New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2007‒12‒19
seven papers chosen by

  1. Votes or Money? Theory and Evidence from the US Congress. By Matilde Bombardini; Francesco Trebbi
  2. Group deliberation and the transformation ofjudgments: an impossibility result By Christian List
  3. Voting on Devolution in a Federal Country with a Bicameral National System By Lisa Grazzini; Alessandro Petretto
  4. A done deal? The EU’s legitimacy conundrum revisited By Erik Oddvar Eriksen; John Erik Fossum
  5. Individual and Collective Performance and the Tenureof British Ministers 1945-1997 By Samuel Berlinski; Torun Dewan; Keith Dowding
  6. Paretian evaluation of infinite utility streams: an egalitarian criterion By Alcantud, José C. R.; García-Sanz, María D.
  7. Preference heterogeneity in monetary policy committees By Alessandro Riboni; Francisco Ruge-Murcia

  1. By: Matilde Bombardini; Francesco Trebbi
    Abstract: This paper investigates the relationship between the size of interest groups in terms of voter representation and the interest group's campaign contributions to politicians. We uncover a robust hump-shaped relationship between the voting share of an interest group and its contributions to a legislator. This pattern is rationalized in a simultaneous bilateral bargaining model where the larger size of an interest group affects the amount of surplus to be split with the politician (thereby increasing contributions), but is also correlated with the strength of direct voter support the group can offer instead of monetary funds (thereby decreasing contributions). The model yields simple structural equations that we estimate at the district level employing data on individual and PAC donations and local employment by sector. This procedure yields estimates of electoral uncertainty and politicians effectiveness as perceived by the interest groups. Our approach also implicitly delivers a novel method for estimating the impact of campaign spending on election outcomes: we find that an additional vote costs a politician between 100 and 400 dollars depending on the district.
    JEL: D72 H7 P48
    Date: 2007–11
  2. By: Christian List
    Abstract: While a large social-choice-theoretic literature discusses the aggregation ofindividual judgments into collective ones, there is relatively little formalwork on the transformation of individual judgments in group deliberation. Idevelop a model of judgment transformation and prove a baselineimpossibility result: Any judgment transformation function satisfying someinitially plausible condition is the identity function, under which no opinionchange occurs. I identify escape routes from this impossibility result andargue that successful group deliberation must be 'holistic': individualscannot generally revise their judgments on a proposition based on judgmentson that proposition alone but must take other propositions into account too. Idiscuss the significance of these findings for democratic theory.
    Keywords: group deliberation, judgment aggregation, judgmenttransformation, belief revision
    JEL: D70 D71
    Date: 2007–03
  3. By: Lisa Grazzini (Università degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche); Alessandro Petretto (Università degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche)
    Abstract: We analyse voting on devolution of responsibilities for the provision of public goods to local governments in a federal country, with a bicameral national legislature. We suppose that devolution is a ?scal reform which reduces federal public expenditure on a national public good, and simultaneously increases transfers which regions receive from the State via a tax-sharing mechanism. This allows regions to augment their aggregate expenditure on a local public good which substitutes the reduction in a national public one. We show the conditions under which each chamber of the national parliament votes separately in favour or against devolution, and the conditions prompting the Federal government to carry out or to drop such a reform.
    Keywords: Fiscal federalism, Median voter, Public goods, Devolution
    JEL: H1 H41 H71 H77
    Date: 2007
  4. By: Erik Oddvar Eriksen; John Erik Fossum
    Abstract: In this paper we suggest a research agenda beyond the legitimation strategies of the CIDEL project (i.e. legitimation through outcomes, values and rights). The European Union has developed beyond that of international organisation and derivative democratic construct. But the step from negative determination to positive identification of type of entity requires an analytical scheme that takes the character of the polity configuration properly into account. How to handle Europe’s present democratic conundrum? Europe will suffer democratic losses if it does away with the multilevel constellation that makes up the EU. But the present structure is also deficient; unless it is reformed, the EU will not be able to resolve its democratic problems. The upshot is that we have to consider how best to democratize the multilevel constellation that makes up the EU. Such a solution entails reconstituting democracy (rather than simply abolishing the EU or uploading nation-state democracy to the EU-level). We briefly outline three models for how to reconstitute democracy in Europe; each of which reflects the entity’s compound character.
    Keywords: democracy; democratization; legitimacy; multilevel governance; integration theory; federalism; supranationalism
    Date: 2007–12–15
  5. By: Samuel Berlinski; Torun Dewan; Keith Dowding
    Abstract: We study the effects of individual and collective ministerial performance on the length oftime a minister serves in British government from 1945-97, using the number ofresignation calls for a minister as an individual performance indicator and the cumulativenumber of such calls as an indicator of government performance. Our analysis lendssupport to a 'two-strike rule': ministers facing a second call for their resignation have asignificantly higher hazard than those facing their first, irrespective of the performance ofthe government. A minister's hazard rate is decreasing in the cumulative number ofresignation calls; but conditional on receiving a first resignation call, the hazard rateincreases with the number of calls that all government ministers have faced in the past.Our message is that collective ministerial performance is a key determinant of whether aminister survives his first resignation call.
    Date: 2007–02
  6. By: Alcantud, José C. R.; García-Sanz, María D.
    Abstract: This paper contributes to qualifying the Basu-Mitra approach to the problem of intergenerational social choice, by analyzing the impact of the structure of the feasible set of utilities on Banerjee's (2006) impossibility theorem. We prove that if the utilities that each generation can possess lie in $\NN \cup \{0\} $, then an explicit expression for a Paretian social welfare function that accounts for a strengthened form of Hammond Equity for the Future can be given.
    Keywords: Social welfare function; Equity; Pareto axiom; Intergenerational utility
    JEL: D63
    Date: 2007–12
  7. By: Alessandro Riboni; Francisco Ruge-Murcia
    Abstract: This short paper employs individual voting records of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of England to study heterogeneity in policy preferences among committee members. The analysis is carried out using a simple generalization of the standard Neo Keynesian framework that allows members to differ in the weight they give to output compared with inflation stabilization and in their views regarding optimal inflation and natural output. Results indicate that, qualitatively, MPC members are fairly homogeneous in their policy preferences, but that there are systematic quantitative differences in their policy reaction functions that are related to the nature of their membership and career background. 
    Keywords: Committees; reaction functions; Bank of England
    JEL: G23 G32
    Date: 2007–12

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