New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2009‒01‒31
seven papers chosen by

  1. Electoral Competition in 2-Dimensional Ideology Space with Unidimensional Commitment By Jaideep Roy; M Dziubinski
  2. The influence of decision-making rules on individual preference for ecological restoration: Evidence from an experimental survey By Nobuyuki Ito; Kenji Takeuchi; Koichi Kuriyama; Yasushi Shoji; Takahiro Tsuge; Yohei Mitani
  3. Political Institutions, State Capabilities and Public Policy - International Evidence By Carlos Scartascini; Ernesto Stein; Mariano Tommasi
  4. We the People and the Others: The Co-founding of Democratic States By Hans Agné
  5. Measuring Power and Satisfaction in Societies with Opinion Leaders: Properties of the Qualified Majority Case By René van der Brink; Agnieszka Rusinowska; Frank Steffen
  6. The core of games on distributive lattices : how to share benefits in a hierarchy. By Michel Grabisch; Lijue Xie
  7. Universal Social Orderings By Marc Fleurbaey; Koichi Tadenuma

  1. By: Jaideep Roy; M Dziubinski
    Abstract: We study a model of political competition between two candidates with two orthogonal issues, where candidates are office motivated and committed to a particular position in one of the dimensions, while having the freedom to select (credibly) any position on the other dimension. We analyse two settings: a homogeneous one, where both candidates are committed to the same dimension and a heterogeneous one, where each candidate is committed to a different dimension. We characterise and give necessary and suffcient conditions for existence of convergent and divergent Nash equilibria for distributions with a non-empty and an empty core. We identify a special point in the ideology space which we call a strict median, existence of which is strictly related to existence of divergent Nash equilibria. A central conclusion of our analysis is that for divergent equilibria, strong extremism (or differentiation) seems to be an important equilibrium feature.
    Keywords: Spatial Voting, Two Issues, Uni-Dimensional Commitment, Strict Median, Extremism
    Date: 2009
  2. By: Nobuyuki Ito (Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University); Kenji Takeuchi (Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University); Koichi Kuriyama (School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University); Yasushi Shoji (Graduate School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University); Takahiro Tsuge (Faculty of Economics, Konan University); Yohei Mitani (School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University)
    Abstract: We conduct an experimental survey to analyze how rules for collective decision-making influence individual preferences concerning nature restoration projects. Our study compares two decision-making rules - a consensus rule and a majority rule - wherein participants decide on a plan concerning nature restoration in the Kushiro Wetland, Japan. Our main finding is that the difference between the individual preferences and collective decision-making is less significant under the consensus rule than the majority rule. Furthermore, there is a larger disparity with regard to the marginal willingness to pay between collective and individual decisions when participants are unsatisfied with the results of collective choice.
    Date: 2008–10
  3. By: Carlos Scartascini; Ernesto Stein; Mariano Tommasi
    Abstract: This paper introduces preliminary evidence from a cross-country database of policy characteristics and potential uses of that database. While most databases have emphasized either the content of policies (e.g., size of government deficits) or countries’ formal institutions (e.g., political regime, electoral system), the variables in this database reflect the policymaking capabilities of different polities. The paper attempts to explain these policy characteristics as depending on the workings of political institutions, using a logic emphasizing intertemporal political compromise. The paper also contrasts this logic with alternatives such as the veto players approach. The paper concludes by suggesting the use of these policy characteristics or state capabilities as explanatory variables for the effectiveness of public spending in various social areas.
    Keywords: Political institutions, Public policies, Government capabilities, Veto players, Intertemporal cooperation, Development, Human Development Index, Public expenditures, Policy index, Adaptability, Stability, Judicial independence, Party institutionalization, Congress capabilities, Cabinet stability
    JEL: D72 D78 H10 H50 O10
    Date: 2008–12
  4. By: Hans Agné
    Abstract: In democratic theory it goes without saying that people should establish their own political orders.1 Perhaps the most famous expression of this moral intuition is found in the preamble of the American constitution. By the opening phrase ‘we the people … establish this constitution’ the founders sent a message to revolutionary movements throughout the world that people may establish not only the rights and obligations that will regulate their public life, i.e. their own constitutions, but also the organisations which will exercise supreme power over the territories in which they live, i.e. their own states. However, the making of new states, or new constitutions in existing states, sometimes involves people with no intention of subjecting themselves to the political orders that they seek to establish. The US-led imposition of new regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq is one example and the UN administration of postconflict societies in Kosovo and East Timor is another (Zaum 2007). Could such policies be reconciled with the idea that people should establish their own political orders?
    Keywords: economics; democracy; law; diversity/homogeneity
    Date: 2008–12–01
  5. By: René van der Brink (Department of Econometrics and Tinbergen Institute, Free University, The Netherlands); Agnieszka Rusinowska (University of Lyon, Lyon, F-69003, France; CNRS, UMR 5824, GATE, Ecully, F-69130, France; ENS LSH, Lyon, F-69007, France ; Centre Leon Berard, Lyon, F-69003, France; Department of Econometrics and Tinbergen Institute, Free University, The Netherlands); Frank Steffen (The University of Liverpool Management School (ULMS))
    Abstract: A well known and established model in communication policy in sociology and mar- keting is that of opinion leadership. It is based on the idea of a two-step flow of communication. Opinion leaders are actors in a society who are able to affect the behavior of other members of the society called followers. Hence, opinion leaders might have a considerable impact on the behavior of markets and other social agglomerations being made up of individual actors choosing among a number of alternatives. For marketing purposes it appears to be interesting to investigate the effect of different opinion leader-follower structures in markets or any other collective decision-making situations in a society. We study a two-action model in which the members of a society are to choose one action, for instance, to buy or not to buy a certain joint product, or to vote yes or no on a specific proposal. Each of the actors has an inclination to choose one of the actions. By definition opinion leaders have some power over other actors, their followers, and they exercise this power by influencing the behavior of their followers, i.e. their choice of action. After all actors have chosen their actions, a decision- making mechanism determines the collective choice resulting out of the individual choices. The structure of the relations between the actors can be represented by a bipartite digraph. We analyze such digraphs investigating satisfaction and power distributions within societies with and without the opinion leaders. Moreover, we study common properties of the satisfaction and power measures and illustrate our findings and some marketing implications for a society with five members.
    Keywords: Bipartite digraph, influence, inclination, collective choice, opinion leader, follower, satisfaction, power
    JEL: C7 D7
    Date: 2008
  6. By: Michel Grabisch (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne); Lijue Xie (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne)
    Abstract: Finding a solution concept is one of the central problems in cooperative game theory, and the notion of core is the most popular solution concept since it is based on some rationality condition. In many real situations, not all possible coalitions can form, so that classical TU-games cannot be used. An interesting case is when possible coalitions are defined through a partial ordering of the players (or hierarchy). Then feasible coalitions correspond to teams of players, that is, one or several players with all their subordinates. In these situations, it is not obvious to define a suitable notion of core, reflecting the team structure, and previous attempts are not satisfactory in this respect. We propose a new notion of core, which imposes efficiency of the allocation at each level of the hierarchy, and answers the problem of sharing benefits in a hierarchy. We show that the core we defined has properties very close to the classical case, with respect to marginal vectors, the Weber set, and balancedness.
    Keywords: Cooperative game, feasible coalition, core, hierarchy.
    JEL: C71
    Date: 2008–10
  7. By: Marc Fleurbaey; Koichi Tadenuma
    Abstract: We propose the concept of a universal social ordering, defined on the set of pairs of an allocation and a preference profile of any finite population. It is meant to unify evaluations and comparisons of social states with populations of possibly different sizes with various characteristics. The universal social ordering not only evaluates policy options for a given population but also compares social welfare across populations, as in international or intertemporal comparisons of living standards. It also makes it possible to evaluate policy options which affect the size of the population or the preferences of its members. We study how to extend the theory of social choice in order to select such orderings on a rigorous axiomatic basis. Key ingredients in this analysis are attitudes with respect to population size and the bases of interpersonal comparisons.
    Keywords: social choice, universal social orderings, maximin principle, interpersonal comparisons
    JEL: D63 D71
    Date: 2009–01

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