New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2008‒01‒19
four papers chosen by

  1. Television and Political Persuasion in Young Democracies: Evidence from Russia By Ruben Enikolopov; Maria Petrova; Ekaterina Zhuravskaya
  2. Inter-Group Conflict and Intra-Group Punishment in an Experimental Contest Game By Klaus Abbink; Jordi Brandts; Benedikt Herrmann; Henrik Orzen
  3. Environmental Policy in Majoritarian Systems By Per G. Fredriksson; Xenia Matschke; Jenny Minier
  4. Nonparametric Tests of Collectively Rational Consumption Behavior: An Integer Programming Procedure By Cherchye, L.; Rock, B. de; Sabbe, J.; Vermeulen, F.M.P.

  1. By: Ruben Enikolopov (Harvard University); Maria Petrova (Harvard University); Ekaterina Zhuravskaya (New Economic School (NES), Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR), Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR))
    Abstract: Governments control media in much of the developing world. Does this have an effect on political choices of voters? We address this question using exogenous variation in the availability of the signal of the only independent from the government national TV channel in Russia during the 1999 parliamentary elections. We find that the presence of an independent source of political news on TV significantly decreased the vote in favor of the government party and increased the vote in favor of the opposition parties. We find that the difference in TV coverage significantly changed voting behavior even controlling for voters’ inclinations just one month prior to the elections. The effects we find are larger than those found in established democracies.
    Date: 2007–12
  2. By: Klaus Abbink; Jordi Brandts; Benedikt Herrmann; Henrik Orzen
    Abstract: We study how conflict in a contest game is influenced by rival parties being groups and by group members being able to punish each other. Our main motivation stems from the analysis of socio-political conflict. The relevant theoretical prediction in our setting is that conflict expenditures are independent of group size and independent of whether punishment is available or not. We find, first, that our results contradict the independence of group-size prediction: conflict expenditures of groups are substantially larger than those of individuals, and both are substantially above equilibrium. Towards the end of the experiment material losses in groups are 257% of the predicted level. There is, however, substantial heterogeneity in the investment behaviour of individual group members. Second, allowing group members to punish each other after individual contributions to the contest effort are revealed leads to even larger conflict expenditures. Now material losses are 869% of the equilibrium level and there is much less heterogeneity in individual group members? investments. These results contrast strongly with those from public goods experiments where punishment enhances efficiency and leads to higher material payoffs.
    Keywords: Laboratory experiments, Rent-seeking, Conflict, Group competitiveness
    JEL: C90 D72 D74 F51 H41
    Date: 2008–01–15
  3. By: Per G. Fredriksson (University of Louisville); Xenia Matschke (University of Connecticut); Jenny Minier (University of Kentucky)
    Abstract: This paper sheds new light on the determination of environmental policies in majoritarian federal electoral systems such as the U.S., and derives implications for the environmental federalism debate on whether the national or local government should have authority over environmental policies. In majoritarian systems, where the legislature consists of geographically distinct electoral districts, the majority party (at either the national or the state level) favors its own home districts; depending on the location of polluting industries and the associated pollution damages, the majority party may therefore impose sub-optimally high or low pollution taxes due to a majority bias. We show that majority bias can influence the social-welfare ranking of alternative government policies and, in some cases, may actually bring distortionary policies closer to the first-best solution.
    Keywords: Institutions, environmental policy, environmental federalism, geography, majority bias, political economy.
    JEL: Q48 D72 D78 H20 R50
    Date: 2008–01
  4. By: Cherchye, L.; Rock, B. de; Sabbe, J.; Vermeulen, F.M.P. (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: We present an IP-based nonparametric (revealed preference) testing proce- dure for rational consumption behavior in terms of general collective models, which include consumption externalities and public consumption. An empiri- cal application to data drawn from the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS) demonstrates the practical usefulness of the procedure. Finally, we present extensions of the testing procedure to evaluate the goodness-of-fit of the collective model subject to testing, and to quantify and improve the power of the corresponding collective rationality tests.
    Keywords: collective consumption model;revealed preferences;nonparametric rationality tests;integer programming (IP).
    JEL: D11 D12 C14
    Date: 2008

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