New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2010‒12‒04
seven papers chosen by

  1. Legislative Malapportionment and institutional persistence By Miriam Bruhn; Francisco Gallego
  2. Sharing Competences: The Impact of Local Institutional Settings on Voter Turnout By Claus Michelsen; P. Bönisch; Martin T.W. Rosenfeld
  3. Political competition and Mirrleesian income taxation: A first pass By Felix Bierbrauer; Pierre C. Boyer
  4. Rashomon in Karlsruhe - A reflection on Democracy and Identity in the European Union By Franz C. Mayer
  5. Gender equality in the European Union: lessons for democracy? By Sara Clavero; Yvonne Galligan
  6. Political Participation of Ethnic Associations: Exploring the Importance of Organisational Level Differences in Resources, Motivation and Recruitment Networks By Strömblad, Per; Bengtsson, Bo
  7. Decision Rules for Experts with Opposing Interests By Tymofiy Mylovanov; Andriy Zapechelnyuk

  1. By: Miriam Bruhn; Francisco Gallego
    Abstract: This paper argues that legislative malapportionment, denoting a discrepancy between the share of legislative seats and the share of population held by electoral districts, serves as a tool for predemocratic elites to preserve their political power and economic interests after a transition to democracy. We claim that legislative malapportionment enhances the pre-democratic elite’s political influence by overrepresenting areas that are more likely to vote for parties aligned with the elite. This biased political representation survives in equilibrium as long as it helps democratic consolidation. We use data from Latin America to document empirically that malapportionment increases the probability of transitioning to a democracy. Moreover, our data show that overrepresented electoral districts are more likely to vote for parties close to pre-democracy ruling groups. We also find that overrepresented areas have lower levels of political competition and they receive more transfers per capita from the central government, both of which favor the persistence of power of pre-democracy elites.
    Keywords: Democracy, dictatorship, institutions, Latin America, persistence, political economy.
    JEL: H1 N46 N10 P16 P48
    Date: 2010
  2. By: Claus Michelsen; P. Bönisch; Martin T.W. Rosenfeld
    Abstract: Institutions are common predictors of voter turnout. Most research in this field focuses on cross-country comparisons of voting systems, like the impact of compulsory voting or registration systems. Fewer efforts have been devoted to understand the role of local institutions and their impact on political participation. Especially the impact of divided competences in relation to public good provision and its impact on voter turnout has been widely ignored. In the present paper, we analyze the effects of different institutional settings for inter-municipal cooperation on voter turnout. We use data from local elections in Germany, held in 2003 and 2004. Overall, we analyze aggregate voter turnout of 1661 municipalities and find strong evidence for our hypothesis that local institutional settings are influential in this context. Further, our results indicate that the better competences correspond to the spatial dimension of local public goods, the higher should be the voter turnout.
    Keywords: voter turnout, local institutions, inter-municipal cooperation
    JEL: D70 D72 H11 H40
    Date: 2010–10
  3. By: Felix Bierbrauer (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn); Pierre C. Boyer (University of Mannheim, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: We study Downsian competition in a Mirrleesian model of income taxation. The competing politicians may differ in competence. If politicians engage in vote-share maximization, the less competent politician's policy proposals are attractive to the minority of rich agents, whereas those of the competent politician are attractive to the majority of poor agents. The less competent politician wins with positive probability, which gives rise to a political failure in the sense of Besley and Coate (1998). Political failures are avoided if politicians maximize winning probabilities. Nevertheless, the two equilibria cannot be Pareto-ranked, the minority may be better off under vote-share maximization.
    Keywords: Electoral Competition, Non-linear Income Taxation, Candidate Quality
    JEL: H21 C72 D72
    Date: 2010–11
  4. By: Franz C. Mayer
    Abstract: Abstract: On June 30, 2009, the German Constitutional Court declared the Lisbon Treaty to be compatible with the German constitution. The Lisbon decision marked the end of an intense constitutional battle. The following text illustrates how different views on and different understandings of European constitutional law and European integration and, more generally speaking, different backgrounds and perspectives may lead to different readings of the decision. It also suggests an assessment of the state of European constitutionalism and of some changes in its landscape, arguing that democracy as the central constitutional concept of reflection and debate is being replaced by identity.
    Keywords: citizenship; constitutional change; court politics; deliberative democracy; democracy; democratization; democratization; differentiation; discourse; diversity/homogeneity; diversity/homogeneity; European identity; European public space; European Public Sphere; identity; multilevel governance; multilevel governance; national autonomy; national interest; nationality; Nation-state; Nation-state; EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; European citizenship; fundamental/human rights; German Constitutional Court; judicial review; rule of law; subsidiarity; supremacy; Constitution for Europe; enlargement; European Convention; founding Treaties; Treaty on European Union; treaty reform; accountability; budgetary procedure; co-decision procedure; decentralisation; institutions; joint decision making; legislative procedure; majority voting; MEPs; national parliaments; qualified majority; unanimity; European Court of Justice; European Court of Justice; Germany; history; law; political science; sociology
    Date: 2010–11–22
  5. By: Sara Clavero; Yvonne Galligan
    Abstract: The gendered nature of democratic decision-making in the EU is the focus of this paper. It outlines a theoretical model of democracy that looks at public decision-making processes through a gender lens: gender democracy. It then takes two instances of democratic decision-making in the European Union relevant to gender equality: the Goods and Services Directive and the Recast Equality Directive. Using the concept ‘gender democracy’, the paper illuminates the contingent treatment of gender interests in democratic politics at EU level.
    Keywords: democracy; directives; gender policy
    Date: 2010–11–15
  6. By: Strömblad, Per (Institute for Futures Studies); Bengtsson, Bo (Institute for Housing and Urban Research, Uppsala University)
    Abstract: <p> In this paper, we apply the Civic Voluntarism Model (CVM) proposed by Verba, Schlozman and Brady on the organisational level. Simultaneously contributing to the research on the political integration of ethnic minorities, we examine resources, motivation and recruitment networks of ethnic associations, and probe the extent to which these mechanisms influence collectively organised political participation. We use data based on face to face interviews with representatives of 106 organisations of four different immigrant groups in Stockholm. Our results indicate that participation rates of ethnic associations vary with size, access to information technology, level of internal democracy, overall aspiration to influence society, and contacts with political elites. Noteworthy, however, our analyses suggest that members’ proficiency in the Swedish language is not important in this respect. Conceptually and methodologically the study demonstrates how the CVM can be fruitfully applied when analysing differences in the political activity of voluntary associations.<p>
    Keywords: Ethnic minorities; Political integration; Ethnic associations; Political participation; Civic Voluntarism Model; Voluntary associations
    JEL: J15 J24 J61 J71
    Date: 2010–11–22
  7. By: Tymofiy Mylovanov (Penn State University); Andriy Zapechelnyuk (Queen Mary, University of London)
    Abstract: This paper studies optimal decision rules for a decision maker who can consult two experts in an environment without monetary payments. This extends the previous work by Holmström (1984) and Alonso and Matouschek (2008) who consider environments with one expert. In order to derive optimal decision rules, we prove a "constant-threat" result that states that any out-of-equilibrium pair of recommendations by the experts are punished with an action that is independent of their reports. A particular property of an optimal decision rule is that it is simple and constant for a large set of experts' preferences and distribution of their private information. Hence, it is robust in the sense that it is not affected by errors in specifying these features of the environment. By contrast, the constructions of optimal outcomes absent commitment or with only one expert are sensitive to model details.
    Keywords: Communication, Information, Noise, Experts, Constant threat
    JEL: C72 D82 D83
    Date: 2010–11

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