors to use in class. If you do not have Educator Access, please register here (notification received within 2 business days).   

Teaching Materials include:
-Teaching Plan

Download Teaching Materials

 

CURRICULUM OPTIONS GUIDE
February 2019

This guide, available only to Educators, helps teachers sequence Legislative Negotiation Project materials and understand what packages of materials work well together, depending on the amount of time the educator has available.

MATERIALS FOR DOWNLOAD
The materials for this guide are for registered instructors. If you do not have Educator Access, please register here (notification received within 2 business days).  

Teaching Materials include:
-Curriculum Options Guide

Download Curriculum Options Guide


Funding for these materials has been provided by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

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