New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2007‒02‒24
seven papers chosen by

  1. Do Voters Vote Sincerely? By Arianna Degan; Antonio Merlo
  2. Mediocracy By Andrea Mattozzi; Antonio Merlo
  3. Electoral bias and policy choice: theory and evidence By Tim Besley; Ian Preston
  4. Political Careers or Career Politicians? By Andrea Mattozzi; Antonio Merlo
  5. Taxation and Democracy in the EU By Ganghof, Steffen,; Philipp Genschel
  6. Informational Lobbying and Competition for Access By Cotton, Christopher
  7. "Deep Democracy ; A Political and Social Economy Approach" By Mariko Frame; Haider A. Khan

  1. By: Arianna Degan; Antonio Merlo
    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.
    JEL: C12 C63 D72
    Date: 2007–02
  2. By: Andrea Mattozzi; Antonio Merlo
    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.
    JEL: D72 J44 J45
    Date: 2007–02
  3. By: Tim Besley (Institute for Fiscal Studies and London School of Economics and Bank of England); Ian Preston (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London)
    Abstract: <p>This paper develops an approach to studying how bias in favor of one party due to the pattern of electoral districting affects policy choice. We tie a commonly used measure of electoral bias to the theory of party competition and show how this affects party strategy in theory. The usefulness of the approach is illustrated using data on local government in England. The results suggest that reducing electoral bias leads parties to moderate their policies.</p>
    Date: 2007–02
  4. By: Andrea Mattozzi; Antonio Merlo
    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.
    JEL: D72 J44 J45
    Date: 2007–02
  5. By: Ganghof, Steffen,; Philipp Genschel
    Abstract: Abstract Is corporate tax competition a threat to democracy in the EU? The answer dependscrucially on a positive analysis of the effects of tax competition on national policy autonomy.Most analyses focus on direct effects on corporate tax rates and revenues. Wecontend that this focus is too narrow. It overlooks the fact that corporate tax competitionalso has important indirect effects on the progressivity and revenue-raising potentialof personal income taxation. We elaborate on these indirect effects theoreticallyand empirically, and explore the implications for the normative debate on the EU'sdemocratic defi cit. Our fi ndings show that European integration can constrain nationalredistribution in a major way: the democratic defi cit is real. Greater political contestationover the EU's policy agenda is desirable in order to mitigate this defi cit.
    Keywords: tax policy; tax competition; democracy; harmonisation; harmonisation; normative political theory; majority voting; European Commission
    Date: 2007–02–13
  6. By: Cotton, Christopher
    Abstract: In competition for access, interest groups provide contributions to a politician and those that provide the highest contributions win access. Groups with access present information that may influence the politician's beliefs about the socially optimal policy. Because equilibrium contributions are chosen endogenously, the politician learns about the information quality of all interest groups, even when he grants access to only some of the groups. Contribution limits reduce the signaling power of the equilibrium contributions, resulting in a less informed politician, and strictly reducing expected social welfare.
    Keywords: All-pay auction; political access; lobbying; campaign contributions; contribution limits
    JEL: D72 D44 D78
    Date: 2007–02–19
  7. By: Mariko Frame (GSIS , University of Denver); Haider A. Khan (GSIS , University of Denver)
    Abstract: The main purpose of this paper is to offer a somewhat novel theory of deep democracy from a political and social economy perspective. The theory of deep democracy presented here makes a distinction between formal aspects of democracy and the deeper structural aspects. In order for democracy to be deep, democratic practices have to become institutionalized in such a way that they become part of normal life in a democratic society. In this sense, ontologically, deep democracy overlaps with Barber's (1984) idea of "strong" democracy. There are, however, epistemological differences as well as differences of emphasis, particularly in the economic sphere. Cluster conditions for deep democracy include both cultural-political and socio-economic conditions.
    Date: 2007–02

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