New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2011‒02‒19
nine papers chosen by

  1. A Political Agency Model of Coattail Voting By Zudenkova, Galina
  2. Spain’s Referendum on the European Constitutional Treaty: A Quantitative Analysis Within the Conceptual Framework of First and Second Order Elections By Ozgur Erkan
  3. Economic Voting in Portuguese Municipal Elections By Rodrigo Martins; Francisco José Veiga
  4. Choosing choices: Agenda selection with uncertain issues By Raphaël Godefroy; Eduardo Perez-Richet
  5. Democracy, Elections and Allocation of Public Expenditure in Developing Countries By Clémence Vergne
  6. The agenda set by the EU Commission: the result of balanced or biased aggregation of positions? By Miriam Hartlapp; Julia Metz and Christian Rauh
  7. A value for cooperative games with a coalition structure By Emilio Calvo; Esther Gutierrez
  8. The Interpretation of the Laakso-Taagepera Effective Number of Parties. By Jean-François Caulier
  9. Conflict resolution through mutuality: Lessons from Bayesian updating By Srijit Mishra

  1. By: Zudenkova, Galina
    Abstract: This paper provides a theoretical model for the coattail effect, where a popular candidate for one branch of government attracts votes to candidates from the same political party for other branches of government. I assume a political agency framework with moral hazard in order to analyze the coattail effect in simultaneous presidential and congressional elections. I show that coattail voting is the outcome of the optimal reelection scheme adopted by a representative voter to motivate politicians' efforts in a retrospective voting environment. I assume that an office-motivated politician (executive or member of congress) prefers her counterpart to be affiliated with the same political party. This correlation of incentives leads the voter to adopt a joint performance evaluation rule, which is conditioned on the politicians belonging to the same party or to different parties. Two-sided coattail effects then arise. On the one hand, an executive's success props up, while failure drags down, her partisan ally in the congressional election, which implies a presidential coattail effect. On the other hand, the executive's reelection itself is affected by a congress member's performance, which results in a reverse coattail effect.
    Keywords: Coattail voting; Presidential coattail effect; Reverse coattail effect; Simultaneous elections; Political Agency; Retrospective voting.
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2010–12–01
  2. By: Ozgur Erkan
    Abstract: In contrast to the attention devoted to the rejection of the EU Constitutional Treaty at French and Dutch referenda; the Spanish referendum, where this Treaty was ratified, remained under-researched by political scientists. This paper analyses the voting behaviour at the Spanish referendum on the EU Constitutional Treaty with the use of quantitative methods and the concept of first and second-order elections. This paper finds that the Spanish referendum was a second-order referendum, because the effects of domestic political issues in Spain had a greater impact on the electoral behaviour of Spanish voters than had genuinely European issues. This finding raises doubts over the suitability of using direct democracy in the EU in order to raise the legitimacy and democratic accountability of the European project.
    Keywords: Spain; referendum
    Date: 2010–06–01
  3. By: Rodrigo Martins (Universidade de Coimbra / GEMF); Francisco José Veiga (Universidade do Minho)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the impact of economic conditions on Portuguese local electoral outcomes. We use two extensive datasets to estimate an economic voting model which accounts for the possibility that different levels of government have different levels of responsibility for economic outcomes and for clarity of government responsibility. Empirical results indicate that the performance of the national economy is important especially if local governments are of the same party as the central government. The municipal situation is also relevant particularly in scenarios of higher clarity of government responsibility
    Keywords: Local governments, Elections, Portugal, Voting, Economic conditions
    JEL: D72 H7
    Date: 2010–10
  4. By: Raphaël Godefroy (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - Ecole des Ponts ParisTech - Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris - ENS Paris - INRA, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris); Eduardo Perez-Richet (Ecole Polytechnique - Ecole Polytechnique)
    Abstract: This paper studies selection rules i.e. the procedures committees use to choose whether to place an issue on their agenda. The main ingredient of the model is that committee members are uncertain about their final preferences at the selection stage: they only know the probability that they will eventually prefer the proposal to the status quo at the decision stage. This probability is private information. We find that a more stringent selection rule makes the voters more conservative. Hence individual behavior reinforces the effect of the rule instead of balancing it. For a voter, conditional on being pivotal, the probability that the proposal is adopted depends on which option she eventually favors. The probability that the proposal is adopted if she eventually prefers the proposal increases at a higher rate with the selection rule than if she eventually prefers the status quo. In order to compensate for that, the voters become more selective. The decision rule has the opposite effect. We describe optimal rules when there is a fixed cost of organizing the final election.
    Keywords: selection rules ; strategic voting ; asymmetric information ; agenda setting ; large deviations ; petitions ; citizens' initiative
    Date: 2010–11
  5. By: Clémence Vergne (CERDI - Centre d'études et de recherches sur le developpement international - CNRS : UMR6587 - Université d'Auvergne - Clermont-Ferrand I)
    Abstract: This paper overcomes traditional political budget cycles models, focusing solely on the dynamics of the overall budget, in order to shed light on electoral composition changes in public spending. Using data on 42 developing countries from 1975 to 2001, we find evidence of electoral impacts on the allocation of public expenditure. Our results show that election-year public spending shifts towards more visible current expenditure, in particular wages and subsidies, and away from capital expenditure. Futhermore, our findings suggest that electoral impacts on the allocation of public spending are likely to endure, even though countries gain experience in electoral politics.
    Keywords: Political budget cycles;public expenditure composition;developing countries
    Date: 2011–02–09
  6. By: Miriam Hartlapp; Julia Metz and 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: 2010–04–01
  7. By: Emilio Calvo (ERI-CES); Esther Gutierrez (University Pais Vasco)
    Abstract: A value for games with a coalition structure is introduced, where the rules guiding the cooperation among the members of the same coalition are different from the interaction rules among coalitions. In particular, players inside a coalition exhibit a greater degree of solidarity than they are willing to use with players outside their coalition. The Shapley value [Shapley, 1953] is therefore used to compute the aggregate payoffs of the coalitions, and the Solidarity value [Nowak and Radzik, 1994] to obtain the payoffs of the players inside each coalition.
    Keywords: Coalitional value, Shapley value, Owen value, Solidarity value
    JEL: C71
    Date: 2011–02
  8. By: Jean-François Caulier (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne)
    Abstract: In this paper, we present a general statistical framework within which we can draw a new interpretation of the Laakso-Taagepera effective number of parties fragmentation index. With the particular method of sampling with probability proportional to the party sizes, we show that the Laakso-Taagepera effective number of parties is the inverse of the size biased version of the traditional expected party size in shares. Further, we provide an axiomatic definition of the Laakso-Taagepera effective number of parties.
    Keywords: Fragmentation, effective number of parties, concentration index, size biased sampling, length biased sampling.
    JEL: C65 D71 D72
    Date: 2011–02
  9. By: Srijit Mishra (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research)
    Abstract: If priors are deterministic (zero or unity) and conditional evidence is uncertain (lies between zero and one) then Bayesian updating will lead to posteriors that are the same as priors. This in a sense explains the persistence of fundamentalist belief. Under such a belief system, only if conditional evidence is deterministic and diametrically opposite to that of the prior then a process of change can set in. Conflict resolution is possible through dialogues that calls for mutual respect and allows reasonable pluralism - a Rawlsian prerequisite. If interaction is the basis then self-defeating scenarios can be avoided by giving space to others. Thus, in the political sphere one has to be accommodative.
    Keywords: Bayesian updating, belief polarization, conflict resolution, fundamentalist belief, interaction, mutual respect, reasonable pluralism
    JEL: A13 C11
    Date: 2011–01

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