New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2006‒04‒22
nine papers chosen by

  1. Does Campaign Finance imply Political Favors? By Stijn Claessens; Erik Feijen
  2. Majority Rule, Legitimacy and Political Equality By Wojciech Sadurski
  3. On the Voting Power of an Alliance and the Subsequent Power of its Members By Vincent Merlin; Marc Feix; Dominique Lepelley; Jean Louis Rouet
  4. On the Chacteristic Numbers of Voting Games By Vincent Merlin; Matthieu Martin
  5. Electoral bias and policy choice: theory and evidence By Tim Besley; Ian Preston
  6. Why Does Democracy Need Education? By Edward Glaeser; Giacomo Ponzetto; Andrei Shleifer
  7. Tiebout Choice and the Voucher By Eric J. Brunner; Jennifer Imazeki
  8. The Demand for Power Diffusion: A Case Study of the 2005 Constitutional Referendum Voting in Kenya By Mwangi S. Kimenyi
  9. Voting over informal risk-sharing rules By Ambec, S.

  1. By: Stijn Claessens (Universiteit van Amsterdam, and World Bank); Erik Feijen (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the behavior of an individual who wants to maximize his utility function, but he is not able to evaluate it. There are many ways to choose a single alternative from a given set. We show that a unique utility maximizing procedure exists. Choices induced by this optimal procedure are always transitive but generally violate the Weak Axiom. In other words, utility maximizing individuals who are unable to evaluate their objective functions fail to exhibit rational revealed preferences.
    Keywords: Campaign contributions; Elections; Corruption; Preferential lending
    JEL: D81
    Date: 2006–01–06
  2. By: Wojciech Sadurski
    Abstract: This paper claims that the intuitive and widespread legitimating power of majority rule (MR) arises from the link between majority rule and the principle of equality of political opportunity. The egalitarian character of MR is established by exploring “puzzles” in democratic theory, such as the insensitivity of democratic voting procedures to unequal intensity of citizens’ preferences, the inalienability of voting rights, and the relationship between the principle of unanimity (sometimes thought better to respect citizens’ equality) and MR. Special attention is directed to the relationship between political equality, and equality in the outcomes of political decisions: the claim is made that the language of equal political opportunity captures well the idea of equal political influence, in the circumstance of disagreement about what is required to achieve equal treatment through the outcomes of political decisions.
    Date: 2005–12–01
  3. By: Vincent Merlin (CREM - Centre de Recherche en Economie et Management - - [CNRS : UMR6211] - [Université Rennes I][Université de Caen] - []); Marc Feix; Dominique Lepelley; Jean Louis Rouet
    Abstract: Even, and in fact chiefly, if two or more players in a voting game<br />have on a binary issue independent opinions, they may have<br />interest to form a single voting alliance giving an average gain<br />of influence for all of them. Here, assuming the usual<br />independence of votes, we first study the alliance voting power<br />and obtain new results in the so-called asymptotic limit for which<br />the number of players is large enough and the alliance weight<br />remains a small fraction of the total of the weights. Then, we<br />propose to replace the voting game inside the alliance by a random<br />game which allows new possibilities. The validity of the<br />asymptotic limit and the possibility of new alliances are examined<br />by considering the decision process in the Council of Ministers of<br />the European Union.
    Keywords: Voting Power; Alliance
    Date: 2006–04–12
  4. By: Vincent Merlin (CREM - Centre de Recherche en Economie et Management - - [CNRS : UMR6211] - [Université Rennes I][Université de Caen] - []); Matthieu Martin
    Abstract: This paper deals with the non-emptiness of the stability set<br /> for any proper voting game. We present an upper bound on<br /> the number of alternatives which guarantees the non<br /> emptiness of this solution concept. We show that this<br /> bound is greater than or equal to the one given by Le Breton<br /> and Salles (1990) for quota games.
    Keywords: voting game, core, stability set
    Date: 2006–04–12
  5. By: Tim Besley (Institute for Fiscal Studies and London School of Economics); Ian Preston (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London)
    Abstract: This paper develops a new approach to study how electoral bias in favor of one party due to the pattern of districting affects policy choice. We tie a commonly used measure of districting bias to the theory of party competition and show how this affects policy choice in theory. The utility of the approach is illustrated using data on local government in the U.K. The results suggest that reducing electoral bias leads parties to moderate their policies.
    Date: 2006–01
  6. By: Edward Glaeser; Giacomo Ponzetto; Andrei Shleifer
    Abstract: Across countries, education and democracy are highly correlated. We motivate empirically and then model a causal mechanism explaining this correlation. In our model, schooling teaches people to interact with others and raises the benefits of civic participation, including voting and organizing. In the battle between democracy and dictatorship, democracy has a wide potential base of support but offers weak incentives to its defenders. Dictatorship provides stronger incentives to a narrower base. As education raises the benefits of civic participation, it raises the support for more democratic regimes relative to dictatorships. This increases the likelihood of democratic revolutions against dictatorships, and reduces that of successful anti-democratic coups.
    JEL: D72 D74 H11
    Date: 2006–04
  7. By: Eric J. Brunner (Quinnipiac University and University of Connecticut); Jennifer Imazeki
    Abstract: This paper examines who is likely to gain and who is likely to lose under a universal voucher program. Following Epple and Romano (1998, 2003), and Nechyba (2000, 2003a), we focus on the idea that gains and losses under a universal voucher depend on two effects: changes in peer group composition and changes in housing values. We show that the direction and magnitude of each of these effects hinges critically on market structure, i.e., the amount of school choice that already exists in the public sector. In markets with little or no Tiebout choice, potential changes in peer group composition create an incentive for high-socioeconomic (SES) households to vote for the voucher and for low-SES households to vote against voucher. In contrast, in markets with significant Tiebout choice, potential changes in housing values create an incentive for high-SES households to vote against the voucher and for low-SES households to vote for the voucher. Using data on vote outcomes from California's 2000 voucher initiative, we find evidence consistent with those predictions.
    Keywords: School Vouchers, Tiebout Choice, Voting
    JEL: H7 I2 L1
    Date: 2006–04
  8. By: Mwangi S. Kimenyi (University of Connecticut)
    Abstract: Recent studies on the history of economic development demonstrate that concentration of power on a monarch or a ruling coalition impedes economic growth and that institutional changes that diffuse power, though beneficial to the society in general, are opposed by some social groups. In November 2005, Kenyans rejected a proposed constitution primarily because it did not reduce the powers of the executive to any significant degree. Using data of voting patterns in the constitutional referendum and following the rational choice framework, I estimate a model of the demand for power diffusion and demonstrate that groups voting decisions depend on expected gains and likelihood of monopolizing power. The results also reveal the importance of ethnic divisions in hindering the power diffusion process, and therefore the study establishes a channel through which ethnic fragmentation impacts on economic development.
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2006–04
  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

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