New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2010‒06‒11
fifteen papers chosen by

  1. Split-ticket voting: an implicit incentive approach By Galina Zudenkova
  2. Non-Consequentialist Voting By Moses Shayo; Alon Harel
  3. Pre-Electoral Coalitions and Post-Election Bargaining By Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay; Kalyan Chatterjee; Tomas Sjostrom
  4. An experimental study on learning about voting powers By Gabriele Esposito; Eric Guerci; Nobuyuki Hanaki; Xiaoyan Lu; Naoki Watanabe
  5. Reciprocity and Resistance to Comprehensive Reform By Urs Fischbacher; Simon Schudy
  6. Synchronism in Electoral Cycles: How United are the United States? By Luís Francisco Aguiar; Pedro C. Magalhães; Maria Joana Soares
  7. The spatial diffusion of social conformity: the case of voting participation By Coleman, Stephen
  8. Is economics coursework, or majoring in economics, associated with different civic behaviors? By Sam Allgood; William Bosshardt; Wilbert van der Klaauw; Michael Watts
  9. Can Groups Solve the Problem of Over-Bidding in Contests By Roman M. Sheremeta; Jingjing Zhang
  10. Expenditures and Information Disclosure in Two- Stage Political Contests By Roman M. Sheremeta
  11. The Equivalence of Contests By Subhasish M. Chowdhury; Roman M. Sheremeta
  12. A generalized Tullock contest By Subhasish M. Chowdhury; Roman M. Sheremeta
  13. The political economy of infrastructure construction: The Spanish “Parliamentary Roads” (1880-1914) By Marta Curto-Grau; Alfonso Herranz-Loncán; Albert Solé-Ollé
  14. Cores of games with positive externalities By CHANDER, Parkash
  15. Men, Women, and the Ballot. Gender Imbalances and Suffrage Extensions in US States By Sebastian Braun; Michael Kvasnicka

  1. By: Galina Zudenkova
    Abstract: Voters often split tickets, voting for candidates from different parties in simultaneous elections. In this paper, I apply a political agency framework with implicit incentives to study ticket splitting in simultaneous municipal and regional elections. I show that ticket splitting is a natural outcome of the optimal reelection scheme adopted by voters to motivate politicians' efforts in a retrospective voting environment. I assume that an office-motivated politician (mayor or governor) prefers her counterpart to be affiliated with the same political party. This correlation of incentives leads the voters to adopt a joint performance evaluation rule, which is conditioned on the politicians belonging to the same party or different parties. The model is dynamic, generating predictions of split-ticket voting over time. I show that ticket splitting is less likely than electing candidates from the same party, but somewhat depends on ticket splitting in the previous period. Ticket splitting is also more likely in smaller municipalities, where the party affiliation of a mayor is assumed to be of less importance to the governor. These theoretical results are consistent with empirical evidence from simultaneous municipal and regional elections held in Spain.
    Keywords: Split-ticket voting, Simultaneous elections, Implicit incentive contracts, Political Agency, Retrospective voting
    JEL: D72 D82
    Date: 2010–06
  2. By: Moses Shayo; Alon Harel
    Abstract: Standard theory assumes that voters' preferences over actions (voting) are induced by their preferences over electoral outcomes (policies, candidates). But voters may also have non-consequentialist (NC) motivations: they may care about how they vote even if it does not a¤ect the outcome. When the likelihood of being pivotal is small, NC motivations can dominate voting behavior. To examine the prevalence of NC motivations, we design an experiment that exogenously varies the probability of being pivotal yet holds constant other features of the decision environment. We find a significant e¤ect, consistent with at least 12.5% of subjects being motivated by NC concerns.
    Date: 2010–04
  3. By: Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay; Kalyan Chatterjee; Tomas Sjostrom
    Abstract: We study a game-theoretic model where political parties can form coalitions both before and after the elections. Before election, coalitions can commit to a seat-sharing arrangement, but not to a policy or to a division of rents from office; coalition members are free to break up and join other coalitions after the election. Equilibrium pre-electoral coalitions are not necessarily made up of the most ideologically similar parties, and they form under proportional representation as well as plurality rule. They do so to avoid "splitting the vote", but also because seat-sharing arrangements will influence the ex post bargaining and coalition formation.
    Keywords: Ex ante coalition, ex post bargaining
    JEL: C72 D72 H19
    Date: 2010–05
  4. By: Gabriele Esposito; Eric Guerci; Nobuyuki Hanaki; Xiaoyan Lu; Naoki Watanabe
    Abstract: We investigate experimentally whether subjects can learn, from their limited experiences, about relationships between the distribution of votes in a group and associated voting powers in weighted majority voting systems (WMV). Subjects are asked to play two-stage games repeatedly. In the second stage of the game, a group of four subjects bargains over how to divide fixed amount of resources among themselves through the WMV determined in the first stage. In the first stage, two out of four subjects in the group, independently and simultaneously, choose from two options that jointly determine the distribution of a given number of votes among four members. These two subjects face a 2 × 2 matrix that shows the distribution of votes, but not associated voting powers, among four members for each outcome. Therefore, to obtain higher rewards, subjects need to learn about the latter by actually playing the second stage. The matrix subjects face in the first stage changes during the experiment to test subjects' understanding of relationships between distribution of votes and voting power. The results of our experiments suggest that although (a) many subjects learn to choose, in the votes apportionment stage, the option associated with a higher voting power, (b) it is not easy for them to learn the underlying relationships between the two and correctly anticipate their voting powers when they face a new distribution of votes.
    Date: 2010–06
  5. By: Urs Fischbacher; Simon Schudy
    Abstract: Comprehensive reforms often fail or become piecemeal during preparatory phase of the legislation. A promising candidate to explain the failure of comprehensive reforms is vote trading on a subset of individual bills included in the original comprehensive reform. When legislators expect profitable vote trading on a subset of bills to be possible, they may ex ante strategically block comprehensive reforms. We analyze in a laboratory experiment whether trust and reciprocity among legislators leads to vote trading in sequential bill by bill procedures when commitment devices are missing and whether such vote trading possibilities cause resistance to comprehensive reform. We find that (i) transparent voting procedures facilitate vote trading based on trust in other legislators' reciprocity whereas (ii) secretive procedures reduce trust in others' reciprocity and makes vote trades difficult. (iii) Resistance to comprehensive reform occurs when legislators know that the alternative procedure to voting on the comprehensive reform is a transparent sequential bill by bill voting procedure, whereas (iv) legislators opt for voting on a comprehensive reform when the alternative procedure is a sequential secret ballot.
    Keywords: Comprehensive Reform, Sequential Voting, Vote Trading, Experiment
    Date: 2010
  6. By: Luís Francisco Aguiar (Universidade do Minho - NIPE); Pedro C. Magalhães (University of Lisbon, Social Sciences Institute); Maria Joana Soares (Universidade do Minho)
    Abstract: The role of national, sectional, state, and local forces in driving electoral outcomes in the United States has remained a matter of considerable indeterminacy in the American politics literature. In what concerns House elections, different approaches and methods have yielded widely divergent results. In what concerns presidential elections, considerable doubts remain about the timing and the plausible causes of a long-term trend towards homogeneity. In this paper, we take a new look at the nationalization of politics in the United States. We are particularly interested in the dynamic nationalization in presidential elections, i.e., the extent to which swings and shifts from one election to the next have been similar across states and whether or not that similarity has increased through time. We treat this problem as one of similarity or dissimilarity — and convergence or divergence of — electoral cycles, and use wavelets analysis in order to ascertain the degree to which the national and state election cycles have been synchronized and the degree to which that synchronization has increased or decreased. We determine, first, the states where electoral change has been more in sync with the national cycle and clusters of states defined in terms of the mutual synchronization of their own electoral cycles. Second, we analyze how the degree of synchronization of electoral cycles in the states has changed through time, answering questions as to when, to what extent, and where has the tendency towards a “universality of political trends” in presidential elections been more strongly felt. We present evidence strongly in favor of an increase in the dynamic nationalization of presidential elections taking place in the 1950s, showing that alternative interpretations concerning the historical turning point in this respect are not supported by empirical evidence.
    Date: 2010
  7. By: Coleman, Stephen
    Abstract: Social interaction combined with social conformity spreads attitudes and behaviors through a society. This paper examines such a process geographically for compliance with the norm that good citizens should vote. The diffusion of conformist behavior affects the local degree of conformity with the norm and produces highly specific and predictable patterns of behavior across a country. These are demonstrated with qualitative and quantitative spatial analysis of voter turnout in the United States and Russia.
    Keywords: social conformity; norm compliance; voting; spatial analysis; United States; Russia; mathematical model; diffusion
    JEL: Z13 C31 D72
    Date: 2010–06–03
  8. By: Sam Allgood; William Bosshardt; Wilbert van der Klaauw; Michael Watts
    Abstract: Studies regularly link levels of educational attainment to civic behavior and attitudes, but only a few investigate the role played by specific coursework. Using data collected from students who attended one of four public universities in our study, we investigate the relationship between economics coursework and civic behavior after graduation. Drawing from large samples of students in economics, business, or general majors, we compare responses across the three groups and by the number of undergraduate economics courses completed. We find that undergraduate coursework in economics is strongly associated with political party affiliation and with donations to candidates or parties, but not with the decision to vote or not vote. Nor is studying economics correlated with the likelihood (or intensity of) volunteerism. While we find that the civic behavior of economics majors and business majors is similar, it appears that business majors are less likely than general majors to engage in time-consuming behaviors such as voting and volunteering. Finally, we extend earlier studies that address the link between economics coursework and attitudes on public policy issues, finding that graduates who studied more economics usually reported attitudes closer to those expressed in national surveys of U.S. economists. Interestingly, we find the public policy attitudes of business majors to be more like those of general majors than of economics majors.
    Keywords: Education ; Economics - Study and teaching ; Business and education ; Human behavior ; Volunteers
    Date: 2010
  9. By: Roman M. Sheremeta (Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University); Jingjing Zhang (Department of Economics, McMaster University)
    Abstract: This study reports an experiment that examines whether groups can better comply with theoretical predictions 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 25% lower bids, their bids have lower variance, and group bids are less heterogeneous than individual bids. 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
  10. By: Roman M. Sheremeta (Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University)
    Abstract: This laboratory experiment studies two-stage contests between political parties. In the first stage, parties run their primaries and in the second stage the winners of the primaries compete in the general election. The resource expenditures in the first stage by the winning candidates are partially or fully carried over to the second stage. Experimental results support all major theoretical predictions: the first stage expenditures and the total expenditures increase, while the second stage expenditures decrease in the carryover rate. Consistent with the theory, the total expenditures increase in the number of candidates and the number of parties. Contrary to the theory, however, expenditures in both stages of the competition exceed theoretical predictions. Disclosing information about the opponent’s expenditures in the first stage increases the second stage expenditures and decreases the first stage expenditures.
    Keywords: political contest, experiments, information uncertainty, over-expenditures
    JEL: C72 C91 D72
    Date: 2009–12
  11. By: Subhasish M. Chowdhury (School of Economics, University of East Anglia); Roman M. Sheremeta (Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University)
    Abstract: We use a Tullock-type contest model to show that intuitively and structurally different contests can be strategically and revenue equivalent to each other. We consider a two-player contest, where outcome-contingent payoffs are linear functions of prizes, own effort, and the effort of the rival. We identify strategically equivalent contests that generate the same family of best response functions and, as a result, the same revenue. However, two strategically equivalent contests may yield different equilibrium payoffs. Finally, we discuss possible contest design applications and avenues for future theoretical and empirical research.
    Keywords: rent-seeking, contest, spillover, equivalence, revenue equivalence, contest design
    JEL: C72 D72 D74
    Date: 2010–02
  12. By: Subhasish M. Chowdhury (School of Economics, University of East Anglia); Roman M. Sheremeta (Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University)
    Abstract: We construct a generalized Tullock contest under complete information where contingent upon winning or losing, the payoff of a player is a linear function of prizes, own effort, and the effort of the rival. This structure nests a number of existing contests in the literature and can be used to analyze new types of contests. We characterize the unique symmetric equilibrium and show that small parameter modifications may lead to substantially different types of contests and hence different equilibrium effort levels.
    Keywords: rent-seeking, contest, spillover
    JEL: C72 D72 D74
    Date: 2010–03
  13. By: Marta Curto-Grau (Universitat de Barcelona); Alfonso Herranz-Loncán (Universitat de Barcelona); Albert Solé-Ollé (Universitat de Barcelona)
    Abstract: This paper examines the extent to which the public allocation of road investment was influenced by political and electoral goals during the Spanish Restoration (1874-1923). More precisely, we seek to identify those provinces that were favoured with higher road construction expenditure and whether tactical strategies adopted by the political parties varied over time to reflect increasing political competition. In so doing, this paper combines concepts from three strands of literature: legislative pork-barrel; clientelism and machine politics; and electoral competition. Our main empirical finding for a panel of Spain’s provinces suggests that constituencies electing a higher proportion of deputies from minority or opposition parties were initially punished through lower levels of road investment but that, by the end of the period, they were instead favoured with more resources than the rest. In addition, we also observe that senior deputies who had been ministers in previous administrations were more capable than other politicians of attracting resources to their constituencies
    Keywords: Road investment, distributive politics, electoral competition, vote buying
    JEL: H54 P16 D72
    Date: 2010
  14. By: CHANDER, Parkash (National University of Singapore and UniversitŽ catholique de Louvain, CORE, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium)
    Abstract: This paper introduces a core concept, called the -core, in the primitive framework of a strategic game. For a certain class of strategic games, it is a weaker concept than the strong Nash equilibrium, but in general stronger than the conventional - and - cores. We argue that the coalition formation process is an infinitely repeated game and show that the grand coalition forms if the -core is nonempty. This is a weaker sufficient condition than the previous such condition (Maskin (2003, Theorem 4)). As an application of this result, it is shown that the - core of an oligopolistic market is nonempty and thus the grand coalition forms.
    Keywords: positive externalities, strategic game, core, repeated game, coalition formation
    JEL: C7 D62
    Date: 2010–01–01
  15. By: Sebastian Braun; Michael Kvasnicka
    Abstract: Woman suffrage led to one of the greatest enfranchisements in history. Yet, women neither won the right to vote by force, nor did men grant it under the imminent threat of female unrest. These facts are difficult to reconcile with leading political economy theories of suffrage extensions. In this paper, we study suffrage extensions at the level of US states and territories in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to learn about the factors that accelerated, respectively delayed, a jurisdiction's transition to woman suffrage. Our results show that the general scarcity of women in the American West, or a high sex ratio, was the single most important factor behind the region's lead in the enfranchisement of women in the US. High ratios of grantors (men) to grantees (women) of the franchise appear to have promoted earlier suffrage extensions, as these imbalances reduced the political costs and risks for male legislators and electorates. Our finding may provide a more general insight into the economics of voluntary power sharing. All else equal, smaller groups should find it much easier to acquire rights or to get admitted to economic and political clubs
    Keywords: Woman Suffrage; Democratization; Political Economy; Power Sharing; Sex Ratio
    JEL: D72 J16 K10 N41 N42
    Date: 2010–05

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