New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2006‒01‒24
ten papers chosen by

  1. Electoral Rules and Government Spending in Parliamentary Democracies By Torsten Persson; Gerard Roland; Guido Tabellini
  2. Bargaining Sets of Majority Voting Games By Ron Holzman; Bezalel Peleg; Peter Sudholter
  3. Re-election Incentives and the Sustainability of International Cooperation By Conconi, Paola; Sahuguet, Nicolas
  4. Party Governance and the Selection of Parliamentarians By Klaas J. Beniers
  5. Political Parties and Network Formation By Topi Miettinen; Panu Poutvaara
  6. How Elections Matter: Theory and Evidence from Environmental Policy By John A., List; Daniel, Sturm
  7. Sticking with Your Vote: Cognitive Dissonance and Voting By Sendhil Mullainathan; Ebonya Washington
  8. How Black Candidates Affect Voter Turnout By Ebonya Washington
  9. Voting over informal risk-sharing rules By Ambec, S.
  10. Let Them Burn Money: Making Elections More Informative By Colin Campbell

  1. By: Torsten Persson; Gerard Roland; Guido Tabellini
    Date: 2005–04–23
  2. By: Ron Holzman; Bezalel Peleg; Peter Sudholter
    Date: 2005–12–31
  3. By: Conconi, Paola; Sahuguet, Nicolas
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of policy-makers' horizons on the sustainability of international cooperation. We describe a prisoners' dilemma game between two infinitely-lived organizations (countries) run by agents (policy-makers) with a shorter tenure. The agents' mandates are finite but potentially renewable and staggered across different organizations. We show that the efficient cooperative equilibrium is only sustainable when policy-makers are re-electable. Moreover, re-election incentives can act as a discipline device, making it easier to sustain cooperation between policy-makers with renewable mandates than between policy-makers who are automatically re-elected. However, if the chances of re-election depend significantly on recent performance, policy-makers will collude to get re-elected. In this case, term limits may help to sustain international cooperation.
    Keywords: overlapping generations; re-election incentives; self-enforcing cooperation
    JEL: C72 D72 F0
    Date: 2005–12
  4. By: Klaas J. Beniers (Faculty of Economics, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam)
    Abstract: This paper examines the incentives for a party leader in office and for a parties' rank-and-file to replace a sitting member of parliament. As to the leader's decision, we show that the leader prefers to replace a critical member of parliament who votes against the leader's policy. A competent leader designing efficient policies replaces a critical member since the member is unable to evaluate policies. A critical member may also have discovered a policy failure if the leader designs inefficient policies. In that case, the leader infers that the critical member has the ability to learn the quality of policies. An incompetent leader who cares about his reputation rather prefers that the member of parliament is incompetent. To reduce the risk that a future policy failure is discovered, an incompetent leader therefore replaces a critical member and keeps a member who supports the inefficient policy.<p>
    Keywords: members of parliament; party governance; political parties; candidate selection; legislative turnover
    JEL: D72 D78
    Date: 2005–08–10
  5. By: Topi Miettinen (University College London and University of Helsinki); Panu Poutvaara (University of Helsinki and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: We argue that anti-corruption laws may provide an efficiency rationale for why political parties should meddle in the distribution of political nominations and government contracts. Anticorruption laws forbid trade in spoils that politicians distribute. However, citizens may pay for gaining access to politicians and, thereby, to become potential candidates for nominations. Such rent-seeking results in excessive network formation. Political parties may reduce wasteful network formation, thanks to their ability to enter into exclusive membership contracts. This holds even though anti-corruption laws also bind political parties.
    Keywords: political parties, two-sided platforms, rent-seeking, network formation
    JEL: D72 D85 L14
    Date: 2006–01
  6. By: John A., List; Daniel, Sturm
    Abstract: This paper explores to what extent secondary policy issues are infuenced by electoral incentives. We develop a two dimensional political agency model in which a politician decides on both a frontline policy issue and a secondary policy issue. The model predicts when the incumbent should manipulate the secondary policy to attract voters. We test our model by using panel data on environmental policy choices in the U.S. states. In contrast to the popular view that secondary policies are largely determined by lobbying, we find strong effects of electoral incentives.
    JEL: Q58 H72 D72
    Date: 2005–11
  7. By: Sendhil Mullainathan; Ebonya Washington
    Abstract: In traditional models, votes are an expression of preferences and beliefs. Psychological theories of cognitive dissonance suggest, however, that behavior may shape preferences. In this view, the very act of voting may influence political attitudes. A vote for a candidate may lead to more favorable interpretations of his actions in the future. We test the empirical relevance of cognitive dissonance in US Presidential elections. The key problem in such a test is the endogeneity of voter choice which leads to a mechanical relationship between voting and preferences. We use the voting age restrictions to help surmount this difficulty. We examine the Presidential opinion ratings of nineteen and twenty year olds two years after the President's election. Consistent with cognitive dissonance, we find that twenty year olds (who were eligible to vote in the election) show greater polarization of opinions than comparable nineteen year olds (who were ineligible to vote). We rule out that aging drives these results in two ways. First, we find no polarization differences in years in which twenty and nineteen year olds would not have differed in their eligibility to vote in the prior Presidential election. Second, we show a similar effect when we compare polarization (for all age groups) in opinions of Senators elected during high turnout Presidential campaign years with Senators elected during low turnout non-Presidential campaign years. Thus we find empirical support for the relevance of cognitive dissonance to voting behavior. This finding has at least three implications for the dynamics of voting behavior. First, it offers a new rationale for the incumbency advantage. Second, it suggests that there is an efficiency argument for term limits. And finally, our results demonstrate that efficiency may not be increasing in turnout level.
    JEL: D0 H0
    Date: 2006–01
  8. By: Ebonya Washington
    Abstract: Both Black and White voter turnout increases 2-3 percentage points with each Black Democrat on the ballot. Given the groups' representations in the population, the White response is numerically greater. Whites of both parties are less likely to vote for their parties' candidate when s/he is Black. The turnout findings are not explained away by voter, election, or politician characteristics. However the fact that there is no turnout response to Black Republicans suggests that a perception of Blacks' ideology may be a factor.
    JEL: H0 J15
    Date: 2006–01
  9. By: Ambec, S.
    Abstract: People vote over risk-sharing rules to cope with random revenues. Risk-sharing rules are enforced through peer pressure : those who comply exert a negative externality on those who do not. People are differently affected by this externality. The author determines the elected risk-sharing rules and the level of compliance. It turns out that full risk-sharing is achieved only if everybody complies. Partial risk-sharing is more often achieved with, sometime, some level of non-compliance. In many cases, a majority of people votes over and complies with the risk-sharing rule that maximizes their own expected payoff.
    JEL: H21 O15 O17
    Date: 2005
  10. By: Colin Campbell (Rutgers University)
    Abstract: A standard election in which each voter chooses a single alternative permits voters little scope to express the intensity of their preferences. Allowing more complex statements of preferences may not alleviate the problem if voters behave strategically, as only certain statements are credible. I consider the implications of allowing voters to burn money as part of the voting procedure. In an environment with two alternatives and voters with interdependent values, I find necessary and sufficient conditions for all choice functions that are minimally responsive to voter preferences to be implementable with money burning. Furthermore, I show that any choice rule that treats ex-ante identical voters symmetrically can be implemented with an arbitrarily small amount of money burnt per voter as the set of voters is replicated. Thus, for a large electorate, the informational gains of money burning can be reaped at virtually no social cost.
    Keywords: Elections; Voting Mechanisms; Interdependent Values; Information Aggregation;
    JEL: D80
    Date: 2005–11–15

General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.