New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2004‒12‒12
five papers chosen by

  2. Voting on pensions : a survey By De Walque,G.
  3. Two Criteria for Social Decisions By Marc Fleurbaey
  4. Patience and Turnout By James H. Fowler
  5. Optimal two stage committee voting rules By Ian Ayres; Colin Rowat; Nasser Zakariya

  1. By: Constantino Cronemberger Mendes; Maria da Conceição Sampaio de Sousa
    Abstract: In this paper we estimated the demand for local public spending for the Brazilian municipalities within a median voter's framework. Results obtained are consistent with the theoretical background thus suggesting that this hypothesis might be useful to describe the demand for local public goods in Brazil. In particular, the use of quantile regression permitted to investigate the impacts of the conditioning variables on local public expenses across different expenditures classes thus allowing for heterogeneity across municipalities. Our results also suggest that the impact of the city size on the quality of club goods shows crowding effects as g is between zero and one. However, in the estimated models, marginal congestion slightly decreases with expenditure. This is a rather surprising result as one is tempted to conclude that the congestion effect should be higher on big cities. Yet, a more careful look shows the drawbacks of such interpretation. The indivisibilities that preclude the provision of certain services in small towns, concentrate their provision on larger cities. Hence, the higher expenditures of those big cities reflect not only a crowding cost but also the fact that these towns offer a wide range of services when compared to the small ones. So, in Brazil, contrary to the traditional results, the reduced congestion effect along the spending classes reflect the predominance of the scale elements measured by the population elasticities over the price effects.
    JEL: H70 C31 H72
    Date: 2004
  2. By: De Walque,G. (Nationale Bank van Belgie)
    Date: 2004
  3. By: Marc Fleurbaey (Nuffield College, Oxford University, UK)
    Abstract: This paper studies the ethical underpinnings of two social criteria which are prominent in the literature dealing with the problem of evaluating allocations of several consumption goods in a population with heteregenous preferences. The Pazner-Schmeidler criterion (Pazner-Schmeidler 1978) and the Walrasian criterion (Fleurbaey and Maniquet 1996) are prima facie quite different. But it is shown here that these criteria are related to close variants of the fairness condition that an allocation is better when every individual bundle in it dominates the average consumption in another allocation. In addition, the results suggest that the Pazner-Schmeidler criterion can be viewed as the best extension of the Walrasian criterion to non-convex economies.
    Keywords: social welfare, social choice, fairness
    Date: 2004–11–01
  4. By: James H. Fowler (UC Davis)
    Abstract: A number of scholars have demonstrated that voter turnout is influenced by the costs of processing information and going to the polls, and the policy benefits associated with the outcome of the election. However, no one has yet noted that the costs of voting are paid on and before Election Day while policy benefits may not materialize until several days, months, or even years later. Since the costs of voting must be borne before the benefits are realized, people who are more patient should be more willing to vote. I use a “choice game” from experimental economics to estimate individual discount factors which are used to measure patience. I then show that patience significantly increases voter turnout. Moreover, patience is significantly related to two other correlates of turnout, church attendance and political interest. The results suggest that variation in patience may explain why those who follow politics and those who attend church are more likely to vote.
    JEL: C9
    Date: 2004–12–03
  5. By: Ian Ayres (Yale Law School); Colin Rowat (University of Birmingham); Nasser Zakariya (FAS, Harvard University)
    Abstract: We study option management by committee. Analysis is illustrated by tenure decisions. Our innovations are two-fold: we treat the committee's problem as one of social choice, not of information aggregation; and we endogenise the outside option: rejecting a candidate at either the probationary or tenure stage return the committee to a candidate pool. For committees with N members, we find three key results: (1) a candidate's fate depends only on the behaviour of two `weather-vane' committee members - generalised median voters; (2) enthusiastic assessments by one of these weather-vanes may harm a candidate's chances by increasing others' thresholds for hiring him; and (3) sunk time costs may lead voters who opposed hiring a candidate to favour tenuring him, even after a poor probationary performance. We also characterise the optimal voting rule when N=2. A patient or perceptive committee does best with a (weak) majority at the hiring stage and unanimity at the tenure stage. An impatient or imperceptive committee does best under a double (weak) majority rule. If particularly impatient or imperceptive, this rule implies that any hire is automatically tenured. Perversely, the performance of a patient, imperceptive committee improves as its perceptiveness further declines.
    Keywords: intertemporal strategic voting, real options, social choice, heterogenous priors, tenure
    JEL: C73 D71 D72 D80 G12
    Date: 2004–12–09

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