New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2009‒08‒08
six papers chosen by

  1. Altruism, Turnout and Strategic Voting Behavior By Ozgur Evren
  2. Ethnicity and Elections under Authoritarianism: The Case of Kazakhstan By Oka, Natsuko
  3. Constitutional Review and Democratic Consolidation: A Literature Review By Hazama, Yasushi
  4. Explicating social action: arguing or bargaining By Erik Oddvar Eriksen
  5. Inferring Social Preferences over Income Distributions through Axioms By John Hey; Carmen Pasca;

  1. By: Ozgur Evren
    Date: 2009–07–28
  2. By: Oka, Natsuko
    Abstract: Despite the ethnicisation of power since independence in 1991, Kazakhstan has managed to maintain political stability without experiencing large-scale mobilisation to oppose Kazakh domination. This paper examines government strategy to avoid ethnic voting in an attempt to explain why ethnic divisions were rarely reflected in the struggle for power in the republic. While the arbitrary use of legal provisions considerably limited participation in elections by ethnic leaders, powerful pro-president parties that exhibited a cross-ethnic character were created to curtail ethnically based movements. The control strategy in elections aimed not simply at ethnicising the parliament in favour of Kazakhs, but at having loyal Russians and other minorities represented in the legislature through nomination by the president and catch-all pro-regime parties, or through the presidential consultative body—Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan. This well-controlled representation of minorities served not only to placate non-Kazakhs but also to provide legitimacy for the Kazakh-dominated leadership by projecting the image of cross-ethnic support for the president and some degree of power-sharing.
    Keywords: Ethnic minority, Election, Kazakhstan, Minority Ethnic group, Politics
    Date: 2009–03
  3. By: Hazama, Yasushi
    Abstract: This paper reviews the literature on the prevalence of constitutional review across the world, and particularly in emerging democracies, during the last two decades. Two major questions should be addressed in this regard. First, why has the judiciary been empowered and what factors affect judicial activism? Second, does constitutional review ensure an effective self-enforcing function? In sum, the literature shows that constitutional review can make democracy self-enforcing if there is sufficient competition among political parties or between the legislature and the executive branch of government. In a more sophisticated case, political balance within the court can also ensure the observance of court decisions.
    Keywords: Judiciary, Constitutional review, Democracy, Politics
    Date: 2009
  4. By: Erik Oddvar Eriksen
    Abstract: Jon Elster has a clear view of the role of norms and impartiality in collective decision making processes, but does not ascribe to them the power to explain action. Hence, the paradox: If it is only public reasons that can justify outcomes, how can private desires be the causes of the same outcomes? Reasons and norms must be given explanatory force, but this requires methodological individualism expanded to methodological interactionism. Here promises appear not merely as bargaining chips, arguing more than an aggregation device and normative questions not as irrational. Because both arguing and strategic communication exist, and it is as hard to identify the former as the latter, one should not let one take precedence over the other on theoretical grounds. The problem is not theoretical, but methodological.
    Keywords: collective bargaining; common interest; deliberative democracy; discourse; functionalism; institutionalism; legitimacy; methodological issues; normative political theory
    Date: 2009–08–15
  5. By: John Hey; Carmen Pasca;
    Abstract: Numerous prior experimental studies have attempted to elicit people’s preferences over income distributions through appropriately incentivated questions asking subjects to choose between distributions. Instead, we follow the theoretical literature and start with the principles underlying these preferences. Such principles include, for example, the Rawlsian principle and the Lorenz principle. We implement possibly the first incentivated experiment concentrating solely and directly on these underlying principles. In essence, the experiment asks subjects to state their preferred principles, with the appropriate incentive being provided by the experimenter using the stated axioms to choose a preferred distribution from a randomly generated set, and this preferred distribution then being implemented on the participants in the experiment. Thus one of the subjects becomes the Social Planner. (We have two treatments, one in which the Social Planner is part of society and the second in which the Social Planner is outside society.) We solve problems implied when the chosen set of principle is either mutually contradictory or incomplete (by allowing sequential choice). We observe that the implied social preferences are different from those inferred indirectly through choice over distributions as in the earlier experimental studies, and that elicited preferences are different between the two treatments, suggesting that the disinterested Social Planner is more Equality-preferring than the Social Planner with self-interest.
    Keywords: principles, social preferences, axioms, experimental methods, social planner, direct versus indirect inferences.
    JEL: I3 D6
  6. By: Paresh Narayan; Seema Narayan; Russell Smyth
    Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between democracy and economic growth in 30 Sub-Saharan African countries. As our proxy for democracy we first use the democracy index constructed by Freedom House and then check the sensitivity of our findings using, as an alternative proxy for democracy, the Legislative Index of Electoral Competitiveness (LIEC). We find support for the Lipset hypothesis - in the long run, real GDP Granger causes democracy and an increase in GDP results in an improvement in democracy – in Botswana and Niger with both datasets, for Chad with the Freedom House data only and for Cote d’Ivoire and Gabon with the LIEC data only. Support for the compatibility hypothesis - in the long run democracy Granger causes real income and an increase in democracy has a positive effect on real income - is found for Botswana with the Freedom House data and for Madagascar, Rwanda, South Africa and Swaziland with the LIEC data. Support for the conflict hypothesis - in the long run democracy Granger causes real income and an increase in democracy has a negative effect on real income - is found for Gabon with the Freedom House data and Sierra Leone with the LIEC data.
    Keywords: Causality, Democracy, Economic Growth, Sub-Saharan Africa.
    JEL: O1 O4
    Date: 2009–08

General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.