New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2008‒02‒23
six papers chosen by

  1. Voting Equilibria in Multi-candidate Elections By John Duggan; Yoji Sekiya
  2. An Institutional Analysis of Voter Turnout: The Role of Primary Type and the Expressive and Instrumental Voting Hypotheses By Peter Calcagno; Christopher Westley
  3. Delay in Strategic Information Aggregation By Ettore Damiano; Hao Li; Wing Suen
  4. Collective Lobbying in Politics: Theory and Empirical Evidence from Sweden By Liang, Che-Yuan
  5. Mechanism Design: How to Implement Social Goals By Eric S. Maskin
  6. Selecting less Corruptible Bureaucrats By Audrey Hu; Liang Zhou

  1. By: John Duggan; Yoji Sekiya (W. Allen Wallis Institute of Political Economy, 107 Harkness Hall, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627-0158)
    Abstract: We consider a general plurality voting game with multiple candidates, where voter preferences over candidates are exogenously given. In particular, we allow for arbitrary voter indierences, as may arise in voting subgames of citizen-candidate or locational models of elections. We prove that the voting game admits pure strategy equilibria in undominated strategies. The proof is constructive: we exhibit an algorithm, the “best winning deviation” algorithm, that produces such an equilibrium in finite time. A byproduct of the algorithm is a simple story for how voters might learn to coordinate on such an equilibrium.
    Date: 2008–02
  2. By: Peter Calcagno (Department of Economics and Finance, College of Charleston); Christopher Westley (Jacksonville State University)
    Abstract: Recent events highlight primary type as an institutional variable that merits further examination in the economics literature on voter turnout. Using panel data for U.S. gubernatorial elections and treating primary type as a proxy for candidate deviation from the median voter, we test whether primary type changes voter turnout and whether that change is dominated by instrumental or expressive voting. The results show that states with more open primaries tend to have greater voter turnout in general elections and that this increase reflects the effect of open primaries on expressive voting.
    Keywords: voter turnout, voting hypotheses, voting
    JEL: D72 H11
  3. By: Ettore Damiano; Hao Li; Wing Suen
    Abstract: We study a model of collective decision making in which agents vote on the decision repeatedly until they agree, with the agents receiving no exogenous new information between two voting rounds but incurring a delay cost. Although preference conflict between the agents makes information aggregation impossible in a single round of voting, in the equilibrium of the repeated voting game agents are increasingly more willing to vote their private information after each disagreement. Information is efficiently aggregated within a finite number of rounds. As delay becomes less costly, agents are less willing to vote their private information, and efficient information aggregation takes longer. Even as the delay cost converges to zero, agents are strictly better off in the repeated voting game than in any single round game for moderate degrees of initial conflict.
    Keywords: repeated voting; gradual concessions; small delay cost
    JEL: C78 D82
    Date: 2008–02–14
  4. By: Liang, Che-Yuan (Department of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper first formulates a model of how the politicians in a local government collectively lobby to raise intergovernmental grants to their local government. The model identifies a relationship between council size and grants received. I then study this relationship empirically using the distribution of intergovernmental grants to the Swedish local governments. I use a fuzzy regression-discontinuity design that exploits a council size law to isolate exogenous variation in council size and find a large negative council size effect. This pattern provides indirect evidence for the occurrence of lobbying. The direction of the effect could be explained by free-riding incentives in individual lobbying effort contribution caused by a collective action problem in grant-raising among local government politicians.
    Keywords: lobbying; rent-seeking; collective action problem; group size paradox; local governments; intergovernmental grants; regression-discontinuity
    JEL: D72 D73 D78 H71 H72 H73 H77
    Date: 2008–02–07
  5. By: Eric S. Maskin (School of Social Science,)
    Date: 2008–02
  6. By: Audrey Hu (Universiteit van Amsterdam); Liang Zhou (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
    Abstract: A government officials' propensity to corruption, or corruptibility, can be affected by his intertemporal preference over job benefits. Through a dynamic model of rent-seeking behavior, this paper examines how endogenously determined corruptibility changes with monitoring intensity, salary growth, and discount factor for expected future income. The paper illustrates credible circumstances in which the less an official values his job the more he seeks rents. This negative relation suggests a simple quasi-auction mechanism for selecting less corruptible public servants. While straightforward to implement, the quasi-auction also tends to circumvent the corrupt influence that is often associated with standard auction of jobs.
    Keywords: rent seeking; corruption; selection of officials; quasi-auction; sale of jobs
    JEL: D73 H11 D44
    Date: 2007–12–11

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.