New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2009‒12‒05
seven papers chosen by

  1. The Road to Power: Partisan Loyalty and the Centralized Provision of Local Infrastructure By Marcelin Joanis
  2. The Effect of Newspaper Entry and Exit on Electoral Politics By Matthew Gentzkow; Jesse M. Shapiro; Michael Sinkinson
  3. Democratic Peace and Electoral Accountability By Paola Conconi; Nicolas Sahuguet; Maurizio Zanardi
  4. Career Concerns in a Political Hierarchy: A Case of Regional Leaders in Soviet Russia By Andrei Markevich; Ekaterina Zhuravskaya
  5. WHO MAKES A GOOD LEADER? COOPERATIVENESS, OPTIMISM AND LEADING-BY-EXAMPLE By Simon Gaechter; Daniele Nosenzo; Elke Renner; Martin Sefton
  6. Allocation of Prizes in Contests with Participation Constraints By Megidish, Reut; Sela, Aner
  7. Choice by Sequential Procedures By Jose Apesteguia; Miguel Ballester

  1. By: Marcelin Joanis
    Abstract: This paper sets out a simple dynamic probabilistic voting model in which a government allocates a fixed budget across electoral districts that differ in their loyalty to the ruling party. The model predicts that the geographic pattern of spending depends on the way the government balances long-run ‘machine politics’ considerations and the more immediate concern to win over swing voters. Empirical results obtained from a panel of electoral districts in Québec provide robust evidence that districts which display loyalty to the incumbent government receive disproportionately more spending, especially close to an election, at odds with the standard ‘swing voter’ view. <P>Cet article développe un modèle dynamique simple de vote probabiliste dans lequel un gouvernement répartit un budget fixe entre des circonscriptions électorales qui diffèrent selon leur degré de loyauté au parti au pouvoir. Le modèle prédit que la répartition géographique des dépenses dépend de la manière dont le gouvernement assure l’équilibre entre des considérations de long terme de type « machine électorale » et des considérations plus immédiates de victoire dans les circonscriptions pivot. Des résultats empiriques obtenus à partir d’un panel de circonscriptions électorales au Québec montrent que les circonscriptions qui sont loyales au parti au pouvoir reçoivent plus que leur part de dépenses, particulièrement à l’approche d’une élection, contrairement à la vision théorique traditionnelle prédisant plus de dépenses dans les circonscriptions pivot.
    Keywords: partisan loyalty, swing voters, political competition, local public goods, distributive politics, long-run relationships. , loyauté partisane, électeurs pivot, concurrence électorale, biens publics locaux, clientélisme politique, relations de long terme.
    JEL: D72 H41 H54
    Date: 2009–11–01
  2. By: Matthew Gentzkow; Jesse M. Shapiro; Michael Sinkinson
    Abstract: We use new data on entries and exits of US daily newspapers from 1869 to 2004 to estimate effects on political participation, party vote shares, and electoral competitiveness. Our identification strategy exploits the precise timing of these events and allows for the possibility of confounding trends. We find that newspapers have a robust positive effect on political participation, with one additional newspaper increasing both presidential and congressional turnout by approximately 0.3 percentage points. Newspaper competition is not a key driver of turnout: our effect is driven mainly by the first newspaper in a market, and the effect of a second or third paper is significantly smaller. The effect on presidential turnout diminishes after the introduction of radio and television, while the estimated effect on congressional turnout remains similar up to recent years. We find no evidence that partisan newspapers affect party vote shares, with confidence intervals that rule out even moderate-sized effects. We find no clear evidence that newspapers systematically help or hurt incumbents.
    JEL: D72 L82 N81
    Date: 2009–11
  3. By: Paola Conconi; Nicolas Sahuguet; Maurizio Zanardi
    Date: 2009–11–21
  4. By: Andrei Markevich (New Economic School and the University of Warwick); Ekaterina Zhuravskaya (New Economic School, CEFIR and CEPR)
    Abstract: We study the nature of career concerns of regional leaders in Soviet Russia under Khrushchev and Brezhnev. We document a substantial over-time variation in career concerns associated with reforms of Soviet governing hierarchy. We demonstrate that Khrushchev’s “Sovnarkhoz” system—a unique episode in Soviet history, when a traditional Soviet unitary-form (U-form) hierarchy was replaced by a multidivisional-form (M-form) organization—created yardstick competition in industrial performance of regional leaders. High-powered career incentives, however, did not result in faster industrial growth on average. We find that only two groups of regional leaders performed better in response to increased incentives. 1) Leaders appointed during “Sovnarkhoz” were able to learn new rules better. 2) Leaders with good connections to their neighbors were able to overcome negative inter-regional externalities, a common byproduct of M-form. The lack of success of the “Sovnarkhoz” system triggered the separation of regional units along production branch lines, which, as we show, led to a substantial decrease of industrial growth rates. The failure of Khrushchev's management reforms together with the U-form lobby contributed to his dismissal and reinstatement of the U-form hierarchy under Brezhnev.
    Keywords: Career Concerns, Political Hierarchy, Yardstick Competition, Soviet Economy
    JEL: D73 H7 J63 N44 P3
    Date: 2009–11
  5. By: Simon Gaechter (Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx), University of Nottingham); Daniele Nosenzo (Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx), University of Nottingham); Elke Renner (Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx), University of Nottingham); Martin Sefton (Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx), University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: We examine the characteristics of effective leaders in a simple leader-follower voluntary contributions game. We focus on two factors: the individual’s cooperativeness and the individual’s beliefs about the cooperativeness of others. We find that groups perform best when led by those who are cooperatively inclined. Partly this reflects a false consensus effect: cooperative leaders are more optimistic than non-cooperators about the cooperativeness of followers. However, cooperative leaders contribute more than non-cooperative leaders even after controlling for optimism. We conclude that differing leader contributions by differing types of leader in large part reflects social motivations.
    JEL: A13 C92
    Date: 2009–10
  6. By: Megidish, Reut; Sela, Aner
    Abstract: We study all-pay contests with an exogenous minimal effort constraint where a player can participate in a contest only if his effort (output) is equal to or higher than the minimal effort constraint. Contestants are privately informed about a parameter (ability) that affects their cost of effort. The designer decides about the size and the number of prizes. We analyze the optimal prize allocation for the contest designer who wishes to maximize either the total effort or the highest effort. It is shown that if the minimal effort constraint is relatively high, the winner-take-all contest in which the contestant with the highest effort wins the entire prize sum does not necessarily maximize the expected total effort nor the expected highest effort. In that case, the random contest in which the entire prize sum is equally allocated to all the participants is a legitimate alternative to the winner-take-all contest.
    Keywords: all-pay contests; Participation constraints
    JEL: D44 O31 O32
    Date: 2009–11
  7. By: Jose Apesteguia; Miguel Ballester
    Date: 2009–12–01

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