New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2006‒03‒25
five papers chosen by

  1. Initiatives for rural development through collective action By Kariuki, Gatarwa; Place, Frank
  2. Social Choice: Recent Developments By BOSSERT, Walter; WEYMARK, J.A.
  3. The Dynamic (In)efficiency of Monetary Policy by Committee By RIBONI, Alessandro; RUGE-MURCIA, Francisco
  4. Public Decisions: Solidarity and the Status Quo By GORDON, Sidartha
  5. Voting Power Derives from the Poll Distribution. Shedding Light on Contentious Issues of Weighted Votes and the Constitutional Treaty By Paterson, Iain

  1. By: Kariuki, Gatarwa; Place, Frank
    Abstract: "Dimensions of the nature, scope, and complexity of collective action in Kenya have evolved over many years. In studying collective action, the aim is to understand why and how people participate in networks of trust. The purpose of this study was to investigate the different objectives that farmers pursue through collective action with the aim of understanding the patterns of people's participation in collective action, identify factors that influence people to join groups, and identify the costs and benefits of participating in activities of groups. The study was carried out in four sites spread across the highlands of central Kenya. Data was collected from a total of 442 households, focusing on whether members of those households belonged to groups and if so, what type of groups these were and their activities. In addition we looked at how these groups functioned and identified some of the contributions members make to these groups and the benefits from the same. The analysis shows that collective action is used to accomplish a range of activities for different socioeconomic categories and that the majority of households in central Kenya engage in some form of group activity.... The study suggests that where institutions and policies that promote individual or private sector growth are weak, collective action can help to overcome these weaknesses and connect individuals in these institutions and policies." from Author's Abstract
    Keywords: Collective action ,Trust ,Community participation ,cost benefit analysis ,Household surveys ,
    Date: 2005
  2. By: BOSSERT, Walter; WEYMARK, J.A.
    Abstract: In the past quarter century, there has been a dramatic shift of focus in social choice theory, with structured sets of alternatives and restricted domains of the sort encountered in economic problems coming to the fore. This article provides an overview of some of the recent contributions to four topics in normative social choice theory in which economic modelling has played a prominent role: Arrovian social choice theory on economic domains, variable-population social choice, strategy-proof social choice, and axiomatic models of resource allocation.
    Keywords: Social Choice, Arrow’s Theorem, Gibbard–Satterthwaite Theorem, Strategy-oofness, Fairness, Axiomatic Models of Resource Allocation
    JEL: D63
    Date: 2006
  3. By: RIBONI, Alessandro; RUGE-MURCIA, Francisco
    Abstract: This paper develops a model where the value of the monetary policy instrument is selected by a heterogenous committee engaged in a dynamic voting game. Committee members differ in their institutional power and, in certain states of nature, they also differ in their preferred instrument value. Preference heterogeneity and concern for the future interact to generate decisions that are dynamically ineffcient and inertial around the previously-agreed instrument value. This model endogenously generates autocorrelation in the policy variable and provides an explanation for the empirical observation that the nominal interest rate under the central bank’s control is infrequently adjusted.
    Keywords: Committees, status-quo bias, interest-rate smoothing, dynamic voting
    JEL: E58
    Date: 2006
  4. By: GORDON, Sidartha
    Abstract: A public decision model specifies a fixed set of alternatives A, a variable population, and a fixed set of admissible preferences over A, common to all agents. We study the implications, for any social choice function, of the principle of solidarity, in the class of all such models. The principle says that when the environment changes, all agents not responsible for the change should all be affected in the same direction: either all weakly win, or all weakly lose. We consider two formulations of this principle: population-monotonicity (Thomson, 1983); and replacement-domination (Moulin, 1987). Under weak additional requirements, but regardless of the domain of preferences considered, each of the two conditions implies (i) coalition-strategy-proofness; (ii) that the choice only depends on the set of preferences that are present in the society and not on the labels of agents, nor on the number of agents having a particular preference; (iii) that there exists a status quo point, i.e. an alternative always weakly Pareto-dominated by the alternative selected by the rule. We also prove that replacement-domination is generally at least as strong as population-monotonicity.
    Keywords: Polation-monotonicity, reacement-domination, solidarity, strategy-oofness, coalition-strategy-oofness, blic decision, status quo
    Date: 2006
  5. By: Paterson, Iain (Department of Economics and Finance, Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, Austria)
    Abstract: Analysis of the Constitutional Treaty of the European Union shows that there is a serious discrepancy between the voting power gradient of Member States computed by the Shapley-Shubik and Banzhaf indices. Given the lack of compelling arguments to choose between these indices on purely axiomatic grounds, we turn to a probabilistic approach as pioneered by Straffin (1977) focusing on the probability distribution of voting poll outcomes. We present a unifying model of power indices as expected decisiveness, which shows that the defining feature of each approach is a particular distribution of the voting poll. Empirical evidence drawn from voting situations, in addition to a consideration of first principles, leads us to reject one of these approaches. The unified formulation allows us to develop useful related concepts of efficiency and blocking leverage, previously used solely by a 'Banzhaf' approach, for the case of Shapley-Shubik, and a comparison of results is shown.
    Keywords: Voting power indices, Power gradient, Coefficient of representation, Expected decisiveness, Efficiency, Blocking leverage, Constitution of the European Union
    JEL: C43 C71 D71 D81
    Date: 2006–03

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.