New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2007‒04‒21
nine papers chosen by

  1. The Single-mindedness theory: empirical evidence from the U.K. By Emanuele, Canegrati
  2. Women and budget deficits By Sébastien Wälti; Signe Krogstrup
  3. Cost benefit analysis vs. referenda By Martin J. Osborne; Matthew A. Turner
  4. Political leadership, conflict, and the prospects for constitutional peace By Jennings, Colin
  6. Social Value Orientation as a Moral Intuition: Decision-Making in the Dictator Game By Gert Cornelissen; Siegfried Dewitte; Luk Warlop
  7. La raison et les passions : Hobbes et l'échec d'une coordination décentralisée By Pierre Dockès
  8. Consensus Building: How to Persuade a Group By TIROLE, Jean
  9. Horizontal inequalities, political environment, and civil conflict : evidence from 55 developing countries, 1986-2003 By Ostby, Gudrun

  1. By: Emanuele, Canegrati
    Abstract: In this paper I will exploit answers coming from the British Election Study in order to assess the validity of the Single Mindedness Theory. In particular, I will evaluate whether political preferences of voters for political candidates depend on their age and some other characteristics such as gender, education, religion, social and economic conditions. Performing LOGIT and PROBIT regression I will demonstrate that variable age is statistically significant, demonstrating that Single Mindedness Theory assumptions hold in the UK political environment.
    Keywords: Single-mindedness; political survey; electorate preferences; Logit; Probit
    JEL: H31 D72 D83 H56 H51 C35 C25 D78 J14
    Date: 2007–04
  2. By: Sébastien Wälti (Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin); Signe Krogstrup (Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva)
    Abstract: If women have different economic preferences than men, then female economic and political empowerment is likely to change policy and household decisions, and in turn macroeconomic outcomes. We test the hypothesis that female enfranchisement leads to lower government budget deficits due gender differences in preferences over fiscal outcomes. Estimating the impact of women’s vote on budget deficits in a differences-in-differences regression for Swiss cantonal panel data, we find that including women in the electorate reduces average per capita budget deficits by a statistically significant amount.
    Keywords: Fiscal policy, budget deficit, enfranchisement, median voter, gender
    JEL: D7 E6 H6 J16
    Date: 2006–09
  3. By: Martin J. Osborne; Matthew A. Turner
    Abstract: We consider a planner who chooses between two possible public policies and ask whether a referendum or a cost benefit analysis leads to higher welfare. We find that a referendum leads to higher welfare than a cost benefit analyses in "common value" environments. Cost benefit analysis is better in "private value" environments.
    Keywords: Cost benefit analysis, elections, referenda, project evaluation
    JEL: H43 H11 Q51
    Date: 2007–04–13
  4. By: Jennings, Colin
    Abstract: The emphasis on constitutional political economy has been that new rules and institutions can be devised that improve the welfare of a society. Given the number of societies that are infected with political conflict and, as a result, lower levels of welfare, this pape r attempts to analyze why we do not see more constitutional conventions aimed at eliminating conflict. The key idea is that expressively motivated group members may create incentives for instrumentally motivated group leaders such that it leads them to choose conflict rather than compromise. Nonetheless, it is not argued that such a peace is impossible to obtain. This leads to a further question, that if such a constitutional agreement could be found, would the expressive perspective alter the conventional instrumental perspective on the sort of constitutional reform that should be undertaken?
    Keywords: Education and Society,Post Conflict Reintegration,Peace & Peacekeeping,Social Conflict and Violence,Services & Transfers to Poor
    Date: 2007–04–01
  5. By: Friederike Mengel (Universidad de Alicante); Veronika Grimm (Universidad de Alicante)
    Abstract: We experimentally investigate the effect of imperfect separation of groups on group selection and cooperation in a standard prisoner¿s dilemma environment. Subjects can repeatedly choose between two groups, where in one of them an institutionalized norm fosters cooperation. The degree of separation of the two groups is varied between treatments. We find that both, the share of participants that choose into the group where the norm is implemented and the share of participants that cooperate, rise monotonously with the degree of group separation. Furthermore with higher group separation significantly more subjects support the enforcement of the norm.
    Keywords: Experiments, Cooperation, Group Selection, Social Norms, Population Viscosity.
    JEL: L13 L23
    Date: 2007–04
  6. By: Gert Cornelissen; Siegfried Dewitte; Luk Warlop
    Abstract: We studied the decision making process in the Dictator Game and showed that decisions are the result of a two-step process. In a first step, decision makers generate an automatic, intuitive proposal. Given sufficient motivation and cognitive resources, they adjust this in a second, more deliberated phase. In line with the social intuitionist model, we show that one’s Social Value Orientation determines intuitive choice tendencies in the first step, and that this effect is mediated by the dictator’s perceived interpersonal closeness with the receiver. Self-interested concerns subsequently lead to a reduction of donation size in step 2. Finally, we show that increasing interpersonal closeness can promote pro-social decision-making.
    Keywords: Dictator game; social dilemma; decision-making; two stage model; social value orientation, interpersonal closeness
    JEL: C91 D81
    Date: 2007–04
  7. By: Pierre Dockès (Triangle : action, discours, pensée politique et économique - [CNRS : UMR5206][IEP LYON] - [Université Lumière - Lyon II] - [Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines])
    Abstract: Pourquoi des hommes aux intérêts certes opposés, mais qui ont en commun de considérer la guerre comme une solution dramatique et la paix comme la bonne solution collective n'arrivent-ils pas à cette dernière solution, si ce n'est en se soumettant à une autorité qui le leur impose ? Pourquoi des individus apparemment rationnels, c'est-à-dire supposés capables de mettre en place des moyens cohérents pour obtenir "un bien apparent", ne peuvent-ils aboutir, en se rencontrant, en négociant, à des accords par consentement mutuel et qui tiennent car satisfaisants pour chacun et pour tous, et tout au moins à éviter la solution la pire ? En des termes plus contemporains cette question caractéristique de la pensée de Hobbes peut s'énoncer ainsi : pourquoi la coordination entre des hommes qui ont intérêt à sa réussite échoue-t-elle tragiquement ? ...
    Keywords: coordination ; contrat social ; Etat ; individualisme ; rationalité ; Hobbes
    Date: 2007–04–17
  8. By: TIROLE, Jean
    Date: 2007–01
  9. By: Ostby, Gudrun
    Abstract: Several studies of civil war have concluded that economic inequality between individuals does not increase the risk of internal armed conflict. This is perhaps not so surprising. Even though an individual may feel frustrated if he is poor compared with other individuals in society, he will not start a rebellion on his own. Civil wars are organized group conflicts, not a matter of individuals randomly committing violence against each other. Hence, we should not neglect the group aspect of human well-being and conflict. Systematic inequalities that coincide with ethnic, religious, or geographical cleavages in a country are often referred to as horizontal inequalities (or inter-group inequalities). Case studies of particular countries as well as some statistical studies have found that such inequalities between identity groups tend to be associated with a higher risk of internal conflict. But the emergence of violent group mobilization in a country with sharp horizontal inequalities may depend on the characteristics of the political regime. For example, in an autocracy, grievances that stem from group inequalities are likely to be large and frequent, but state repression may prevent them from being openly expressed. This paper investigates the relationship between horizontal inequalities, political environment, and civil war in developing countries. Based on national survey data from 55 countries it calculates welfare inequalities between ethnic, religious, and regional groups for each country using indicators such as household assets and educational levels. All the inequality m easures, particularly regional inequality, are positively associated with higher risks of conflict outbreak. And it seems that the conflict potential of regional inequality is stronger for pure democratic and intermediate regimes than for pure autocratic regimes. Institutional arrangements also seem to matter. In fact it seems that the conflict potential of horizontal inequalities increases with more inclusive electoral systems. Finally, the presence of both regional inequalities and political exclusion of minority groups seems to make countries particularly at risk for conflict. The main policy implication of these findings is that the combination of politically and economically inclusive government is required to secure peace in developing countries.
    Keywords: Population Policies,Social Conflict and Violence,Education and Society,Parliamentary Government,Services & Transfers to Poor
    Date: 2007–04–01

General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.