New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2010‒04‒24
eight papers chosen by

  1. Turnout and Power Sharing By Helios Herrera and; Massimo Morelli
  2. Vote or Shout By Chakravarty, Surajeet; Kaplan, Todd R
  3. Fiscal Federalism and Electoral Accountability By Aidt, T.; Dutta, J.
  4. Approval Quorums Dominate Participation Quorums By Francois Maniquet; Massimo Morelli
  5. Influential Opinion Leaders By Jakub Steiner; Colin Stewart
  6. Political Participation, Regional Policy and the Location of Industry By Wiberg, Magnus
  7. The agenda set by the EU Commission: the result of balanced or biased aggregation of positions? By Miriam Hartlapp; Julia Metz; Christian Rauh
  8. Ideological Segregation Online and Offline By Matthew Gentzkow; Jesse M. Shapiro

  1. By: Helios Herrera and; Massimo Morelli
    Abstract: Differences in electoral rules and/or legislative, executive or legal institutions across countries induce different mappings from election outcomes to distributions of power. We explore how these different mappings affect voters’ participation in a democracy. Assuming heterogeneity in the cost of voting, the effect of such institutional di¤erences on turnout depends on the distribution of voters’ preferences for the parties: when the two parties have similar support, turnout is higher in a winner-take-all system than in a power sharing system; the result is reversed when one side has a larger base. Moreover, the winner-take-all system has higher welfare if and only if the support is uneven. We compare the ‘size effect’ and the ‘underdog compensation effect’ under different systems. All systems induce an underdog compensation which is partial. Namely, unlike other costly voting models, the side with the larger support almost surely wins the majority of the votes. The results obtained in the rational voter model, characterized by the voter free-riding problem, continue to hold in other models of turnout such as ethical voter models and voter mobilization models.
    Keywords: Proportional Influence, Winner-Take-All, Underdog Compensation
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2010
  2. By: Chakravarty, Surajeet; Kaplan, Todd R
    Abstract: We examine an environment with n voters each with a private value over two alternatives. We compare the social surplus of two mechanisms for deciding between them: majority voting and shouting. In majority voting, the choice with the most votes wins. With shouting, the voter who shouts the loudest (sends the costliest wasteful signal) chooses the outcome. We find that it is optimal to use voting in the case where n is large and value for each particular alternative of the voters is bounded. For other cases, the superior mechanism is depends upon the order statistics of the distribution of values.
    Keywords: majority voting; voting procedures; social efficiency
    JEL: C70 D72
    Date: 2010–04–14
  3. By: Aidt, T.; Dutta, J.
    Abstract: We study the e¢ cient allocation of spending and taxation authority in a federation in which federal politicians are exposed to electoral uncertainty. We show that centralization may, but need not, result in a loss of electoral accountability. We identify an important asymmetry between positive and negative externalities and show that centralization may not be e¢ cient in economies with positive externalities even when regions are identical and centralization does not entail a loss of accountability. We also show that decentralization can only Pareto dominate centralization in economies with negative externalities.
    Keywords: Fiscal federalism, local public goods, externalities, performance voting, turnout uncertainty, electoral accountabilit
    JEL: D72 D78 H41
    Date: 2010–04–30
  4. By: Francois Maniquet; Massimo Morelli
    Abstract: We study direct democracy with population uncertainty. Voters' participation is often among the desiderata by the election designer. A participation quorum is a threshold on the fraction of participating voters below which the status quo is kept. We show that participation quorums produce incentive for partisans of the status quo to abstain, with the consequence that the status quo may be kept in situations where the planner would prefer the reform, or the reform is passed when the planner prefers the status quo. An approval quorum is a threshold on the number of voters expressing a ballot in favor of the reform below which the status quo is kept. We show that approval quorums do not suffer from the drawbacks of participation quorums. Moreover, an electoral system with approval quorum performs better than one with participation quorum even when the planner wishes to implement the corresponding participation quorum social choice function.
    Keywords: Participation Quorum, Approval Quorum, Preference Aggregation, Information Aggregation, Implementation.
    Date: 2010
  5. By: Jakub Steiner; Colin Stewart
    Abstract: We present a simple model of elections in which experts with special interests endorse candidates and endorsements are observed by the voters. We show that the equilibrium election outcome is biased towards the experts' interests even though voters know the distribution of expert interests and account for it when evaluating endorsements. Expert influence is fully decentralized in the sense that individual experts have no incentive to exert influence. The effect arises when some agents prefer, ceteris paribus, to support the winning candidate and when experts are much better informed about the state of the world than are voters.
    Keywords: Voting, coordination, experts
    JEL: D72 D82 D83
    Date: 2010–04–16
  6. By: Wiberg, Magnus (Ministry of finance)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the location of manufacturing activities when regional policy is determined by each region’s relative propensity to vote. Once voting over government transfers to regions is included in an economic geography framework with size asymmetries, the standard prediction that the larger region becomes the core when trade barriers are reduced no longer holds. The establishment of manufacturing production in the economically smaller region is increasing in the level of regional integration. As trade is increasingly liberalized, the economy eventually features a reversed core-periphery equilibrium where all firms reside in the South. It is further shown that the relative political participation rate increases in the factor scarce region as trade is liberalized. Empirical evidence shows that the model is consistent with qualitative features of the data.
    Keywords: Economic Geography; Regional Policy; Voter Turnout
    JEL: D72 F12 R12
    Date: 2010–04–14
  7. By: Miriam Hartlapp; Julia Metz; Christian Rauh
    Abstract: Substantial theoretical and conceptual advances have been made with respect to agenda-setting as a determinant for policy outcomes. An actor-centred perspective on frames and venues is core to this literature, structure as a single standing category has received less attention. In this paper we argue that these results should be combined with bureaucratic politics in the European Commission to further our understanding of agenda setting processes in the European Union. Typically, a legislative proposal of the Commission is produced by a lead department which collaborates with a number of other departments on a partly formalized basis before a joint Commission decision is taken. Different services hold different positions on specific policies. We show that structures and rules governing the process yield the potential for some positions to be systematically more strongly represented in the proposals entering inter-institutional decision-making. We complement our argument by providing evidence of interaction patterns when it comes to internal coordination.
    Date: 2010–04
  8. By: Matthew Gentzkow; Jesse M. Shapiro
    Abstract: We use individual and aggregate data to ask how the Internet is changing the ideological segregation of the American electorate. Focusing on online news consumption, offline news consumption, and face-to-face social interactions, we define ideological segregation in each domain using standard indices from the literature on racial segregation. We find that ideological segregation of online news consumption is low in absolute terms, higher than the segregation of most offline news consumption, and significantly lower than the segregation of face-to-face interactions with neighbors, co-workers, or family members. We find no evidence that the Internet is becoming more segregated over time.
    JEL: D83 L86
    Date: 2010–04

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