New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2009‒09‒26
eleven papers chosen by

  1. The effect of information on voting behavior By Nordin, Mattias
  2. Comment on: Electoral Contests, Incumbency Advantages, and Campaign Finance By Ivan Pastine; Tuvana Pastine
  3. Strategic, Sincere and Heuristic Voting under Four Election Rules: An Experimental Study By BLAIS, Andre; LASLIER, Jean-François; SAUGER, Nicolas; VAN DER STRAETEN, Karine
  4. Party Affiliation, Partisanship, and Political Beliefs: A Field Experiment By Alan S. Gerber; Gregory A. Huber; Ebonya Washington
  5. On Finiteness of Von Neumann and Morgenstern's stable sets in spatial voting games By Francesco Ciardiello
  6. Direkte Demokratie und Menschenrechte By Gebhard Kirchgässner
  7. Do Leaders Affect Government Spending Priorities? By Adi Brender; Allan Drazen
  8. Some Results on Von Neumann and Morgenstern's Stable Set in Multidimentional Majority Rule Games By Francesco Ciardiello; Anindya Bhattacharya; Victoria Brosi
  9. The political economy of balanced-budget rules By Jerome Creel; Etienne Farvaque
  10. Deliberative and Non-deliberative Negotiations By Mansbridge, Jane
  11. Can Groups Solve the Problem of Overbidding in Contests? By Roman M. Sheremeta; Jingjing Zhang

  1. By: Nordin, Mattias (Department of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper investigates how information affect voting behaviour. There exist a large literature suggesting that uninformed voters can use informational shortcuts or cues to vote as if they were informed. This paper tests this hypothesis using unique Swedish individual survey data on the preferences of both politicians and voters. I find that uninformed voters are significantly worse than informed voters at voting for their most preferred politicians. This suggests that uninformed voters can not make up for their lack of information using shortcuts. Furthermore, the errors uninformed voters make do not cancel out in large elections. Estimates suggest that the ruling majorities would have switched in almost 5% of Swedish municipalities had all voters been fully informed. The effects are estimated with both parametric and nonparametric estimation techniques.
    Keywords: Voting behaviour; Citizen candidates; Information; Cues
    JEL: D70 D80 H71
    Date: 2009–09–18
  2. By: Ivan Pastine (University College Dublin); Tuvana Pastine (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
    Abstract: This paper completes Meirowitz (2008) by analyzing the effect of a cap on political campaign spending in an environment where voters have initial preferences over political candidates. The policy implications are starkly different from the previously analyzed case where voters are indifferent between candidates in the absence of campaign spending. We find that a spending cap always favors the a priori popular candidate. This result holds irrespective of whether it is the incumbent or the challenger who is able to more effectively generate and spend contributions.
    Keywords: Campaign Finance Reform, Spending Limit, Expenditure Limit, Incumbency Advantage, Clean Elections
    Date: 2009–08–01
  3. By: BLAIS, Andre; LASLIER, Jean-François; SAUGER, Nicolas; VAN DER STRAETEN, Karine
    Date: 2009–07
  4. By: Alan S. Gerber; Gregory A. Huber; Ebonya Washington
    Abstract: Political partisanship is strongly correlated with attitudes and behavior, but it is unclear from this pattern whether partisan identity has a causal effect on political behavior and attitudes. We report the results of a field experiment designed to investigate the causal effect of party identification. Prior to the February 2008 Connecticut presidential primary, researchers sent a mailing to a random sample of unaffiliated registered voters informing them of the need to register in order to participate in the upcoming primary. Comparing post-treatment survey responses to subjects’ baseline survey responses, we find that those informed of the need to register with a party were more likely to affiliate with a party and subsequently showed stronger partisanship. Further, we find that the treatment group also demonstrated greater concordance than the control group between their pre-treatment latent partisanship and their post-treatment reported voting behavior and intentions and evaluations of partisan figures. Thus our treatment, which caused a strengthening of partisan identity, also caused a shift in subjects’ candidate preferences and evaluations of salient political figures. This finding is consistent with the claim that partisanship is an active force changing how citizens behave in and perceive the political world.
    JEL: D72 H0
    Date: 2009–09
  5. By: Francesco Ciardiello
    Abstract: I present a proof on finiteness of Von Neumann and Morgenstern's majority stable sets in multidimensional voting games in the case of differentiable utility functions on Rk and 3 players. The central hypothesis is based on a light separation property which is real common for family of functions on R^k. Under the same hypotheses, the majority core is empty except for degenerate cases.
    Keywords: Stable sets; Voting game; Convexity.
    Date: 2009–09
  6. By: Gebhard Kirchgässner
    Abstract: There is a basic tension between the principle of democracy and the rule of law. This becomes obvious whenever the Swiss citizens accept an initiative that is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. First, we discuss the traditions behind these two principles before we survey the empirical papers about the relation between direct democracy and minority rights in the US as well as in Switzerland. Then we discuss the literature on the relation between direct democracy and death penalty. There, the conflict becomes rather obvious. Solutions, which will always involve compromises between these two principles, necessitate some role of the Supreme Court, at the cost of some, but only minor limitations of direct popular rights.
    Keywords: Direct Democracy; Human Rights; Constitution; Rule of Law
    JEL: H11 H72 H74
    Date: 2009–09
  7. By: Adi Brender; Allan Drazen
    Abstract: Since a key function of competitive elections is to allow voters to express their policy preferences, one might take it for granted that when leadership changes, policy change follows. Using a dataset we created on the composition of central government expenditures in a panel of 71 democracies over 1972-2003, we test whether changes in leadership induce significant changes in spending composition, as well as looking at the effect of other political and economic variables. We find that the replacement of a leader tends to have no significant effect on expenditure composition in the short-run. This remains true after controlling for a host of political and economic variables. However, over the medium-term leadership changes are associated with larger changes in expenditure composition, mostly in developed countries. We also find that in established democracies, election years are associated with larger changes in expenditure composition while new democracies, which were found by Brender and Drazen (2005) to raise their overall level of expenditures in election years, tend not to have such changes.
    JEL: D72 D78
    Date: 2009–09
  8. By: Francesco Ciardiello; Anindya Bhattacharya; Victoria Brosi
    Abstract: In this work we explore some properties of on-Neumann-Morgenstern stable sets in the environment of multidimensional spatial voting situations. In our framework, the set of outcomes under consideration is some compact and convex subset of some finite dimensional Euclidean space and any majority coalition can enforce any outcome from another. Among the more significant results, we show that contrary to the well-known claim in Cox, 1987 (repeated in many subsequent works), a stable set in such an environment does not necessarily coincide with the core even when the core is non-empty. We also study when such a stable set may be finite.
    Date: 2009–03
  9. By: Jerome Creel (Observatoire Français des Conjonctures Économiques); Etienne Farvaque (Université de Lille)
    Abstract: The paper first reviews the evolution of federal fiscal rules in the United States, showing a trend towards balanced-budget rules, not golden rules. An explanation to this trend is provided in a model that includes voter's preferences that are skewed by the history of the budget structure, and fiscal rules on the budget. Previous results in the literature are generalized, and the implications of fiscal rules for the use of debt as a strategic asset in the hands of politicians are derived. The inclusion of a golden rule of public finance is compared with that of a balanced-budget rule. Because of the presence of habits, we show that politicians are more prone to adopt balanced-budget rules than a golden rule.
    Keywords: Budget deficit, debt, political economy, fiscal rules, habit effect
    JEL: D72 D78 H62
    Date: 2009
  10. By: Mansbridge, Jane (Harvard University)
    Abstract: The classic statements of deliberative democratic theory defined deliberation in opposition to negotiation. As deliberative theory has developed, that opposition has weakened. The normative terms of that relation, however, are as yet unclear. Building on work reformulating the regulative ideals for deliberative democracy (Mansbridge et al. forthcoming), this paper argues that four previously excluded forms of agreement are themselves "deliberative." One is simple convergence on an outcome. The other three--incompletely theorized agreements, integrative negotiation, and fully cooperative distributive negotiation--are forms of deliberative negotiation. The "regulative ideals" of these forms of negotiation, that is, the standards to which we should aspire in their practice even when full achievement is impossible, meet all the criteria for deliberation. This paper aims at reformulating the regulative ideal of deliberative democracy to incorporate these forms of agreement.
    Date: 2009–04
  11. By: Roman M. Sheremeta; Jingjing Zhang
    Abstract: This paper reports an experiment that examines whether groups can make better decisions than individuals in contests. Our experiment replicates previous findings that individual players significantly overbid relative to theoretical predictions, incurring substantial losses. There is high variance in individual bids and strong heterogeneity across individual players. The new findings of our experiment are that groups make bids that are 25% lower, bids have less variance, and there is less heterogeneity across groups than across individuals. Therefore, groups receive significantly higher and more homogeneous payoffs than individuals. We elicit individual and group preferences towards risk using simple lotteries. The results indicate that groups make less risky decisions, which is a possible explanation for lower bids in contests. Most importantly, we find that groups learn to make lower bids from communication and negotiation between group members.
    Keywords: Rent-seeking; Contest; Experiments; Risk; Over-dissipation; Group Decision-making
    JEL: C72 C91 C92 D72
    Date: 2009–09

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