New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2008‒10‒21
thirteen papers chosen by

  1. A psychologically-based model of voter turnout By Li, Ming; Majumdar, Dipjyoti
  2. One person, Many Votes: Divided Majority and Information Aggregation By Laurent Bouton; Micael Castanheira
  3. Democratic Peace and Electoral Accountability By Paola Conconi; Nicolas Sahuguet; Maurizio Zanardi
  4. The Impact of Party Organization on Electoral Outcomes By Micael Castanheira; Benoît S. Crutzen; Nicolas Sahuguet
  5. Bureaucrats in Parliament: Theory and Evidence on Its Determinants in Germany By Thomas Braendle; Alois Stutzer
  6. Elections Can be Manipulated Often By Ehud Friedgut; Gil Kalai; Noam Nisan
  7. Preferences for Childcare Policies : Theory and Evidence By Rainald Borck; Katharina Wrohlich
  8. The European Union’s Enlargement Process and the Collective Identity Formation in Turkey; The interplay of multiple identities By Yaprak Gürsoy; Meltem Müftüler-Baç
  9. Political Participation and Quality of Life By Rebecca Weitz-Shapiro Author-X-Name_First: Rebecca Author-X-Name_Last: Weitz-Shapiro; Matthew S. Winters Author-X-Name_First: Matthew S. Author-X-Name_Last: Winters
  10. Arrow's Impossibility Theorem: Preference Diversity in a Single-Profile World By Allan M Feldman; Roberto Serrano
  11. Collective identity formation in the process of EU enlargement; Defeating the inclusive paradigm of a European democracy? By Zdzisław Mach; Grzegorz Pożarlik
  12. Assessing Gender Democracy in the European Union. A Methodological Framework By Yvonne Galligan; Sara Clavero
  13. Veto Players, Intertemporal Interactions and Policy Adaptability: How Do Political Institutions Work? By Carlos Scartascini Author-X-Name_First: Carlos Author-X-Name_Last: Scartascini; Mariano Tommasi Author-X-Name_First: Mariano Author-X-Name_Last: Tommasi; Ernesto H. Stein Author-X-Name_First: Ernesto H. Author-X-Name_Last: Stein

  1. By: Li, Ming; Majumdar, Dipjyoti
    Abstract: We analyze a psychologically-based model of voter turnout. Potential voters experience regret if they fail to vote, which is the motivation for participation in voting. Regret from abstention is inversely related to the margin of victory. Voters on the winner's side experience less regret than those on the loser's side. We show that the unique equilibrium involves positive voter turnout. We show that the losing side has higher turnout. In addition, voter turnout is positively related to importance of the election and the competitiveness of the election. We also consider scenarios in which voters are uncertain about the composition of the electorate's political preferences and show similar phenomena emerge.
    Keywords: voter turnout; regret; economics and psychology.
    JEL: D82 D72
    Date: 2006–03
  2. By: Laurent Bouton; Micael Castanheira
    Abstract: In elections, majority divisions pave the way to focal manipulations and coordination failures, which can lead to the victory of the wrong candidate. This paper shows how this flaw can be addressed if voter preferences over candidates are sensitive to information. We consider two potential sources of divisions: majority voters may have similar preferences but opposite information about the candidates, or opposite preferences. We show that when information is the source of majority divisions, Approval Voting features a unique equilibrium with full information and coordination equivalence. That is, it produces the same outcome as if both information and coordination problems could be resolved. Other electoral systems, such as Plurality and Two-Round elections, do not satisfy this equivalence. The second source of division is opposite preferences. Whenever the fraction of voters with such preferences is not too large, Approval Voting still satisfies full information and coordination equivalence.
    Keywords: Information Aggregation; Multicandidate Elections; Approval Voting; Poisson Games
    JEL: C72 D72 D81 D82
    Date: 2008
  3. By: Paola Conconi; Nicolas Sahuguet; Maurizio Zanardi
    Abstract: One of the few stylized facts in international relations is that democracies, unlike autocracies, very rarely fight each other. We examine the sustainability of international peace between democracies and autocracies, where the crucial difference between these two political regimes is whether or not policymakers are subject to periodic elections. We show that the fear of losing office can deter democratic leaders from engaging in military conflicts. Crucially, this discipline effect can only be at work if incumbent leaders can be re-elected, implying that democracies in which the executives are subject to term limits should be more conflict prone. To assess the validity of our predictions, we construct a large dataset on countries with executive term limits. Our analysis of inter-state conflicts for the 1816-2001 period suggests that electoral incentives are indeed behind the democratic peace phenomenon: while democratic dyads are in general less likely to be involved in conflicts than any other dyads, this result does not hold for democracies in which the executive faces binding term limits; moreover, the dispute patterns of democracies with term limits depend on whether the executive is in the last or penultimate mandate.
    Keywords: Democratic Peace, Elections, Term Limits
    JEL: C72 D72 F00
    Date: 2008
  4. By: Micael Castanheira; Benoît S. Crutzen; Nicolas Sahuguet
    Abstract: We present a model of electoral competition in which parties act as brands and use competition to select their candidates. We show that the forces that shape the competition between party representatives and independents rationalize the positive correlation between inequality and polarization documented by McCarty, Poole and Rosenthal (2006) for the US. We also show that, when voters are badly informed about the quality of candidates, it is optimal for party to use primaries to get an edge on independent candidates. This rationalizes the introduction of the American direct primary in the US at the beginning of the twentieth century.
    Keywords: parties as a brand, direct primary, intra-party discipline, polarization, political regime, Duverger
    JEL: D23 D72 D82
    Date: 2008
  5. By: Thomas Braendle; Alois Stutzer
    Abstract: This paper addresses the personal linkages between the public administration and the legislature that emerge because public servants pursue a political mandate. There are concerns that the strong representation of bureaucrats in many Western parliaments compromises the constitutionally proposed political neutrality of the public service and generates a conflict of interest. We present a cost-benefit calculus and analyze specific legal provisions for the German Laender to understand the selection of public servants into parliaments. Based on a novel data set, we find that incompatibility rules decrease and abeyance compensation increases the fraction of public servants in Laender parliaments.
    Keywords: Political selection; parliamentary election; public servants; incompatibility
    JEL: D72 D73 H11 H83
    Date: 2008–09
  6. By: Ehud Friedgut; Gil Kalai; Noam Nisan
    Date: 2008–10–12
  7. By: Rainald Borck; Katharina Wrohlich
    Abstract: We analyse preferences for public, private or mixed provision of childcare theoretically and empirically. We model childcare as a publicly provided private good. Richer households should prefer private provision to either pure public or mixed provision. If public provision redistributes from rich to poor, they should favour mixed over pure public provision, but if public provision redistributes from poor to rich, the rich and poor might favour mixed provision while the middle class favour public provision ('ends against the middle'). Using estimates for household preferences from survey data, we find no support for the ends-against-the-middle result.
    Keywords: childcare, redistribution, political preferences, public provision of private goods
    JEL: J13 D72 H42 D19
    Date: 2008
  8. By: Yaprak Gürsoy; Meltem Müftüler-Baç
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of the EU enlargement process on Turkish collective identity formation. EU conditionality influences Turkish collective identity by bringing to the forefront issues on democracy, civilian control of the military, impartiality and independence of the judiciary, and minority rights. The paper investigates how different social and political groups in Turkey react to the reform process and argues that there is an ongoing adaptation process in Turkish politics to the EU political criteria and norms parallel to the accession negotiations with the EU. The latter is important at two different levels: First, Turkey increasingly accepts the EU norms in civil-military relations, human rights and recognition of minority rights. Second, these changes and diffusion of norms from the EU into Turkey generate a transformation of the Turkish collective identity.
    Keywords: acquis communautaire; Copenhagen criteria; democracy; enlargement; identity; international relations
    Date: 2008–10–15
  9. By: Rebecca Weitz-Shapiro Author-X-Name_First: Rebecca Author-X-Name_Last: Weitz-Shapiro; Matthew S. Winters Author-X-Name_First: Matthew S. Author-X-Name_Last: Winters
    Abstract: Theoretical literatures on procedural utility and the psychological benefits of political participation suggest that people who participate in political activities will be more satisfied with their lives because of the resulting feelings of autonomy, competence and relatedness. Individual-level data from Latin America show—in one dataset under study but not in another—a positive and statistically significant relationship between voting and life satisfaction. Variation in desire to vote as measured in Costa Rica, however, suggests that the causal arrow may run from happiness to voting. The use of multilevel models further reveals a consistent—but untheorized—cross-country negative relationship between enforced compulsory voting and happiness. Only preliminary results are found regarding the relationship between some other forms of political participation and life satisfaction.
    Date: 2008–07
  10. By: Allan M Feldman; Roberto Serrano
    Abstract: In this paper we provide two simple new versions of Arrow’s impossibility theorem, in a model with only one preference profile. Both versions are transparent, requiring minimal mathematical sophistication. The first version assumes there are only two people in society, whose preferences are being aggregated; the second version assumes two or more people. Both theorems rely on assumptions about diversity of preferences, and we explore alternative notions of diversity at some length. Our first theorem also uses a neutrality assumption, commonly used in the literature; our second theorem uses a neutrality/monotonicity assumption, which is stronger and less commonly used. We provide examples to illustrate our points.
    Keywords: Arrow's Theorem; single-profile
    Date: 2008
  11. By: Zdzisław Mach; Grzegorz Pożarlik
    Abstract: Abstract In our analysis we argue that the EU eastern enlargement did not result in significant change of predominantly ethnos based collective identity in the new EU countries. Consequently, we argue that, the EU eastern enlargement has, by and large, been understood by citizens of new EU countries as primarily a process of economic adjustment to the common market standards with limited impact on political dimension of European integration, i.e. finalite politque of the EU institutional design or, more generally, the model of future democratic order in Europe. The main conclusion that could be drawn from the analysis of dynamics of collective identity formation in the context of the EU enlargement is that the inclusive paradigm of European democracy which constituted the identitarian foundation of European integration process since the establishment of first European Communities turned out to be self-defeating in the context of the EU eastern enlargement at least in short term perspective.
    Keywords: European identity; democracy; post-Communism; enlargement
    Date: 2008–09–15
  12. By: Yvonne Galligan; Sara Clavero
    Abstract: This paper presents a methodological framework for assessing the quality of democracy in the European Union from a gender perspective. The methodology was developed in the context of a broader project that aims to derive a set of empirical indicators of democratic performance for the European Union, being undertaken within the EU funded project Reconstituting Democracy in Europe (RECON). After describing the general background to the development of this methodology, the paper discusses a set of questions that needed to be addressed in the course of this research. These include: What do we exactly mean by ‘gender democracy’? What are the purposes of this assessment? How can we move from abstract concepts such as gender democracy to observable indicators? Once a set of indicators has been derived, how should we use these in an assessment context? In addressing these questions, the paper presents a variety of methodologies that have been adopted in established assessments of democratic performance, critically discussing their strengths and weaknesses as well as their applicability for an assessment of gender and democracy. This survey exercise exposes the complexities involved in the design and implementation of a methodology for a gender-sensitive assessment of democracy and the difficult choices encountered by the researchers at every step of the way.
    Keywords: democracy; deliberative democracy; gender policy
    Date: 2008–09–15
  13. By: Carlos Scartascini Author-X-Name_First: Carlos Author-X-Name_Last: Scartascini; Mariano Tommasi Author-X-Name_First: Mariano Author-X-Name_Last: Tommasi; Ernesto H. Stein Author-X-Name_First: Ernesto H. Author-X-Name_Last: Stein
    Abstract: Veto player theory argues that a higher number of veto players lowers the likelihood of change; in turn, policies that do not change help to sustain commitments but may prevent adaptation to changing circumstances. This paper challenges that claim of veto player theory by arguing that policy stability does not necessarily mean lower policy adaptability. If policymaking takes place over time with actors interacting repeatedly, more cooperative polities might be able to achieve both objectives at once, and a higher number of veto players might even favor intertemporal cooperation. The paper presents a simple formalization of the argument and some supportive cross-national empirical evidence.
    Date: 2008–09

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.