nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2009‒01‒24
thirteen papers chosen by
Roland Kirstein
Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg

  1. Expectations about Coalitions and Strategic Voting under Proportional Representation By Herrmann, Michael
  2. Trading Places: The Effect of Voting Systems On Multicandidate Elections By Derek Johnson; Randy Simmons; Ryan Yonk
  3. Electoral System Change in Belgium 2003: Party Strategies and Voter Responses By Gschwend, Thomas
  4. How democracy resolves conflict in difficult games By Brams, Steven J.; Kilgour, D. Marc
  5. Information and Voting: the Wisdom of the Experts versus the Wisdom of the Masses By Joseph McMurray
  6. A Reputational Theory of Two Party Competition By Tasos Kalandrakis
  7. A Vindication of Responsible Parties By John Duggan; Dan Bernhardt; Francesco Squintani
  8. Dynamics of the Presidential Veto: A Computational By John Duggan; Tasos Kalandrakis; Vikram Manjunath
  9. A preliminary simulative assessment of disproportionality indices By Migheli, Matteo; Ortona, Guido; Ponzano, Ferruccio
  10. Information Flow and Influence during Collective Search, Discussion, and Choice By Abele, Susanne; Vaughan-Parsons, Sandra I.; Stasser, Garold
  11. Political Mergers as Coalition Formation: Evidence from Japanese Municipal Amalgamations By Eric Weese
  12. Risk Tolerance, Self-Interest, and Social Preferences By Lucy F. Ackert; Ann B. Gillette; Jorge Martinez-Vazquez; Mark Rider
  13. Procedural Satisfaction Matters - Procedural Fairness does not: An Experiment Studying the Effects of Procedural Judgments on Outcome Acceptance By Vanessa Mertins

  1. By: Herrmann, Michael (Sonderforschungsbereich 504)
    Abstract: In this paper, I suggest that voters may act strategically in proportional representation elections with post-election coalition building. Based on a stylized setup involving three possible coalitions of four parties on a single policy dimension, voters whose preferred coalition is least likely to win are predicted to strategically cast their ballot for a centrist party. By contrast, those who perceive a chance for their preferred coalition to become the next government are predicted to strategically vote for a non-centrist party. I test these predictions against the standard model of sincere proximity voting, using a unique dataset on voter expectations in the Austrian parliamentary election 2006. Analyses show that believing one's preferred coalition is non-viable raises the probability of voting for a centrist vs. non-centrist party while believing one's preferred coalition to be viable lowers the probability of voting for a centrist vs. non-centrist party.
    Date: 2008–12–17
  2. By: Derek Johnson (Department of Economics and Finance, Utah State University); Randy Simmons (Department of Economics and Finance, Utah State University); Ryan Yonk (Department of Economics and Finance, Utah State University)
    Abstract: This paper examines effects that voting systems can have on electoral outcomes in multicandidate elections. Using ballots collected from a county Republican Party special election, we recount the votes using preference based voting systems and compare the results to the special election outcome. Relative rankings of candidates change across vote counting rules and voting systems. Because candidates trade places depending on rules, there are strong strategic implications for candidates and for those establishing the rules.
    Date: 2009–01–13
  3. By: Gschwend, Thomas (Sonderforschungsbereich 504)
    Abstract: The paper addresses two points: First, what is the effect of changes to the electoral system in Belgium and second, how do voters respond to the new electoral rules? If seat-maximization is the key link then this would lead to the prediction that parties that supported the change of the electoral system particularly the parties of the incumbent governing coalition (before the change took place for the 2003 election), should expect to fare better under the new rules than the old rules that translate votes into seats. The mechanical effects of the new electoral rules for 2003 when applied to the number of votes cast in 1995 and 1999 do have a small effect in the direction predicted by the theory. The governing parties together, particular the rancophone ones, can expect to fare better under the new rules than under the old rules. Regarding the second question, the number of Strategic Voters in a given district is typically predicted by the district magnitude, i.e. the number of seats that are awarded at the primary electoral district level. Contrary to previous studies there is strong evidence of strategic voting particularly within the small Belgian districts. This analysis further demonstrates that even the new incentives to cast a strategic vote through the need for every party to overcome 5% of the district vote share before gaining representation has already a systematic impact on the decision-making process of Belgium voters.
    Date: 2008–12–17
  4. By: Brams, Steven J.; Kilgour, D. Marc
    Abstract: Democracy resolves conflicts in difficult games like Prisoners’ Dilemma and Chicken by stabilizing their cooperative outcomes. It does so by transforming these games into games in which voters are presented with a choice between a cooperative outcome and a Pareto-inferior noncooperative outcome. In the transformed game, it is always rational for voters to vote for the cooperative outcome, because cooperation is a weakly dominant strategy independent of the decision rule and the number of voters who choose it. Such games are illustrated by 2-person and n-person public-goods games, in which it is optimal to be a free rider, and a biblical story from the book of Exodus.
    Keywords: Democracy; voting; social choice; public goods; game theory; Prisoners' Dilemma; Bible
    JEL: D7 D6 C72
    Date: 2008–10
  5. By: Joseph McMurray (University of Rochester Economics Department, Harkness Hall, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627)
    Abstract: In a common-values election with continuously distributed information quality, the incentive to pool private information conflicts with the swing voters curse. In equilibrium, therefore, some citizens abstain despite clear private opinions, and others vote despite having arbitrarily many peers with superior information. The dichotomy between one's own and others' information quality can explain the otherwise puzzling empirical relationship between education and turnout, and suggests the importance of relative information variables in explaining turnout, which I verify for U.S. primary elections. Though voluntary elections fail to utilize nonvoters' information, mandatory elections actually do worse; e¤orts to motivate turnout may actually reduce welfare.
    Date: 2008–07
  6. By: Tasos Kalandrakis (W. Allen Wallis Institute of Political Economy, 107 Harkness Hall, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627-0158)
    Abstract: We study a dynamic game of incomplete information in which two political parties contest elections with endogenously formed reputations regarding the preferences that prevail within each party. Party preferences exhibit serial correlation and change with higher probability following defeat in elections. We show that when partisans care sufficiently about office, extreme policies are pursued with positive probability by the government if the ruling party is perceived relatively more extreme than the opposition. In equilibrium such policies occur when (a) both parties are perceived to be more extreme than a fixed benchmark level, and (b) elections are close in that both parties have similar reputations. Two qualitatively different equilibrium dynamics are possible depending on the relative speed with which preferences of parties in government or in the opposition change: One produces regular government turnover and extreme policies along the path of play, another involves a strong incumbency advantage and policy moderation.
    Date: 2008–07
  7. By: John Duggan (W. Allen Wallis Institute of Political Economy, 107 Harkness Hall, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627-0158); Dan Bernhardt (Department of Economics and Department of Finance,Department of Economics, University of Illinois, 1206 S. Sixth Street, Champaign, IL 61820, US); Francesco Squintani (Department of Economics, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ, United Kingdom)
    Abstract: Electoral platform convergence is perceived unfavorably by both the popular press and many academic scholars. This paper provides a formal account of these perceived negative effects. We show that when parties do not know voters’ preferences perfectly, voters prefer some platform divergence to the convergent policy outcome of competition between opportunistic, office-motivated, parties. We characterize when voters prefer responsible parties (which weight policy positively in their utility function) to oppor- tunistic ones. Voters prefer responsible parties when office benefits and concentration of moderate voters are high enough relative to the ideological polarization between parties. In particular, with optimally-chosen office benefits, responsible parties improve welfare.
    Date: 2008–07
  8. By: John Duggan (W. Allen Wallis Institute of Political Economy, 107 Harkness Hall, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627-0158); Tasos Kalandrakis (W. Allen Wallis Institute of Political Economy, 107 Harkness Hall, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627-0158); Vikram Manjunath (Department of Economics, University of Rochester)
    Abstract: We specify and compute equilibria of a dynamic policy-making game between a president and a legislature under insitutional rules that emulate those of the US Constitution. Policies are assumed to lie in a two-dimensional space in which one issue dimension captures systemic differences in partisan preferences, while the other summarizes non-partisan attributes of policy. In any period, the policy choices of politicians are influenced by the position of the status quo policy in this space, with the current policy outcome determining the location of the status quo in the next period. Partisan control of the legislature and presidency changes probabilistically over time. We find that politicians strategically compromise their ideal policy in equilibrium, and that the degree of compromise increases when the opposition party is more likely to take control of the legislature in the next period, while politicians become relatively more extreme when the opposition party is more likely to control the presidency. We measure gridlock by (the inverse of ) the expected distance of enacted policies from the status quo in the long run, and we show that both gridlock and the long run welfare of a representative voter are maximized when government is divided without a super majority in the legislature. Under unified government, we find that the endogeneity of the status quo leads to a non-monotonic effect of the size of the legislative ma jority on gridlock; surprisingly, under unified government, gridlock is higher when the party in control of the legislature has a superma jority than when it has a bare ma jority. Furthermore, a relatively larger component of policy change occurs in the non-partisan policy dimension when a superma jority controls the legislature. We conduct constitutional experiments, and we find that voter welfare is minimized when the veto override provision is abolished and maximized when the presidential veto is abolished.
    Date: 2008–04
  9. By: Migheli, Matteo; Ortona, Guido; Ponzano, Ferruccio
    Abstract: What do indices of disproportionality actually measure? They provide an aggregate estimation of the difference between votes cast and seats assignment, but the relation between the value of the indices and the will of the voters is highly questionable. The reason is that when casting the vote the voter is deeply affected by the electoral system itself, possibly more deeply than s/he understands. The aim of this paper is to assess the performance of the most used indices of disproportionality with respect to the will of voters. To do so we compare by simulation their performance in some major electoral systems and with reference to some stylised typical cases. We use as a benchmark a "true" index, i.e. an index that measures the difference between the will of the voters (instead of the votes) and the assignment of seats. In our experiment all the indices considered perform poorly, with the unexpected exception of the Loosemore-Hanby index.
    Keywords: Simulations, Representativity indices, Fitness of indices
    JEL: A12 C15 D72
    Date: 2009–01
  10. By: Abele, Susanne (Miami University, Department of Psychology); Vaughan-Parsons, Sandra I. (Howard Community College, Columbia); Stasser, Garold (Miami University, Department of Psychology)
    Abstract: If decision-relevant information is distributed among team members, the group is inclined to focus on shared information and to neglect unshared information, resulting often in suboptimal decisions. This classical finding is robust in experimental settings, in which the distribution of information is created artificially by an experimenter. The current paper looks at information sharing effects when access to information is not restricted, and decision makers are very familiar with the decision task. We analyzed archival search and discussion data obtained from business executives completing a personnel selection exercise. Information popularity in the population from which groups were composed predicted number of group members accessing items during information searches and whether the group discussed the items. The number of group members who accessed an item predicted whether information was repeated during discussion, and repetition predicted which items were included on an executive summary. Moreover, cognitively central group members were more influential than cognitively peripheral members. One implication is that collective decision making amplifies what is commonly known at the expense of disseminating what is not.
    Keywords: Information Sharing, Cognitive Centrality, Group Decision Making, Collective Choice, Archival Data
    JEL: D23 D83 M51 L84
    Date: 2008–12–30
  11. By: Eric Weese
    Abstract: Political coalition formation games can describe the formation and dissolution of nations, as well as the creation of coalition governments, the establishment of political parties, and other similar phenomena. These games have been studied from a theoretical perspective, but the models have not been used extensively in empirical work.This paper presents a method of estimating political coalition formation models with many-player coalitions, and then applies this method to the recent heisei municipal amalgamations in Japan to estimate structural coefficients that describe the behaviour of municipalities. The method enables counterfactual analysis, which in the Japanese case shows that the national government could increase welfare via a counter-intuitive policy involving transfers to richer municipalities conditional on their participation in a merger.
    Keywords: Coalition Formation, Municipal Mergers, Japan
    JEL: C71 H77
    Date: 2008–12
  12. By: Lucy F. Ackert; Ann B. Gillette; Jorge Martinez-Vazquez; Mark Rider
    Abstract: We use an experimental method to investigate whether systematic relationships exist across distinct aspects of individual preferences: risk aversion in monetary outcomes, altruism in a twoperson context, and social preferences in a larger group context. Individual preferences across these three contexts are measured, and there is no possibility for risk sharing, wealth effects, or updating expectations of the population choices. We find that social preferences are related to demographic variables, including years of education, gender, and age. Perhaps most importantly, self allocation in a two-person dictator game is related to social preferences in a group context. Participants who are more generous in a dictator game are more likely to vote against their selfinterest in a group decision-making task which we interpret to be expressions of social preferences.
    JEL: C91 C92 D63 H21
    Date: 2009–01
  13. By: Vanessa Mertins (Institute for Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the EC, University of Trier)
    Abstract: By reporting data from a laboratory experiment, we provide clear evidence that people value procedures apart from their effects on consequences. We implement a game with one proposer who has distributive power over a pie and four responders who can invest in resistance against the proposer's demand. The proposer is appointed by the use of one of two feasible appointment procedures. We elicit participants' preferences and fairness evaluations over both procedures and study whether responders' resistance against various demands are affected by their procedural judgments. Although the fair process effect, describing the finding that people are more likely to accept outcomes when they feel that they are made via fair procedures, is said to be exceedingly robust, we do not find support for any significant behavioral dfferences according to people's fairness evaluations. In contrast, we show that procedural satisfaction matters. Surprisingly, responders whose procedural preferences are satiffed offer significantly more resistance than those whose procedural preferences are violated.
    Keywords: experiment, fair process effect, frustration effect, procedural fairness, procedural preferences, resistance, threshold public good
    JEL: C72 C91 J52 D23
    Date: 2008–12

This nep-cdm issue is ©2009 by Roland Kirstein. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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