New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2005‒09‒29
six papers chosen by

  1. Migration and the Welfare State: The Economic Power of the Non-Voter? By Kira Boerner; Silke Uebelmesser
  2. A Protectionist Bias in Majoritarian Politics By Grossman, Gene; Helpman, Elhanan
  3. Information Sharing, Cognitive Centrality, and Influence among Business Executives during Collective Choice By Abele, S.; Stasser, G.; Vaughan-Parsons, S.I.
  4. It's Parties that Choose Electoral Systems (or Duverger's Law Upside Down) By Josep M. Colomer
  5. The Left-Right Dimension in Latin America By Josep M. Colomer
  6. On the Origins of Electoral Systems and Political Parties. The Role of Elections in Multi-Member Districts By Josep M. Colomer

  1. By: Kira Boerner; Silke Uebelmesser
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of emigration on the political choice regarding the size of the welfare state. Mobility has two countervailing effects: the political participation effect and the tax base effect. With emigration, the composition of the constituency changes. This increases the political influence of the less mobile part of the population. The new political majority has to take into account that emigration reduces tax revenues and thereby affects the feasible set of redistribution policies. The interaction of the two effects has so far not been analyzed in isolation. We find that the direction of the total effect of migration depends on the initial income distribution in the economy. Our results also contribute to the empirical debate on the validity of the median-voter approach for explaining the relation between income inequality and redistribution levels.
    Keywords: migration, redistribution, voting
    JEL: D31 D72 F22 H50
    Date: 2005
  2. By: Grossman, Gene; Helpman, Elhanan
    Abstract: We develop a novel model of campaigns, elections, and policymaking in which the ex ante objectives of national party leaders differ from the ex post objectives of elected legislators. This generates a distinction between "policy rhetoric" and "policy reality" and introduces an important role for "party discipline" in the policymaking process. We identify a protectionist bias in majoritarian politics. When trade policy is chosen by the majority delegation and legislators in the minority have limited means to influence choices, the parties announce trade policies that favor specific factors, and the expected tariff or export subsidy is positive. Positions and expected outcomes monotonically approach free trade as party discipline strengthens.
    Keywords: comparative politics; party discipline; Trade policy; tyranny of the majority
    JEL: D72 F13
    Date: 2005–09
  3. By: Abele, S.; Stasser, G.; Vaughan-Parsons, S.I. (Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), RSM Erasmus University)
    Abstract: Laboratory studies have shown that decision-making groups tend to focus on common information at the expense of unique information. In the current study, high level business executives completed a personnel selection task. Access to information about the candidates was not controlled as in a typical study of information sharing, but common, partially shared, and unique information arose naturally from the individual members’ information searches. During subsequent discussions, groups mentioned more common than partially shared than unique information. However, the underlying processes seemed to be different from what has been observed in laboratory studies. The popularity of information in the population from which groups were composed predicted both the number of a group’s members who accessed an item in their information searches and whether the group discussed the item. However, the number of group members who accessed an item did predict whether information was repeated during discussion, and repetition predicted which items were included on a final written summary. Finally, cognitively central group members were more influential than cognitively peripheral members.
    Keywords: Information Sharing;Cognitive Centrality;Group Decision Making;Hidden Profiles;Collective Choice;
    Date: 2005–06–09
  4. By: Josep M. Colomer
    Abstract: This article presents, discusses and tests the hypothesis that it is the number of parties what can explain the choice of electoral systems, rather than the other way round. Already existing political parties tend to choose electoral systems that, rather than generate new party systems by themselves, will crystallize, consolidate or reinforce previously existing party configurations. A general model develops the argument and presents the concept of 'behavioral-institutional equilibrium' to account for the relation between electoral systems and party systems. The most comprehensive dataset and test of these notions to date, encompassing 219 elections in 87 countries since the 19th century, are presented. The analysis gives strong support to the hypotheses that political party configurations dominated by a few parties tend to establish majority rule electoral systems, while multiparty systems already existed before the introduction of proportional representation. It also offers the new theoretical proposition that strategic party choice of electoral systems leads to a general trend toward proportional representation over time.
    Keywords: Elections, electoral systems, political parties, institutional equilibrium
    JEL: H10 H79
    Date: 2005–03
  5. By: Josep M. Colomer
    Abstract: We present voters' self-placement and 68 political party locations on the left-right dimension in 17 Latin American countries. Innovative calculations are based on data from Latinobarometer annual surveys from 1995 to 2002. Our preliminary analysis of the results suggests that most Latin American voters are relatively highly ideological and rather consistently located on the left-right dimension, but they have very high levels of political alienation regarding the party system. Both voters' self-placement and the corresponding party locations are presently highly polarized between the center and the right, with a significant weakness of leftist or broadly appealing 'populist' positions.
    Keywords: Political ideology, left-right dimension, political parties, electoral competition
    JEL: E61 H10
    Date: 2005–03
  6. By: Josep M. Colomer
    Abstract: The old, understudied electoral system composed of multi-member districts, open ballot and plurality rule is presented as the most remote scene of the origin of both political parties and new electoral systems. A survey of the uses of this set of electoral rules in different parts of the world during remote and recent periods shows its wide spread. A model of voting by this electoral system demonstrates that, while it can produce varied and pluralistic representation, it also provides incentives to form factional or partisan candidacies. Famous negative reactions to the emergence of factions and political parties during the 18th and 19th centuries are reinterpreted in this context. Many electoral rules and procedures invented since the second half of the 19th century, including the Australian ballot, single-member districts, limited and cumulative ballots, and proportional representation rules, derived from the search to reduce the effects of the ‘originating’ multi-member district system in favor of a single party sweep. The general relations between political parties and electoral systems are restated to account for the foundational stage here discussed.
    Keywords: Political parties, electoral systems, multimember districts
    JEL: H10 H41 H79
    Date: 2005–03

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