New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2006‒11‒18
seventeen papers chosen by

  1. Strategic power indices: Quarrelling in coalitions By Kóczy László Á.
  2. The Effect of Direct Democracy on Income Redistribution: Evidence for Switzerland By Lars P. Feld; Justina A.V. Fischer; Gebhard Kirchgässner
  3. Voting Paradoxes and the Human Intuition By Kóczy Lászlo Á.
  4. Energy Regulation, Roll Call Votes and Regional Resources: Evidence from Russia By Theocharis N. Grigoriadis; Benno Torgler
  5. Retrospective Voting in Turkey: Macro and Micro Perspectives By Hazama, Yasushi
  6. Political Parties and Rent-seeking through Networks By Topi Miettinen; Panu Poutvaara
  7. Information Transmission in Coalitional Voting Games By Roberto Serrano; Rajiv Vohra
  8. Thin-Slice Forecasts of Gubernatorial Elections By Daniel J. Benjamin; Jesse M. Shapiro
  9. To Segregate or to Integrate: Education Politics and Democracy By Matthias Doepke
  10. Endogenous Affirmative Action: Gender Bias Leads to Gender Quotas By Francois Maniquet; Massimo Morelli; Guillaume Frechette
  11. Adieu to constitutional elitism? By John Erik Fossum
  12. The (Im)Possibility of a Paretian Rational By Klaus Nehring
  13. Judicial Independence and Minority Interests By Daniel Berkowitz; Chris Bonneau; Karen Clay
  14. Domestic Politics and Referendums on the Constitutional Treaty By Gemma Mateo González
  15. Constrained School Choice By Guillaume Haeringer; Flip Klijn
  16. A Comparative Political Approach to the EU Formation By Stefano Bartolini
  17. Rational Choice and EU Politics By Mark A. Pollack

  1. By: Kóczy László Á. (METEOR)
    Abstract: While they use the language of game theory known measures of a priory voting power are hardly more than statistical expectations assuming the random behaviour of the players. Focusing on normalised indices we show that rational players would behave differently from the indices predictions and propose a model that captures such strategic behaviour.
    Keywords: Economics (Jel: A)
    Date: 2006
  2. By: Lars P. Feld; Justina A.V. Fischer; Gebhard Kirchgässner
    Abstract: There is an intensive dispute in political economics about the impact of institutions on income redistribution. While the main focus is on comparison between different forms of representative democracy, the influence of direct democracy on redistribution has attracted much less attention. According to theoretical arguments and previous empirical results, government policies of income redistribution are expected to be more in line with median voter preferences in direct than in representative democracies. In this paper, we find that institutions of direct democracy are associated with lower public spending and revenue, particularly lower welfare spending and broad-based income and property (wealth) tax revenue. Moreover, we estimate a model which explains the determinants of redistribution using panel data provided by the Swiss Federal Tax Office from 1981 to 1997 and a cross section of (representative) individual data from 1992. While our results indicate that less public funds are used to redistribute income and actual redistribution is lower, inequality is not reduced to a lesser extent in direct than in representative democracies for a given initial income distribution. This finding might well indicate the presence of efficiency gains in redistribution policies.
    Keywords: income redistribution, direct democracy, referenda, initiatives
    JEL: D70 D78 H11 I30
    Date: 2006
  3. By: Kóczy Lászlo Á. (METEOR)
    Abstract: Brams (2003) presents three paradoxes for power indices: some rather counter-intuitive behaviour that is exhibited by both the Shapley-Shubik and the Banzhaf indices. We show that the proportional index is free from such paradoxical behaviour. This result suggests that our intuition may be based on the proportional index and as such its use in evaluating power measures is limited.
    Keywords: Economics (Jel: A)
    Date: 2006
  4. By: Theocharis N. Grigoriadis; Benno Torgler
    Abstract: This paper investigates the relative impact of regional energy production on the legislative choices of Russian Duma deputies on energy regulation between 1994 and 2003. We apply Poole’s optimal classification method of roll call votes using an ordered probit model to explain energy law reform in the first decade of Russia’s democratic transition. Our goal is to analyze the relative importance of home energy on deputies’ behavior, controlling for other factors such as party affiliation, electoral mandate, committee membership and socio-demographic parameters. We observe that energy resource factors have a considerable effect on deputies’ voting behavior. On the other hand, we concurrently find that regional economic preferences are constrained by the public policy priorities of the federal center that continue to set the tone in energy law reform in post-Soviet Russia.
    Keywords: energy regulation; energy roll law reform; energy resources; roll call votes; legislative politics; State Duma; Russia
    JEL: Q40 D72 K23 P27 P37 P31 R11
    Date: 2006–10
  5. By: Hazama, Yasushi
    Abstract: Recent studies have shown that party systems in emerging democracies do not always adequately reflect the various cleavages of society. Under such circumstances, retrospective voting may play a more important role than cleavage voting in determining electoral outcomes. For studies of retrospective voting, the choice between macro and micro level as the independent variable is a major methodological issue. Using individual-level data on Turkey, this paper addresses two major questions: (1) Are voters' decisions based on household economic conditions or national economic conditions? Do sociopolitical conditions also count? (2) Does the future evaluation of the economy affect voting decisions apart from past evaluation? Logit models are used in this research to answer these questions.
    Keywords: Retrospective voting, Elections, Turkey
    Date: 2006–01
  6. By: Topi Miettinen; Panu Poutvaara
    Abstract: We argue that anti-corruption laws may provide an efficiency rationale for why political parties should meddle in the distribution of non-ideological political nominations. Anti-corruption laws forbid trade in nominations made by politicians. However, citizens may pay for gaining access to politicians, thereby becoming potential candidates for nominations. Such rent-seeking results in excessive network formation. Political parties may reduce wasteful network formation, thanks to their ability to enter into exclusive membership contracts. This holds even though anti-corruption laws also bind political parties.
    Keywords: Political parties, Two-sided Platforms, Political Nominations, Rent-seeking, Network Formation
    JEL: D72 D85 L14
    Date: 2006–11
  7. By: Roberto Serrano (Department of Economics, Brown University); Rajiv Vohra (Department of Economics, Brown University)
    Abstract: A core allocation of a complete information economy can be characterized as one that would not be unanimously rejected in favor of another feasible alternative by any coalition. We use this test of coalitional voting in an incomplete information environment to formalize a notion of resilience. Since information transmission is implicit in the Bayesian equilibria of such voting games, this approach makes it possible to derive core concepts in which the transmission of information among members of a coalition is endogenous. Our results lend support to the credible core of Dutta and Vohra (2003) and the core proposed by Myerson (2003) as two that can be justified in terms of coalitional voting.
    Keywords: Core, Incomplete Information, Coalitional Voting, Resilience, Mediation
    JEL: C71 C72 D51 D82
    Date: 2005–01
  8. By: Daniel J. Benjamin; Jesse M. Shapiro
    Abstract: We showed 10-second, silent video clips of unfamiliar gubernatorial debates to a group of experimental participants and asked them to predict the election outcomes. The participants' predictions explain more than 20 percent of the variation in the actual two-party vote share across the 58 elections in our study, and their importance survives a range of controls, including state fixed effects. In a horse race of alternative forecasting models, participants' visual forecasts significantly outperform economic variables in predicting vote shares, and are comparable in predictive power to a measure of incumbency status. Adding policy information to the video clips by turning on the sound tends, if anything, to worsen participants' accuracy, suggesting that naïveté may be an asset in some forecasting tasks.
    JEL: D72 J45
    Date: 2006–11
  9. By: Matthias Doepke
  10. By: Francois Maniquet (Catholic University of Louvain); Massimo Morelli (Department of Economics, Ohio State University); Guillaume Frechette (Department of Economics, New York University)
    Abstract: The adoption of gender quotas in electoral lists, like the recent “parity law” in France, can be fully rationalized on the basis of the self interest of male incumbent politicians. This paper explains why the parity law was approved in its form and, at the same time, why it has not been very effective. The existence of a voters’ bias in favor of male candidates is sufficient to convince the incumbents to advocate for equal gender representation in party lists, because it raises the incumbents’ chances of being reelected. The existence of male bias in the French electorate is empirically confirmed in this paper. We also show that parity law may have assembly composition effects and policy effects that vary with the electoral system.
    Date: 2005–02
  11. By: John Erik Fossum
    Keywords: democracy; deliberative democracy; constitution building; European Convention; Constitution for Europe; referendum
    Date: 2006–05–19
  12. By: Klaus Nehring (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)
    Abstract: We consider situations in which a group takes a collective decision by aggregating individual’s judgments on a set of criteria according to some agreed-upon decision functions. Assuming the criteria and the decision to be binary, we demonstrate that, except when the aggregation rule is dictatorial or the decision rule is particularly simple, such reason-based social choice must violate the Pareto principle at some profile of individual judgments. In the second part of the paper, the normative implications of this impossibility result are discussed. We argue that the normative case for the Pareto Principle is strong in situations of “shared self-interest”, but weak in situations of “shared responsibility”.
    Keywords: Judgment Aggregation, Pareto Principle, Discursive Dilemma, Group Choice, Responsibility
    JEL: D70 D71
    Date: 2005–11
  13. By: Daniel Berkowitz; Chris Bonneau; Karen Clay
    Abstract: . . .
    Date: 2006–11
  14. By: Gemma Mateo González
    Abstract: How can the decision of ten member states to subject the Constitutional Treaty of the European Union (EU) to a referendum be explained? Recently, some scholars have considered the need to give legitimacy to the decisions of the EU as one of the principal motivations for holding referendums. An empirical analysis of the motivations behind the decisions in favour of referendums uncovers a completely different reality, however. Political actors used the possibility to hold referendums about European matters in a strategic way to strengthen their positions in the domestic context rather than to correct the democratic deficit of the EU. The analysis of a database with the positions of all the political parties represented in the national parliaments of the twenty-five member states confirms this point.
    Keywords: referendum; legitimacy; political parties; Constitution for Europe
    Date: 2006–10–05
  15. By: Guillaume Haeringer; Flip Klijn
    Abstract: Recently, several school districts in the US have adopted or consider adopting the Student-Optimal Stable Mechanism or the Top Trading Cycles Mechanism to assign children to public schools. There is clear evidence that for school districts that employ (variants of) the so-called Boston Mechanism the transition would lead to efficiency gains. The first two mechanisms are strategy-proof, but in practice student assignment procedures impede students to submit a preference list that contains all their acceptable schools. Therefore, any desirable property of the mechanisms is likely to get distorted. We study the non trivial preference revelation game where students can only declare up to a fixed number (quota) of schools to be acceptable. We focus on the stability of the Nash equilibrium outcomes. Our main results identify rather stringent necessary and sufficient conditions on the priorities to guarantee stability. This stands in sharp contrast with the Boston Mechanism which yields stable Nash equilibrium outcomes, independently of the quota. Hence, the transition to any of the two mechanisms is likely to come with a higher risk that students seek legal action as lower priority students may occupy more preferred schools.
    Keywords: school choice, matching, stability, Gale-Shapley deferred acceptance algorithm, top trading cycles, Boston mechanism, acyclic priority structure, truncation
    JEL: C78 D78 I20
    Date: 2006–11–06
  16. By: Stefano Bartolini
    Keywords: polity building; history; integration theory
    Date: 2006–02–17
  17. By: Mark A. Pollack
    Date: 2006–10–11

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