New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2009‒03‒28
five papers chosen by

  1. Committee decisions: Optimality and Equilibrium By Jean-François Laslier; Jörgen Weibull
  2. Sincere, strategic, and heuristic voting under four election rules: An experimental study By André Blais; Jean-François Laslier; Nicolas Sauger; Karine Van Der Straeten
  3. Social Preferences under Risk - An Experimental Analysis By Christiane Bradler
  4. Voters Hold the Key: Lock-in, Mobility and the Portability of Property Tax Exemptions By Ron Cheung; Chris Cunningham
  5. Do Small States Get More Federal Monies? Myth and Reality About the US Senate Malapportionment By Cecilia Testa

  1. By: Jean-François Laslier (Department of Economics, Ecole Polytechnique - CNRS : UMR7176 - Polytechnique - X); Jörgen Weibull (Department of Economics, Ecole Polytechnique - CNRS : UMR7176 - Polytechnique - X, SSE - Department of Economics - Stockholm School of Economics)
    Abstract: We consider a group or committee that faces a binary decision under uncertainty. Each member holds some private information. Members agree which decision should be taken in each state of nature, had this been known, but they may attach different values to the two types of mistake that may occur. Most voting rules have a plethora of uninformative equilibria, and informative voting may be incompatible with equilibrium. We analyze an anonymous randomized majority rule that has a unique equilibrium. This equilibrium is strict, votes are informative, and the equilibrium implements the optimal decision with probability one in the limit as the committee size goes to infinity. We show that this also holds for the usual majority rule under certain perturbations of the behavioral assumptions: (i) a slight preference for voting according to one's conviction, and (ii) transparency and a slight preference for esteem. We also show that a slight probability for voting mistakes strengthens the incentive for informative voting.
    Keywords: Voting, Condorcet, committee, judgement aggregation.
    Date: 2008–09
  2. By: André Blais (Université de Montréal -); Jean-François Laslier (Department of Economics, Ecole Polytechnique - CNRS : UMR7176 - Polytechnique - X); Nicolas Sauger (CEVIPOF - Centre de Recherches Politiques de Sciences Po - CNRS : UMR7048 - Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris); Karine Van Der Straeten (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris)
    Abstract: Nous rendons compte d'une série d'expériences de laboratoire à propos des comportements de vote. Dans une situation où les sujets ont des préférences unimodales nous observons que le vote à un tour et le vote à deux tours génèrent des effets significatifs de dépendance du chemin, alors que le vote par approbation élit toujours le vainqueur de Condorcet et que le vote unique transférable (système de Hare) ne l'élit jamais. A partir de l'analyse des données individuelles nous concluons que les électeurs se comportent de manière stratégique tant que les calculs stratégiques ne sont pas trop complexes, auquel cas ils se repose sur des heuristiques simples.
    Keywords: Elections, comportement de vote.
    Date: 2008–09
  3. By: Christiane Bradler (Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena)
    Abstract: The literature on social preferences provides overwhelming evidence of departures from pure self-interest of individuals. Experiments show that people care about others' well-being and their relative standing. This paper investigates whether this type of behavior persists when risk comes into play. I devise an experiment which sheds light on the interrelation of risk and social preferences by measuring (1) individual risk preferences, (2) interpersonal risk preferences, and (3) social preferences under certainty. The results reveal that a large share of subjects choose to accept more risk or less potential gain than individually preferred in order to increase another subject’s payoff. Further, the willingness to do so appears to be influenced by the "need" of the other person and her potential relative standing. Surprisingly, the results do not suggest that a subject’s social behavior under risk is related to his exhibited social concerns exhibited under certainty.
    Keywords: social preferences, risk, other-regarding behavior, inequality aversion
    JEL: D81 D63 C91
    Date: 2009–03–23
  4. By: Ron Cheung (Department of Economics, Florida State University); Chris Cunningham (Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta)
    Abstract: We examine support for a recent and novel Florida referendum to allow home owners with existing assessment caps to “port” their exemption to a new residence. Employing a rich dataset of all Florida real property, census-block data and precinct level voting results, we find that support for the law change was greater in high-mobility and high exemption precincts. Support was also greater in cities with more out-of-state migration or containing more second homes. Within cities, a precinct’s mobility relative to the rest of the city was more predictive suggesting that voters were savvy to the tax-share implications of the amendment.
    Keywords: tax limitations, property tax, assessment cap, referendum, voting, lock-in, mobility
    JEL: R5 H7 H5
    Date: 2009–03
  5. By: Cecilia Testa (Department of Economics, Royal Holloway, University of London)
    Abstract: We analyze the relationship between senate malapportionment and the allocation of the US federal budget to the states during the period 1978-2002. A substantial literature originating from the influential paper by Atlas et al. (1995) finds that small and overrepresented states get significantly larger shares of federal funds. We show that these studies suffer from fundamental identification problems and grossly overestimate the impact of malapportionment. Most of the estimated impact is not a scale but a change effect. Rather than evidence of "small state advantage", we find that states with fast growing population are penalized in the allocation of the federal budget independently of whether they are large or small.
    Keywords: federal budget, malapportionment, small state advantage, overrepresentation
    JEL: D72 H61 H77
    Date: 2009–03

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