New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2010‒02‒27
six papers chosen by

  1. Democracy promotion in post-communist countries towards congruence between historical and political patterns in EU By Olimid, Anca Parmena
  2. Agency and the Structure of Party Competition: Alignment, Stability and the Role of Political Elites By Kevin Deegan-Krause; Zsolt Enyedi
  3. When parties (also) position themselves: an introduction to the EU Profiler By Alexander H. Trechsel; Peter Mair
  4. Media and Polarization By Campante, Filipe R.; Hojman, Daniel
  5. Do coup leaders matter? Leadership change and economic growth in politically unstable countries By Richard Jong-A-Pin; Shu Yu
  6. Introduction to Judgment Aggregation By Christian List; Ben Polak

  1. By: Olimid, Anca Parmena
    Abstract: This article examines the initiatives of European Union in the field of the democracy promotion from a historical and political perspective. The analysis covers: the theoretical framework; the EU democracy promotion strategies in post-communist countries; the debates over the liberal reforms and the national interest. Moreover, we have to note that EU has developed a “fairly hierarchical” political system. In the light of the 2009 European Parliament, particular attention has been devoted to the discussions for improving the European democracy. Due to the staging of the democratic process, the Union is a project in evolution that clearly has not reached its final framework.
    Keywords: democracy; European Union; democratic deficit; political conditionality
    JEL: P20 Y80
    Date: 2009–10–10
  2. By: Kevin Deegan-Krause; Zsolt Enyedi
    Abstract: The study of cleavages focuses primarily on constraints imposed by socio-demographic factors. While scholars have not ignored the agency of political elites, such scholarship remains fragmented among sub-fields and lacks a coherent conceptual framework. This article explores both temporal stability and positional alignments linking vote choice with socio-demographic characteristics, values and group identity to distinguish among particular kinds of structural constraints. On the basis of those distinctions, it identifies various methods by which elites reshape structures, and it links those to a broader framework that allows more comprehensive research connecting political agents and structural constraints in the electoral realm.
    Keywords: political parties; public opinion
    Date: 2010–01–15
  3. By: Alexander H. Trechsel; Peter Mair
    Abstract: This paper is intended to frame and describe a novel method of political party positioning within the European Union and beyond. Ever since the groundbreaking work by Downs in the 1950s, political scientists have derived a variety of methods to empirically determine the position of parties on dimensions measuring differences in policies or ideologies. Today, two sets of techniques dominate this research domain: expert surveys and manifesto/ programme coding. What is common to both techniques is that the positioning is done by qualified scholars and other experts outside the parties, and that it is not always possible to trace the grounds on which a party was coded in one way rather than another. The EU Profiler project, a large-scale, interdisciplinary and pan-European research endeavour, takes a step beyond these established methods by using party self-positioning and by offering full documentation. That is, and in addition to conventional expert coding, some 300 political parties in Europe have been invited to place themselves on 30 issue dimensions. Moreover, and in so far as it proved possible, each coded position for each party is fully documented with extracts from party manifestos, party leaders' speeches, or relevant press or policy statements. The resulting data offer unique opportunities for comparing the accuracy and efficiency among party positioning techniques, exploring for the first time and in a systematic way the auto-positioning of political parties throughout Europe, and offering close textual documentation for the positions taken on each issue dimension.
    Date: 2009–12–15
  4. By: Campante, Filipe R. (Harvard University); Hojman, Daniel (Harvard University)
    Abstract: This paper provides a model of how media environments affect political polarization. We first develop a model of how media environments, characterized by their levels of accessibility and variety of content, interact with citizens' ideological views and attitudes and political motivation. We then embed it in a model of majoritarian electoral competition in which politicians react to those media-influenced views. We show how equilibrium polarization is affected by changes in the media environment, through two channels: the variety effect, whereby a decrease in media variety leads to convergence in citizens' views and hence to lower polarization; and the composition effect, whereby a lowering of barriers to media accessibility increases turnout and hence lowers polarization, since newly motivated voters are relatively more moderate. We take the model's predictions to the data, in the US context of the introduction of broadcast TV, in the 1940s and 1950s, and radio, in the 1920s and 1930s. We show that, consistent with the model's predictions, TV decreased polarization, and exposure to (network) radio was correlated with lower polarization. The evidence suggests that the variety effect was more important than the composition effect.
    JEL: D72 L82 O33
    Date: 2010–01
  5. By: Richard Jong-A-Pin (KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich, Switzerland); Shu Yu (University of Groningen, the Netherlands)
    Abstract: We examine the impact of leadership change after a coup d’etat on economic growth. We consider successful coup attempts as our treatment group and use failed coup attempts as controls to condition on political instability. To take account of selection bias, we control for the determinants of coup success. Our main finding is that leadership changes after a coup d’état have a positive effect on economic growth in the least developed countries, but have a negative effect in other developing countries.
    Keywords: economic growth, coup d’etat, political instability
    Date: 2010–02
  6. By: Christian List (London School of Economics); Ben Polak (Cowles Foundation, Yale University)
    Abstract: This introduces the symposium on judgment aggregation. The theory of judgment ag­gregation asks how several individuals' judgments on some logically connected propo­sitions can be aggregated into consistent collective judgments. The aim of this intro­duction is to show how ideas from the familiar theory of preference aggregation can be extended to this more general case. We first translate a proof of Arrow's impos­sibility theorem into the new setting, so as to motivate some of the central concepts and conditions leading to analogous impossibilities, as discussed in the symposium. We then consider each of four possible escape-routes explored in the symposium.
    Keywords: Judgment aggregation, Arrow's theorem, Escape routes
    JEL: D70 D71
    Date: 2010–02

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.