New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2006‒05‒06
four papers chosen by

  1. Participation in Environmental Organizations: Political Interest and State Capacity By Benno Torgler; Maria A. Garcia-Valiñas
  2. Optimal Electoral Timing: Exercise Wisely and You May Live Longer By Jussi Keppo; Lones Smith; Dmitry Davydov
  3. Deliberation with Partially Verifiable Information By Jerome Mathis
  4. Linking behavioral control to frontline employee commitment and performance: a test of two alternative explanations using motivation theories By Dewettinck, K.; Buyens, D.

  1. By: Benno Torgler; Maria A. Garcia-Valiñas
    Abstract: The literature on volunteering has strongly increased in the last few years. However, there is still a lack of substantial empirical evidence about the determinants of environmental participation. This empirical study analyses a cross-section of individuals using micro-data of the World Values Survey wave III (1995-1997), covering 38 countries, to investigate this question. The results suggest that not only socio-demographic and socio-economic factors have an impact on individuals’ active participation in environmental organizations, but also political attitudes. Furthermore, we observe regional differences. Interestingly, there is the tendency that environmental participation is a stronger channel for action in developing countries, where weak and dysfunctional states lead people to pursue their goals through non-governmental sector activities. We also find that a higher level of perceived corruption leads to a stronger participation in environmental organizations, which shows that individuals take action when they perceive that the government is corrupt.
    Keywords: Environment; Environmental Participation; International Perspective; Political Interest; Social Capital
    JEL: Q26 R22 Z13 I21
    Date: 2006–04
  2. By: Jussi Keppo (IOE Department, University of Michigan); Lones Smith (Economics Department, University of Michigan); Dmitry Davydov (Equities Division, Goldman Sachs)
    Abstract: In many democratic countries, the timing of elections is flexible. We explore this potentially valuable option using insights from option pricing in finance. The paper offers three main contributions on this problem. First, we derive a rationally-based mean-reverting political support process for the parties, assuming that politically heterogeneous voters continuously learn over time about evolving party fortunes. We solve for the long-run density for this process and derive the polling process from it by adding polling noise. Second, we explore optimal timing using the political support process. The incumbent sees its poll support, and must call an election within five years of the last election to maximize its expected total time in office. This resembles the optimal exercise rule for an American financial option. This option is recursive, and the waiting and stopping values subtly interact. We prove the existence of the optimal exercise rule in this setting, and show that the expected longevity is a convex-thenconcave function of the political support. Our model is tractable enough that we can analytically derive how the exercise rule responds to parametric shifts. We calibrate our model to the Labour-Tory rivalry in the U.K., with polling data from 1943-2005 and the 16 elections after 1945. Excluding three elections essentially forced by weak governments, our maximizing story quite well explains when the elections were called, and beats simple linear regressions. We also measure the value of election options, finding that over the long run they should more than double the expected time in power of a fixed term electoral cycle.
    Keywords: American option, European option, Brownian motion, Electoral timing
    JEL: D83 D72 G1
    Date: 2006–05
  3. By: Jerome Mathis (THEMA, Université de Cergy-Pontoise)
    Abstract: We analyze a model of jury decision making in which jurors deliberate before voting between a status quo and its alternative. We study the impact of the voting rule on the existence of an equilibrium where any asymmetric decision-relevant information is revealed through deliberation. Austen-Smith and Feddersen (2004b) show in a general setting that the unanimity rule (with status quo) requires stronger conditions than other rules for the existence of such an equilibrium. In this paper, we extend this work by incorporating possibilities for committee members to prove some of their private information (ability to report a certi.ed document, constraint on lying or exaggeration, etc...). We show that when individuals have ability to certify information favoring the alternative, the unanimity rule performs better than other rules in requiring weaker conditions for the existence of such an equilibrium.
    Date: 2006
  4. By: Dewettinck, K.; Buyens, D.
    Abstract: We propose and empirically test a model in which behavioral control is linked to frontline employee commitment and performance. We test two alternative explanations by examining the intermediate role of job autonomy and situational learning orientation. The hypotheses are tested using multiple-source survey data from a sample of 1184 frontline employees and their supervisors. Results indicate that situational learning orientation is an important construct in linking behavioral control to performance. Job autonomy shows to be important in explaining employee outcomes but is only marginally related to behavioral control. Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed.
    Date: 2006–04–27

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