Legislative Negotiation

In this era of increasing polarization, even enemies can negotiate. Indeed for the health of the country political adversaries must learn to negotiate well. Learning the fundamentals of successful negotiation does not have to be limited to the business sector or labor unions, but can also be of tremendous benefit to members of Congress and state legislators across the country. Yet remarkably, current courses and training in negotiation do not include legislative negotiation. Current courses and training on Congress and the state legislatures do not include negotiation.

The Legislative Negotiation Project at Harvard Kennedy School was created to develop a range of cases and simulations for teaching legislative negotiation tactics at the state and congressional level. Embodying lessons distilled from the best negotiation classes across the university, the resulting case studies, simulations, and exercises are now available, without charge, to any qualified instructor in negotiation.

Developed from interviews, focus groups, and actual negotiations that were successful in these hyperpartisan times, these are the first materials ever produced for teaching legislative negotiation.

Click here for more about the project and these materials

Project Updates

  • The Program on Legislative Negotiation (PLN) at American University is using materials developed by the Harvard Legislative Negotiation Project to provide training in the fundamentals of legislative negotiation to bi-partisan Congressional staff through the Library of Congress.  The program has been so successful that there have been long waiting lists to attend the program. Visit the American University website for more information.
  • Stephen B. Goldberg, a distinguished negotiation theorist, writer, and trainer, has updated the classic text in the field, Goldberg, Sander, Rogers, and Cole, to include, for the first time in any law school negotiation/dispute resolution teaching book, materials and exercises on legislative negotiation. The book also examines causes and suggestions for remedying Congressional gridlock in negotiating legislative solutions to national problems. The negotiation simulations included in the book, in which students play the roles of members of Congress and state legislators, were developed through the Harvard Legislative Negotiation Project. Visit the publisher's website for more information.