New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2009‒05‒16
four papers chosen by

  1. Increasing Voter Turnout: Is Democracy Day the Answer? By Henry S. Farber
  2. Democracy and Agricultural Protection: Parametric and Semi-parametric Matching Estimates By Olper, Alessandro; Falkowski, Jan; Swinnen, Jo
  3. Carbon Geography: The Political Economy of Congressional Support for Legislation Intended to Mitigate Greenhouse Gas Production By Michael I. Cragg; Matthew E. Kahn
  4. Implementation in Mixed Nash Equilibrium By Claudio Mezzetti; Ludovic Renou

  1. By: Henry S. Farber (Princeton University)
    Abstract: It has often been argued that voter turnout in the United States is too low, particularly compared with turnout in other industrialized democracies, and that a healthy democracy should have higher turnout. One proposal that has been considered by Congress to increase voter turnout is the creation of “Democracy Day,” making Election Day a national holiday. In this study I evaluate the likely effectiveness of an election holiday in increasing turnout by studying how state regulations making Election Day a holiday for state employees affects voter turnout among state employees in those states. I exploit these “natural experiments” in a difference-in-difference context, using various groups of non-state employees as controls. My analysis relies on data from Voting Supplements to the Current Population Survey in November 2004 and 2006. The results are clear. There is no evidence from the “natural experiment” of states providing an election holiday for state employees that such holidays significantly increase voter turnout. I conclude that having an election holiday, by itself, is not an effective strategy to increase voter turnout.
    Date: 2009–02
  2. By: Olper, Alessandro; Falkowski, Jan; Swinnen, Jo
    Abstract: We estimate the effect of democratic transitions on agricultural protection in a sample of 74 developing and developed countries, observed in the 1955-2005 period. We employ both differences-in-differences regressions and semi-parametric matching methods, exploiting the time series and cross-sectional variation in the data. Our semi-parametric matching estimates show that parametric methods might underestimate the true effect of democracy on agricultural protection. We find a strong increase in agricultural protection (reduce in taxation) after a country transition to democracy. Specifically a democratic transition increases agricultural protection by about 9 percent points. However, the effect is asymmetric as the effect of leaving democracy on protection is close to zero. The evidence supports the redistributive nature of democratic institutions toward the majority and, therefore, it is not inconsistent with the median voter model of political behaviour.
    Keywords: Democratic Reforms, Agricultural Distortions, Comparative Political Economics, Agricultural and Food Policy, Political Economy, D72, F13, O13, P16, Q18,
    Date: 2009–04–30
  3. By: Michael I. Cragg; Matthew E. Kahn
    Abstract: Stringent regulation for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions will impose different costs across geographical regions. Low-carbon, environmentalist states, such as California, would bear less of the incidence of such regulation than high-carbon Midwestern states. Such anticipated costs are likely to influence Congressional voting patterns. This paper uses several geographical data sets to document that conservative, poor areas have higher per-capita carbon emissions than liberal, richer areas. Representatives from such areas are shown to have much lower probabilities of voting in favor of anti-carbon legislation. In the 111th Congress, the Energy and Commerce Committee consists of members who represent high carbon districts. These geographical facts suggest that the Obama Administration and the Waxman Committee will face distributional challenges in building a majority voting coalition in favor of internalizing the carbon externality.
    JEL: Q4 Q54 R1
    Date: 2009–05
  4. By: Claudio Mezzetti (Department of Economics, Warwick University,); Ludovic Renou (Department of Economics, University of Leicester,)
    Abstract: A mechanism implements a social choice correspondence f in mixed Nash equilibrium if at any preference profile, the set of all pure and mixed Nash equilibrium outcomes coincides with the set of f-optimal alternatives at that preference profile. This definition generalizes Maskin’s definition of Nash implementation in that it does not require each optimal alternative to be the outcome of a pure Nash equilibrium. We show that the condition of weak set-monotonicity, a weakening of Maskin’s monotonicity, is necessary for implementation. We provide sufficient conditions for implementation and show that important social choice correspondences that are not Maskin monotonic can be implemented in mixed Nash equilibrium.
    Keywords: implementation ; Maskin monotonicity ; pure and mixed Nash equilibrium ; weak set-monotonicity ; social choice correspondence
    JEL: C72 D71
    Date: 2009

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