New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2009‒07‒03
eight papers chosen by

  1. Economic voting and electoral volatility in Turkish provinces By Hazama, Yasushi
  2. Voting Motives, Group Identity, and Social Norms By Carlsson, Fredrik; Johansson-Stenman, Olof
  3. Faces of politicians: Babyfacedness predicts inferred competence but not electoral success By Poutvaara, Panu; Jordahl, Henrik; Berggren, Niclas
  4. Are democratic governments more efficient? By Adam, Antonis; Delis, Manthos D; Kammas, Pantelis
  5. Constitutional Rules and Agricultural Policy Outcomes By Olper, Alessandro; Raimondi, Valentina
  6. Measuring Power And Satisfaction in Societies with Opinion Leaders: Dictator and Opinion Leader Properties By René van den Brink; Agnieszka Rusinowska; Frank Steffen
  7. Pay for Politicians and Candidate Selection: An Empirical Analysis By Kotakorpi, Kaisa; Poutvaara, Panu
  8. Contest Success Functions: Theory and Evidence By Sung Ha Hwang

  1. By: Hazama, Yasushi
    Abstract: Two groups of questions were addressed in this paper: (1) Is voter punishment of the incumbent the primary factor in electoral volatility? Are there any other types of vote swings that underlie volatility? (2) In general, does a decline in economic growth destabilize voter behavior? If so, what kinds of vote swings does an economic downturn tend to generate? Provincial-level panel data analysis yielded the following results: (1) Changes in volatility is primarily due to vote swings from the incumbent to the opposition and also to and from left-wing and right-wing parties. (2) Lower economic growth increases electoral volatility. Economic decline induces vote swings not only from the government to the opposition but also from left-wing to right-wing parties. This is probably because right-wing parties seem more concerned with economic issues and are thus more popular than left-wing parties with lower-income voters.
    Keywords: Electoral volatility, Economic voting, Panel analysis, Elections, Turkey
    Date: 2009–05
  2. By: Carlsson, Fredrik (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Johansson-Stenman, Olof (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: The conventional rational voter model has problems explaining why people vote, since the costs typically exceed the expected benefits. This paper presents Swedish survey evidence suggesting that people vote based on a combination of instrumental and expressive motives, and that people are strongly influenced by a social norm saying that it is an obligation to vote. Women and older individuals are more affected by this norm than others. The more rightwing a person is, the less unethical he/she will perceive selfish voting to be. Moreover, individuals believe that they themselves vote less selfishly than others and that people with similar political views as themselves vote less selfishly than people with the opposite political views, which is consistent with social identity theory.<p>
    Keywords: social norms; self-interested voting; expressive voting; sociotropic voting; selfserving bias; group identity; in-group bias; social identity theory
    JEL: D70 D72
    Date: 2009–06–17
  3. By: Poutvaara, Panu (Department of Economics, University of Helsinki); Jordahl, Henrik (The Research Institute of Industrial Economics); Berggren, Niclas (The Ratio Institute)
    Abstract: Recent research has documented that competent-looking political candidates do better in U.S. elections and that babyfaced individuals are generally perceived to be less competent than maturefaced individuals. Taken together, this suggests that babyfaced political candidates are perceived as less competent and therefore fare worse in elections. We test this hypothesis, making use of photograph-based judgments by 2,772 respondents of the facial appearance of 1,785 Finnish political candidates. Our results confirm that babyfacedness is negatively related to inferred competence in politics. Despite this, babyfacedness is either unrelated or positively related to electoral success, depending on the sample of candidates.
    Keywords: Babyfacedness; Competence; Beauty; Trustworthiness; Elections
    JEL: D72 J45 J70
    Date: 2009–06–18
  4. By: Adam, Antonis; Delis, Manthos D; Kammas, Pantelis
    Abstract: This paper explores the relationship between public sector efficiency (PSE) and the level of democracy, both theoretically and empirically. At the theoretical level a simple model of elections with two time periods is presented, which takes into account whether the political regime is democratic or not. Specifically, we assume that elected officials in democracies are “more” accountable to voters than the respective ones in autocracies. This mechanism induces the democratic politicians to produce the public good in a more efficient way, in order to remain in power. In the empirical section we examine the effect of democracy on PSE for a panel dataset of 50 developing and developed countries over the period 1980-2000. Our results suggest that the relationship between PSE and democracy is positive and statistically significant, thus confirming our theoretical priors.
    Keywords: H11; D7
    JEL: D7 H7
    Date: 2009–03–08
  5. By: Olper, Alessandro; Raimondi, Valentina
    Abstract: This paper deals with the effect of constitutional rules on agricultural policy outcomes in a panel of observations for more than 70 developing and developed countries in the 1955-2005 period. Testable hypotheses are drawn from recent developments in the comparative politics literature that see political institutions as key elements in shaping public policies. Using differences-in-differences regressions we find a positive effect of a transition into democracy on agricultural protection. However, this average effect masks substantial heterogeneities across different forms of democracy. Indeed, what matters are transitions to proportional (as opposed to majoritarian) democracies, as well as to permanent (as opposed to temporary) democracies. Moreover, while we do not detect significant differences across alternative forms of government (presidential versus parliamentary systems), there is some evidence that the effect of proportional election is exacerbated under parliamentary regimes, and diminished under presidential ones.
    Keywords: Distorted incentives, agricultural and trade policy reforms, national agricultural development, Comparative Political Economics, Agricultural Distortions, Constitutional Rules, Agricultural and Food Policy, International Relations/Trade, F13, F14, Q17, Q18, D72, H23, O13, P16,
    Date: 2009–05
  6. By: René van den Brink (VU University Amsterdam); Agnieszka Rusinowska (Université Lumière Lyon); Frank Steffen (The University of Liverpool - Management School (ULMS))
    Abstract: A well known and established model in communication policy in sociology and marketing is that of opinion leadership. Opinion leaders are actors in a society who are able to affect the behavior of other members 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 different alternatives. For marketing or policy purposes it is interesting to investigate the effect of different opinion leader-follower structures in markets or 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 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 from the individual choices. Using bipartite digraphs we introduce satisfaction and power scores which allow us to analyze the actors' satisfaction and power with respect to the collective choice for societies with different opinion leader-follower structures. Moreover, we study common dictator and opinion leader properties of the above scores and illustrate our findings for a society with five members.
    Keywords: Bipartite digraph; influence; inclination; collective choice; opinion leader; follower; satisfaction; power; dictator properties; opinion leader properties
    JEL: C7 D7
    Date: 2009–06–11
  7. By: Kotakorpi, Kaisa (University of Tampere); Poutvaara, Panu (University of Helsinki)
    Abstract: In this paper, we estimate the effect of pay for politicians on who wants to be a politician. We take advantage of a considerable 35 percent salary increase of Finnish MPs in the year 2000, intended to make the pay for parliamentarians more competitive. A difference-indifferences analysis, using candidates in municipal elections as a control group, suggests that the higher salary had the intended effect among women, whether measured by education or occupational qualifications. We also examine cross-party differences.
    Keywords: pay for politicians, candidate selection, gender differences in politics
    JEL: D72 J3 J45
    Date: 2009–06
  8. By: Sung Ha Hwang (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
    Abstract: Contest success functions, which show how probabilities of win- ning depend on resources devoted to a conflict, have been widely used in the literature addressing appropriative activities (economics), international and civil wars (political science), and group con?ict and selection (evolutionary biology). Two well-known forms of contest success functions predict contest outcomes from the difference between the resources of each side and from the ratio of resources. The analytical properties of a given conflict model, such as the existence of equilibrium, can be drastically changed simply by altering the form of the contest success function. Despite this problem, there is no consensus about which form is analytically better or empirically more plausi- ble. In this paper we propose an integrated form of contest success functions, which has the ratio form and the difference form as limiting cases, and study the analytical properties of this function. We also estimate different contest success functions to see which form is more empirically probable, using data from battles fought in seventeenth-century Europe and during World War II. JEL Categories: C70, D72, D74
    Keywords: Conflicts; Contest Success Functions
    Date: 2009–06

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