New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2005‒10‒08
four papers chosen by

  1. Minorities and Storable Votes By Alessandra Casella; Thomas Palfrey; Raymond Riezman
  2. Co-Evolution of Information Revolution and Spread of Democracy By Walter Frisch
  3. What Citizens Know Depends on How You Ask Them: Experiments on Time, Money and Political Knowledge By Markus Prior; Arthur Lupia
  4. Reputation and Rhetoric in Elections By Enriqueta Aragonès; Thomas R. Palfrey; Andrew Postlewaite

  1. By: Alessandra Casella; Thomas Palfrey; Raymond Riezman
    Abstract: The paper studies a simple voting system that has the potential to increase the power of minorities without sacrificing aggregate efficiency. Storable votes grant each voter a stock of votes to spend as desidered over a series of binary decisions. By cumulating votes on issues that it deems most important, the minority can win occasionally. But because the majority typically can outvote it, the minority wins only of its strength of preferences is high and the majority's strength of preferences is low. The result is that aggregate efficiency either falls little or in fact rises. The theoretical predictions are confirmed by a series of experiments: the frequency of minority victories, the relative payoff of the minority versus the majority, and the aggregate payoffs all match the theory.
    JEL: C9 D7 H1 K19
    Date: 2005–10
  2. By: Walter Frisch (Institut of Government, University Vienna- Austria)
    Abstract: This is a short summary of a recent survey [FR03] focusing on the observed evidence, that Internet connectivity is positively correlated with spread of democracy at high levels of significance. The results of multivariate correlation analysis and probabilities regression estimate models are based on the combined analysis of mid - 1991’s, to 2001 data series of the Eurostat’s and US Census Bureau, the World Bank, and OECD’s statistical data service which track the growth of information technology and rating of freedom and democracy worldwide.
    Keywords: Spread of Democracy,Internet connectivity, correlation analysis,
    JEL: O P
    Date: 2005–10–02
  3. By: Markus Prior (Princeton University); Arthur Lupia (University of Michigan)
    Abstract: Surveys provide widely cited measures of political knowledge. Do unusual aspects of survey interviews affect these measures? An experiment on a nationally representative sample of over 1200 Americans provides an answer. Respondents are randomly assigned to one of four groups. A control group answers questions in a typical survey context. Respondents in three treatment groups are given a longer window of time in which to answer questions, a small monetary incentive for answering questions correctly, or both. These variations increase performance significantly for almost every knowledge question we asked. Overall, average knowledge scores in the treatment groups are 11-24 percent higher than in the control group. The treatments also cause significant reductions in the magnitude of respondents’ errors on open-ended questions. The findings imply that new elicitation strategies can improve our understanding of what citizens know about politics and other socially relevant phenomena.
    Keywords: information economics, political information, experimental economics, incentives
    JEL: C9
    Date: 2005–10–05
  4. By: Enriqueta Aragonès (Institut d’Anàlisi Econòmica); Thomas R. Palfrey (Departments of Politics and Economics, Princeton University); Andrew Postlewaite (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: We analyze conditions under which campaign rhetoric may affect the beliefs of the voters over what policy will be implemented by the winning candidate of an election. We develop a model of repeated elections with complete information in which candidates are purely ideological. We analyze an equilibrium in which voters’ strategies involve a credible threat to punish candidates who renege of their campaign promises, and all campaign promises are believed by voters, and honored by candidates. We characterize the maximal credible campaign promises and obtain that the degree to which promises are credible in equilibrium is an increasing function of the value of a candidate’s reputation.
    Keywords: Repeated Elections, Commitment, Reputation
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2005–04–11

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