New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2007‒05‒26
eight papers chosen by

  1. Mediators Enable Truthful Voting By Bezalel Peleg; Ariel D. Procaccia
  2. Citizens’ Freedom to Choose Representatives: Ballot Structure, Proportionality and “Fragmented” Parliaments By Paulo Trigo Pereira; João Andrade e Silva
  3. School Choice: Income, Peer effect and the formation of Inequalities. By Saïd Hanchane; Tarek Mostafa
  4. Majority Rule Dynamics with Endogenous Status Quo By Tasos Kalandrakis
  5. Heterogeneity in solidarity attitudes in Europe. Insights from a multiple-group latent-class factor approach By Kankarash, Milosh; Moors, Guy
  6. Positional Power in Hierarchies By René van den Brink; Frank Steffen
  7. Dynamic Legislative Policy Making By John Duggan; Tasos Kalandrakis
  8. Hit or Miss? The Effect of Assassinations on Institutions and War By Benjamin F. Jones; Benjamin A. Olken

  1. By: Bezalel Peleg; Ariel D. Procaccia
    Abstract: The Gibbard-Satterthwaite Theorem asserts the impossibility of designing a non-dictatorial voting rule in which truth-telling always constitutes a Nash equilibrium. We show that in voting games of complete information where a mediator is on hand, this troubling impossibility result can be alleviated. Indeed, we characterize families of voting rules where, given a mediator, truthful preference revelation is always in strong equilibrium. In particular, we observe that the family of feasible elimination procedures has the foregoing property.
    Date: 2007–04
  2. By: Paulo Trigo Pereira; João Andrade e Silva
    Abstract: The analysis of the political consequences of electoral laws has emphasized how individual characteristics of the electoral system (electoral formulas, district magnitude, ballot structure) affect the degree of parliament “fragmentation” and proportionality. This paper argues that the personal attributes of representatives are also an important consequence of electoral laws, and that they are in part determined by citizens’ freedom to choose representatives. We clarify this concept and develop an index of citizens’ freedom to choose members of parliament as a function of the ballot structure, district size and electoral formulae. Using data from twenty nine countries, we find that neither proportionality nor the effective number of parties is significantly affected by voters’ freedom of choice. This result has important normative implications for electoral reform.
    Keywords: Ballot structure; Electoral index; Freedom to choose; Personal vote.
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2007
  3. By: Saïd Hanchane (LEST - Laboratoire d'économie et de sociologie du travail - [CNRS : UMR6123] - [Université de Provence - Aix-Marseille I][Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II]); Tarek Mostafa (LEST - Laboratoire d'économie et de sociologie du travail - [CNRS : UMR6123] - [Université de Provence - Aix-Marseille I][Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II])
    Abstract: In this paper, we analyze the equilibrium on the market for schooling where both public and private schools coexist and where individuals are differentiated by income and ability. We introduce a non linear in means model of peer effect by shedding the light on the fact that school quality is not solely dependent on mean ability but also on the dispersion of abilities. We study the distribution of students across sectors while examining the conditions for the existence of a majority voting equilibrium in the context of non single peaked preferences. Finally, we examine the presence of a hierarchy of school qualities. In the paper we shed the light on equity problems related to the access to educational quality while analyzing the functioning of the educational system.
    Keywords: Education market; Majority voting equilibrium; Peer group effect; Pricing discrimination; Educational opportunity
    Date: 2007–05–14
  4. By: Tasos Kalandrakis (W. Allen Wallis Institute of Political Economy, 107 Harkness Hall, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627-0158)
    Abstract: We analyze a stochastic bargaining game in which a new dollar is divided among committee members in each of an infinity of periods. In each period, a committee member is recognized and offers a proposal for the division of the dollar. The proposal is implemented if it is approved by a majority. If the proposal is rejected, then last period’s allocation is implemented. We show existence of equilibrium in Markovian strategies. It is such that irrespective of the initial status quo, the discount factor, or the probabilities of recognition, the proposer extracts the entire dollar in all periods but the initial two. We also derive a fully strategic version of McKelvey’s (1976), (1979) dictatorial agenda setting, so that a player with exclusive access to the formulation of proposals can extract the entire dollar in all periods except the first. The equilibrium collapses when within period payoffs are sufficiently concave. Winning coalitions may comprise players with high instead of low recognition probabilities, ceteris paribus.
    JEL: C73 C78 D72
    Date: 2007–05
  5. By: Kankarash, Milosh (Tilburg University, CEPS/INSTEAD); Moors, Guy (Tilburg University)
    Abstract: Comparing solidarity attitudes of European citizen is highly relevant in the context of European integration and unification. Such comparisons, however, are only valid if responses to attitude questions reflect true differences in solidarity and, hence, the measurement of latent solidarity attitudes is comparable. Often comparability is assumed, rarely is it tested. We argue that establishing equivalence in measurement across cultures is as important as testing the reliability and validity of the measurement since lack of comparability may result in biased or misleading conclusions. This research presents a multiple-group latent-class factor analysis of a set of questions concerning solidarity towards different social groups, taken from the 1999/2000 wave of European Value Study. This multiple-group comparison revealed that homogeneity in attitude measurement is not established. Countries can only be compared if particular direct effects of country on items are estimated. Country ranking on solidarity factors substantially changed when this source of construct inequivalence was taken into account.
    Keywords: Attitudes; Survey research ; measurement equivalence ; multigroup comparison ; solidarity
    Date: 2007–04
  6. By: René van den Brink (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam); Frank Steffen (Management School (ULMS), University of Liverpool)
    Abstract: Power is a core concept in the analysis and design of organisations. In this paper we consider positional power in hierarchies. One of the problems with the extant literature on positional power in hierarchies is that it is mainly restricted to the analysis of power in terms of the bare positions of the actors. While such an analysis informs us about the authority structure within an organisation, it ignores the decision-making mechanisms completely. The few studies which take into account the decision-making mechanisms make all use of adaptations of well-established approaches for the analysis of power in non-hierarchical organisations such as the Banzhaf measure; and thus they are all based on the structure of a simple game, i.e. they are ‘membershipbased’. We demonstrate that such an approach is in general inappropriate for characterizing power in hierarchies as it cannot be extended to a class of decision-making mechanisms which allow certain actors to terminate a decision before all other members have been involved. As this kind of sequential decision-making mechanism turns out to be particularly relevant for hierarchies, we suggest an action-b! ased approach - represented by an extensive game form - which can take the features of such mechanisms into account. Based on this approach we introduce a power score and measure that can be applied to ascribe positional power to actors in sequential decision making mechanisms.
    Keywords: hierarchies; decision-making mechanism; power; positional power; power measure
    JEL: C79 D02 D71
    Date: 2007–05–03
  7. By: John Duggan; Tasos Kalandrakis (W. Allen Wallis Institute of Political Economy, 107 Harkness Hall, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627-0158)
    Abstract: We prove existence of stationary Markov perfect equilibria in an infinite-horizon model of legislative policy making in which the policy outcome in one period determines the status quo in the next. We allow for a multidimensional policy space and arbitrary smooth stage utilities. We prove that all such equilibria are essentially in pure strategies and that proposal strategies are differentiable almost everywhere. We establish upper hemicontinuity of the equilibrium correspondence, and we derive conditions under which each equilibrium of our model determines a unique invariant distribution characterizing long run policy outcomes. We illustrate the equilibria of the model in a numerical example of policy making in a single dimension, and we discuss extensions of our approach to accommodate much of the institutional structure observed in real-world politics.
    Date: 2007–05
  8. By: Benjamin F. Jones; Benjamin A. Olken
    Abstract: Assassinations are a persistent feature of the political landscape. Using a new data set of assassination attempts on all world leaders from 1875 to 2004, we exploit inherent randomness in the success or failure of assassination attempts to identify assassination's effects. We find that, on average, successful assassinations of autocrats produce sustained moves toward democracy. We also find that assassinations affect the intensity of small-scale conflicts. The results document a contemporary source of institutional change, inform theories of conflict, and show that small sources of randomness can have a pronounced effect on history.
    JEL: D74 F52 P16
    Date: 2007–05

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