New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2007‒02‒17
eight papers chosen by

  1. Bicameralism and Government Formation, Second Version By Daniel Diermeier; Hulya Eraslan; Antonio Merlo
  2. Do Voters Vote Sincerely? Second Version By Arianna Degan; Antonio Merlo
  3. The Transparency of Politics and the Quality of Politicians By Andrea Mattozzi; Antonio Merlo
  4. Political Careers or Career Politicians? Second Version By Andrea Mattozzi; Antonio Merlo
  5. Artificial States By William Easterly; Alberto Alesina; Janina Matuszeski
  6. Mediocracy By Andrea Mattozzi; Antonio Merlo
  7. Schooling and Citizenship: Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Reforms By Thomas Siedler
  8. Acyclic domains of linear orders : a survey. By Bernard Monjardet

  1. By: Daniel Diermeier (MEDS,Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University); Hulya Eraslan (Finance Department, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania); Antonio Merlo (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: In this paper we present a structural approach to the study of government formation in multi-party parliamentary democracies. The approach is based on the estimation of a stochastic bargaining model which we use to investigate the effects of specific institutional features of parliamentary democracy on the formation and stability of coalition governments. We then apply our methodology to estimate the effects of governmental bicameralism. Our main findings are that eliminating bicameralism does not affect government durability, but does have a significant effect on the composition of governments leading to smaller coalitions. These results are due to an equilibrium replacement effect: removing bicameralism affects the relative durability of coalitions of different sizes which in turn induces changes in the coalitions that are chosen in equilibrium.
    Keywords: Political Stability, Government Formation, Government Dissolution, Bicameralism, Comparative Constitutional Design
    JEL: D72 H19 C73
    Date: 2002–05–01
  2. By: Arianna Degan (Département des sciences économiques, Université du Québec à Montréal); Antonio Merlo (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: In this paper we address the following question: To what extent is the hypothesis that voters vote sincerely testable or falsifiable? We show that using data only on how individuals vote in a single election, the hypothesis that voters vote sincerely is irrefutable, regardless of the number of candidates competing in the election. On the other hand, using data on how the same individuals vote in multiple elections, the hypothesis that voters vote sincerely is potentially falsifiable, and we provide general conditions under which the hypothesis can be tested. We then consider an application of our theoretical framework and assess whether the behavior of voters is consistent with sincere voting in U.S. national elections in the post-war period. We find that by and large sincere voting can explain virtually all of the individual-level observations on voting behavior in presidential and congressional U.S. elections in the data.
    Keywords: voting, spatial models, falsifiability, testing.
    JEL: D72 C12 C63
    Date: 2006–03–01
  3. By: Andrea Mattozzi (Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology); Antonio Merlo (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: In this paper, we analyze the relationship between the transparency of politics and the quality of politicians in a model of parties’ political recruitment. We find that an increase in the transparency of politics reduces the average quality of the politicians a party recruits in equilibrium
    Keywords: Transparency, politicians, parties, political recruitment
    JEL: D72 J44 J45
    Date: 2007–01–03
  4. By: Andrea Mattozzi (Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology); Antonio Merlo (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: Two main career paths are prevalent among politicians in modern democracies: there are career politicians (i.e., politicians who work in the political sector until retirement), and political careers (i.e., there are politicians who leave politics before retirement and work in the private sector). In this paper, we propose a dynamic equilibrium model of the careers of politicians in an environment with a private sector and a political sector, where individuals are heterogeneous with respect to their market ability and political skills. Our analysis provides an explanation for the existence of career politicians and individuals with political careers, and their motivations. We also investigate the effects of monetary incentives and other features of the political-economic environment on the quality of politicians and their careers. We show that an increase in the salary a politician receives while in office decreases the average quality of individuals who become politicians, decreases turnover in office, and may either decrease or increase the average quality of career politicians.
    Keywords: politicians, parties, careers in politics
    JEL: D72 J44 J45
    Date: 2005–12–05
  5. By: William Easterly; Alberto Alesina; Janina Matuszeski
    Abstract: Artificial states are those in which political borders do not coincide with a division of nationalities desired by the people on the ground. We propose and compute for all countries in the world two new measures how artificial states are. One is based on measuring how borders split ethnic groups into two separate adjacent countries. The other one measures how straight land borders are, under the assumption the straight land borders are more likely to be artificial. We then show that these two measures seem to be highly correlated with several measures of political and economic success.
    Keywords: Artificial states, political borders
    JEL: O10 F50
    Date: 2006–09
  6. By: Andrea Mattozzi (Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology); Antonio Merlo (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: In this paper, we study the initial recruitment of individuals in the political sector. We propose an equilibrium model of political recruitment by a party who faces competition for political talent from the lobbying sector. We show that a political party may deliberately choose to recruit only mediocre politicians, in spite of the fact that it could afford to recruit better individuals who would like to become politicians. We argue that this finding may contribute to explain the observation that in many countries the political class is mostly composed of mediocre people.
    Keywords: politicians, parties, political recruitment
    JEL: D72 J44 J45
    Date: 2006–12–01
  7. By: Thomas Siedler (University of Essex, DIW Berlin and IZA)
    Abstract: This paper examines whether schooling has a positive impact on individual's political interest, voting turnout, democratic values, political involvement and political group membership, using the German General Social Survey (ALLBUS). Between 1949 and 1969 the number of compulsory years of schooling was increased from eight to nine years in the Federal Republic of Germany, gradually over time and across federal states. These law changes allow one to investigate the causal impact of years of schooling on citizenship. Years of schooling are found to be positively correlated with a broad range of political outcome measures. However, when exogenous increase in schooling through law changes is used, there is no evidence of a causal effect running from schooling to citizenship in Germany.
    Keywords: voting, civic engagement, education, externalities, instrumental variables estimation
    JEL: I2 H4 H23
    Date: 2007–01
  8. By: Bernard Monjardet (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne)
    Abstract: Among the many significant contributions of Fishburn to social choice theory some have borne on what he has called “acyclic sets”, i.e. these sets of linear orders where majority rule applies without “Condorcet effect” (majority relation never has cycles). Search for large such domains is a fascinating topic. I review the works in this field and in particular a recent one allowing to show the connections between some of them unrelated up to now.
    Keywords: Acyclic set, alternating scheme, distributive lattice, effet Condorcet, maximal chain, permutoedre lattice, weak Bruhat order, value restriction.
    Date: 2006–12

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