New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2006‒07‒02
seven papers chosen by

  1. Modeling Politics with Economics Tools: A Critical Survey of the Literature By Jan-Peter Olters
  2. Statistical Comparison of Aggregation Rules for Votes By Michel Truchon; Stephen Gordon
  3. Borda and the Maximum Likelihood Approach to Vote Aggregation By Michel Truchon
  4. Social choice with a continuous ordering function By Alex Coram
  5. Lobbying Systems in the European Union: A Quantitative Study By Broscheid, Andreas, David Coen
  6. A Tax Evasion - Bribery Game: Experimental Evidence from Ukraine By Volodymyr Bilotkach
  7. Social Choice, Optimal Inference and Figure Skating By Stephen Gordon; Michel Truchon

  1. By: Jan-Peter Olters
    Abstract: Whereas the economics discipline possesses a highly refined theoretical apparatus to analyze the effects of government behaviour on the economy, it has not (yet) managed to fully develop a positively formulated "economic theory of politics" that would permit the integration of the decision-making processes of voters, parties and governments with those of consumers and firms. Considerable recent advances notwithstanding, the large and heterogeneous body of literature has (so far) remained outside the economic mainstrain. The paper surveys the main approaches used to endogenize democratic elements and assesses the underlying reasons for researchers' renewed interest in this field.
    Keywords: Economic policy , Public sector , Business cycles , Economic models ,
  2. By: Michel Truchon; Stephen Gordon
    Abstract: If individual voters observe the true ranking on a set of alternatives with error, then the social choice problem, that is, the problem of aggregating their observations, is one of statistical inference. This study develops a statistical methodology that can be used to evaluate the properties of a given or aggregation rule. These techniques are then applied to some well-known rules.
    Keywords: Vote aggregation, ranking rules, figure skating, maximum likelihood, optimal inference, Monte Carlo, Kemeny, Borda
    JEL: D71 C15
    Date: 2006
  3. By: Michel Truchon
    Abstract: Drissi-Bakhkhat and Truchon ["Maximum Likelihood Approach to Vote Aggregation with Variable Probabilities," Social Choice and Welfare, 23, (2004), 161-185.] extend the Condorcet-Kemeny-Young maximum likelihood approach to vote aggregation by relaxing the assumption that the probability of correctly ordering two alternatives is the same for all pairs of alternatives. They let this probability increase with the distance between the two alternatives in the true order, to reflect the intuition that a judge or voter is more prone to errors when confronted to two comparable alternatives than when confronted to a good alternative and a bad one. In this note, it is shown than, for a suitably chosen probability function, the maximum likelihood rule coincides with the Borda rule, thus, partially reconciling the Borda and the Condorcet methods.
    Keywords: Vote aggregation, ranking rules, maximum likelihood, Borda
    JEL: D71
    Date: 2006
  4. By: Alex Coram (Robert Gordon University, Scotland, and The University of Western Australia)
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to get some fresh insights into social choice problems by treating the aggregation procedure as a continuous ordering of the reports individuals give of the value they attach to different states of the world where these reports are treated as a continuous path in n dimensional space. This approach allows us to ask different sorts of questions that belong more naturally to a continuous framework. It also allows us to exploit readily available tools of algebra and analysis in order to get some different insights into the kind of information conditions that make coherent collective decisions possible, or cause them to fail. What the paper says, roughly, is that the initial reports must contain sufficient information to allow their dimension to be reduced in a consistent manner. In particular it shows that an additive welfare function of the Bergson- Samuelson sort seems to have some properties that give it a natural appeal. JEL Categories: C65, D71.
    Keywords: social choice, continuous mappings, impossibility theorems, Borsuk-Ulam theorem.
    Date: 2006–06
  5. By: Broscheid, Andreas, David Coen
    Keywords: European Commission; interest intermediation; interest representation; legitimacy; lobbying; pluralism; political opportunity structure; political representation
    Date: 2006–05–24
  6. By: Volodymyr Bilotkach
    Abstract: This paper examines the issue of tax evasion by enterprises through underreporting activity. We develop a view of this phenomenon as an equilibrium of the game between a businessman and an imperfectly monitored supervising official, in which a businessman can hide part of his profit and offer bribe to official. We determine conditions under which such tax evasion and bribery become wide-spread in the society, resulting in shadow economy. The game is put into an experimental setting in Kiev, Ukraine, with the emphasis of spreading of the tax evasion and bribery activity in the laboratory setting. We find that once it becomes known that substantial share of subjects playing the role of supervising officials agree to accept bribes from subjects playing the role of businessmen, the latter offer bribes more aggressively. Yet, this in turn does not affect the behavior of subjects playing the role of supervising officials.
    JEL: H32 D73 H26 C91
    Date: 2006–06–12
  7. By: Stephen Gordon; Michel Truchon
    Abstract: We approach the social choice problem as one of optimal statistical inference. If individual voters or judgtes observe the true order ona set of alternatives with error, then it is possible to use the set of individual rankings to make probability statements about the correct social order. Given the posterior distribution for orders and a suitably chosen loss function, an optimal order is one that minimises expected posterior loss. The paper develops a statistical model describing the behaviour of judges, and discusses Markov Chain Monte Carlo estimation. We also discuss criteria for choosing the appropriate loss functions. We apply our methods to a well-known problem: determining the correct ranking for figure skaters competing at the Olympic Games.
    Keywords: Vote aggregation, ranking rules, figure skating, Bayesian methods, optimal inference, Markov Chain Monte Carlo
    JEL: D71 C11
    Date: 2006

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