nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2006‒08‒05
eight papers chosen by
Roland Kirstein
Saarland University

  1. The Impact of Postal Voting on Participation, Evidence for Switzerland By Simon Luechinger, Myra Rosinger and Alois Stutzer
  2. Turnout and Quorum in Referenda By Helios Herrera; Andrea Mattozzi
  3. The impact of local and national economic conditions on legislative election results By Linda Gonçalves Veiga; Francisco José Veiga
  4. Fifty Million Voters Can't Be Wrong: Economic Self-Interest and Redistributive Politics By Jacob L. Vigdor
  5. Group Formation and Voter Participation By Helios Herrera; Cesar Martinelli
  6. The Political Economy of Corruption and and the Role of Financial Institutions By Boerner, Kira; Hainz, Christa
  7. Electoral Rules and Government Spending in Parliamentary Democracies By Torsten Persson; Gerard Roland; Guido Tabellini
  8. Selling Favors in the Lab: Experiments on Campaign Finance Reform By Daniel Houser; Thomas Stratmann

  1. By: Simon Luechinger, Myra Rosinger and Alois Stutzer
    Abstract: Many countries are forging ahead with convenient balloting methods, in particular electronic and postal voting, in order to re-engage voters. In this paper, we test whether the cost reductions with postal voting increase turnout. The empirical analysis is based on a newly collected data set on the introduction of postal voting in Swiss cantons. We take advantage of the unique fact that voting by mail was introduced at different times across cantons. This allows identifying the impact of postal voting on turnout, independent of time, issue and canton specific effects. The estimated average effect on turnout is roughly 4.1 percentage points for an average turnout of 43 percent between 1970 and 2005.
    Keywords: postal voting, voting costs, voting participation, turnout
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2006–07
  2. By: Helios Herrera; Andrea Mattozzi
    Date: 2006–07–31
  3. By: Linda Gonçalves Veiga (Universidade do Minho - NIPE); Francisco José Veiga (Universidade do Minho - NIPE)
    Abstract: Using data for 278 Portuguese mainland municipalities, we estimate the impact of national and local economic conditions on legislative electoral outcomes over the period from the reestablishment of democracy in 1974 to the present. Empirical results indicate that the performance of the national economy is important but that the municipal situation also conditions electoral outcomes.
    Keywords: Voting functions, opportunism, local governments, elections, Portugal.
    JEL: H72 D72 D78
    Date: 2006
  4. By: Jacob L. Vigdor
    Abstract: Why do voters at the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum support political candidates who generally disfavor redistributive policies? Existing explanations often presume that voters are explicitly acting in opposition to their economic self-interest, or that they hold persistently optimistic expectations regarding the probability of moving into the upper ranks of the income distribution. This paper provides an alternative economic explanation. When voters evaluate their well-being by making relative utility comparisons, support for redistribution depends not only on absolute income but on one's status relative to a reference group. When reference groups are defined geographically, support depends on exposure to higher-income neighbors. The predictions of the model are supported by empirical evidence drawn from county-level election returns in 1980 and 2000, and by individual-level polling data following the 2000 election.
    JEL: D31 D72 H31
    Date: 2006–07
  5. By: Helios Herrera; Cesar Martinelli
    Date: 2006–07–31
  6. By: Boerner, Kira; Hainz, Christa
    Abstract: In transition and developing countries, we observe rather high levels of corruption even they have democratic political systems. This is surprising from a political economy perspective, as a majority of the people generally suffers from high corruption levels. Our model based on the fact that corrupt officials have to pay an entry fee to get lucrative positions. In a probabilistic voting model, we show that a lack of financial institutions can lead more corruption as more voters are part of the corrupt system. Well-functioning financial institutions, in turn, can increase the political support for anti-corruption measures.
    Keywords: Corruption, Financial Markets, Institutions, Development, Voting
    JEL: D72 D73 O17
    Date: 2005
  7. By: Torsten Persson; Gerard Roland; Guido Tabellini
    Date: 2006–07–31
  8. By: Daniel Houser; Thomas Stratmann
    Abstract: Substantial academic interest and public policy debate centers on campaign finance reform. Campaign resources can provide benefits to constituencies if candidates use them to fund the distribution of useful information. On the other hand, voters can potentially be harmed if candidates trade policy favors to special interests in exchange for contributions. Unfortunately, because informative field data on this topic are very difficult to obtain, the effects of different campaign finance strategies on election outcomes and economic welfare remain largely uninformed by empirical analyses. This paper reports data from novel laboratory experiments designed to shed light on the campaign finance debate. Our experiment is based on a model where power-hungry candidates are motivated to trade favors for campaign contributions. Our data is consistent with the model’s predictions. We find that voters’ revise their beliefs in response to candidate advertising in a way that is consistent with theory. Moreover, in relation to privately financed electoral competitions, in publicly financed campaigns (i) high-quality candidates are elected more frequently, and (ii) margins of victory are larger. Both of these outcomes are predicted by theory. We conduct policy experiments on various campaign finance strategies, including the widely suggested caps on private fundraising. Our results suggest that caps can improve voter welfare but do not increase the likelihood that high-quality candidates will be elected.
    JEL: C90 D72
    Date: 2006

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