New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2006‒05‒20
six papers chosen by

  1. Why There is a Democratic Deficit in the EU: A Response to Majone and Moravcsik By Follesdal, Andreas; Hix, Simon
  2. Popular Democracy and the European Union Polity By Mair, Peter
  3. Democratic Voting and Social Exclusion By Sylvain Dessy; Flaubert Mbiekop
  4. Majority voting with stochastic preferences: The whims of a committee are smaller than the whims of its members By Pierre-Guillaume Méon
  5. Electoral Poaching and Party Identification. By Kovenock, Dan; Robertson, Brian
  6. On the voting power of an alliance and the subsequent power of its members By M.R. Feix (SUBATECH/EMN); D. Lepelley (CERESUR); V. Merlin (CREM – CNRS); J.L. Rouet (MAPMO – CNRS)

  1. By: Follesdal, Andreas; Hix, Simon
    Abstract: In a series of recent papers, Giandomenico Majone and Andrew Moravcsik have ‘raised the bar’ in the debate over the so-called ‘democratic deficit’ in the European Union. These two influential scholars both contend that much of the existing analysis is flawed and that the EU is as democratic as it could, and even should, be. We accept many of Moravcsik’s and Majone’s arguments. However, we disagree about one key element: that a democratic polity requires contestation for political leadership and argument over the direction of the policy agenda. This aspect, which is ultimately the difference between a democracy and an enlightened form of authoritarianism, is an essential element of even the ‘thinnest’ theories of democracy, yet is conspicuously weak in the EU.
    Keywords: democracy; European elections; legitimacy; non-majoritarian institutions; normative political theory; political parties; public opinion; Constitution for Europe; agenda-setting
    Date: 2005–03–14
  2. By: Mair, Peter
    Abstract: Although we still celebrate the late twentieth-century ‘victory of democracy’, our understanding of what democracy entails in both theory and practice is increasingly subject to a variety of qualifying definitions, many of which now seem to devalue the role of elections and electoral accountability. This is also obviously seen in the politics of the European Union, where the efforts to displace conflict dimensions into arenas where democratic authority is lacking, as well as the efforts to depoliticize issues that relate to European integration, have led to the development of a distinct political system in which the exercise of popular control and electoral accountability proves very difficult. At the same time, the EU should not be seen as exceptional in this regard, but should instead be seen as symptomatic of a wider process of depoliticization. As the experience of the EU suggests, the combination of popular democracy and legitimacy is proving increasingly problematic – not only in Europe, but also further afield.
    Keywords: constitutional change; democracy; Europeanization; governance; legitimacy; non-majoritarian institutions; political parties; political representation; polity building
    Date: 2005–05–18
  3. By: Sylvain Dessy; Flaubert Mbiekop
    Abstract: This paper explores the political determinants of societies' tolerance for social exclusion on the basis of ethnicity, religion, or race. We develop a political-economic model of social exclusion with three main features. First, each individual living in this society must submit a political proposals regarding the extent to which society must tolerance social exclusion. Second, depending on the realized degree of society's tolerance for social exclusion, each population group comprising the society must decide on how much resources to expend in order to exclude rival groups from, or include its members in, the public allocation of education resources. Third, allocation of resources to participation in the exclusion contest trades off private investment in child's human capital. To the extent that population size is, at least initially, the only source of asymmetry between rival groups, our analysis suggests that the introduction of democratic voting may not be sufficient to save small, but visible, minorities from social exclusion. Only where this asymmetric is moderate, can the introduction of democratic voting suffice to eliminate social exclusion.
    Keywords: Democratic voting, social exclusion, political equilibrium
    JEL: D72 J15 P16
    Date: 2006
  4. By: Pierre-Guillaume Méon (DULBEA, Université libre de Bruxelles, Brussels)
    Abstract: This note studies the volatility of the policy chosen by a committee whose members’ preferences are volatile, due to common and individual preferences shocks. It is shown that majority voting mitigates the latter but not the former. The volatility of the policy is smaller the smaller the volatility of members’ preferences, smaller the larger the size of the committee, and smaller than if it was chosen by a single member. The results hold in a context of uncertainty and with multidimensional issues.
    Keywords: committee, majority voting, uncertainty, volatility
    JEL: D71
    Date: 2006–04
  5. By: Kovenock, Dan; Robertson, Brian
    Abstract: This paper studies electoral competition in a model of redistributive politics with deterministic voting and heterogeneous voter loyalties to political parties. We construct a natural measure of “party strength” based on the sizes and intensities of a party’s loyal voter segments and demonstrate how party behavior varies with the two parties’ strengths. In equilibrium, parties target or “poach” a strict subset of the opposition party’s loyal voters: offering those voters a high expected transfer, while “freezing out” the remainder with a zero transfer. The size of the subset of opposition voters frozen out and consequently, the level of inequality in utilities generated by a party’s equilibrium redistribution schedule is increasing in the opposition party’s strength. We also construct a measure of “political polarization” that is increasing in the sum and symmetry of the parties’ strengths, and find that the expected ex-post inequality in utilities of the implemented policy is increasing in the political polarization.
    Date: 2005–10
  6. By: M.R. Feix (SUBATECH/EMN); D. Lepelley (CERESUR); V. Merlin (CREM – CNRS); J.L. Rouet (MAPMO – CNRS)
    Abstract: Even, and in fact chiefly, if two or more players in a voting game have on a binary issue independent opinions, they may have interest to form a single voting alliance giving an average gain of influence for all of them. Here, assuming the usual independence of votes, we first study the alliance voting power and obtain new results in the so-called asymptotic limit for which the number of players is large enough and the alliance weight remains a small fraction of the total of the weights. Then, we propose to replace the voting game inside the alliance by a random game which allows new possibilities. The validity of the asymptotic limit and the possibility of new alliances are examined by considering the decision process in the Council of Ministers of the European Union.

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