nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2011‒03‒05
six papers chosen by
Roland Kirstein
Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg

  1. An Experimental Test of a Collective Search Model By Yoichi Hizen; Keisuke Kawata; Masaru Sasaki
  2. Optimal Districting with Endogenous Party Platforms By Emanuele Bracco
  3. Coalition formation and political decision making: Evidence from Finnish municipal mergers By Janne Tukiainen; Tuukka Saarimaa
  4. Efficient Search by Committee By Dirk Bergemann; Juuso Valimaki
  5. Cooperation amongst competing agents in minority games By Deepak Dhar; V. Sasidevan; Bikas K. Chakrabarti
  6. The Evolution of Sharing Rules in Rent Seeking Contests: Incentives Crowd Out Cooperation By Heinrich Ursprung

  1. By: Yoichi Hizen (Hokkaido University); Keisuke Kawata (Osaka University); Masaru Sasaki (Osaka University)
    Abstract: This paper's objectives are to design laboratory experiments of finite and infinite sequen- tial collective search models and to test some implications obtained in the model of Albrecht, Anderson and Vroman (2010) (the AAV model). We find that, compared with single-agent search, the average search duration is longer in collective search with the unanimity rule, but it is shorter in the case of collective search in which at least one vote is needed to stop searching. In addition, according to estimates from round-based search decisions, subjects are more likely to vote to stop searching in collective search than in single-agent search. This confirms that agents are less picky in the case of collective search. Overall, the experimental outcomes are consistent with the implications suggested by the AAV model. However, a different outcome is obtained from the AAV model in terms of the size order of the probabilities of voting to stop searching in collective search for the various plurality voting rules.
    Keywords: experiment, collective search, voting rule.
    JEL: C91 D83
    Date: 2011–02
  2. By: Emanuele Bracco
    Abstract: This paper proposes a theory of socially optimal districting in a legislative-election model with endogenous party platforms. We generalize the model of Coate and Knight (2007), allowing parties to strategically condition their platforms on the districting. The socially optimal districting re ects the ideological leaning of the population, so that parties internalize voters' preferences in their policy platforms. The optimal seat-vote curve is unbiased when voters are risk-neutral, and -contrary to previous findings-biased against the largest partisan group when voters are risk-averse. The model is then calibrated by an econometric analysis of the elections of U.S. State legislators during the 1990s.
    Keywords: Districting, seat-vote curve, social planner, policy-motivated parties, office-motivated parties.
    Date: 2011
  3. By: Janne Tukiainen; Tuukka Saarimaa
    Abstract: This paper analyzes empirically the coalition formation of local governments. We introduce a novel econometric strategy involving choice based sampling from a spatial network to allow for multi-partner mergers in our empirical analysis. We apply our method to recent municipality mergers in Finland. The mergers were decided voluntarily by municipal councils but the central government promoted mergers through a subsidy scheme. Our main interest lies on the association of local politics with the merger decisions. Moreover, we are able to estimate the causal effect of the subsidy scheme on the merger decisions using a regression discontinuity design. We find that the local political environment is relevant for the merger decision making. The results are consistent with politicians? strategic behavior concerning private incentives on municipal employment possibilities and re-election. Furthermore, more concentrated political power at the local level seems to promote merging and different political parties hold different views concerning merging. The central government merger subsidy scheme has an effect on the type of mergers that took place. Overall, the results imply that local politics may hinder optimal coalition formation and that the central government may act as a corrective force by using an appropriate subsidy scheme.
    Keywords: Coalition formation, Local politics, Merger subsidy, Choice based sampling, Regression discontinuity design
    JEL: H72 H71 C35 H77
    Date: 2010–12–20
  4. By: Dirk Bergemann; Juuso Valimaki
    Date: 2011–02–22
  5. By: Deepak Dhar; V. Sasidevan; Bikas K. Chakrabarti
    Abstract: We study a variation of the minority game. There are N agents. Each has to choose between one of two alternatives everyday, and there is reward to each member of the smaller group. The agents cannot communicate with each other, but try to guess the choice others will make, based only the past history of number of people choosing the two alternatives. We describe a simple probabilistic strategy using which the agents acting independently, can still maximize the average number of people benefitting every day. The strategy leads to a very efficient utilization of resources, and the average deviation from the maximum possible can be made of order $(N^{\epsilon})$, for any $\epsilon >0$. We also show that a single agent does not expect to gain by not following the strategy.
    Date: 2011–02
  6. By: Heinrich Ursprung (Department of Economics, University of Konstanz, Germany)
    Abstract: Modern societies are characterized by competing organizations that rely predominantly on incentive schemes to align the behavior of their members with the organizations’ objectives. This study contributes to explaining why in so many cases incentive schemes have gradually crowded out cooperation as an organization device. Our explanation does not draw on free-riding, the obvious Achilles’ heel of cooperation, but relies completely on fundamental group contest mechanisms. By investigating a canonical rent seeking model and adopting an evolutionary perspective, the analysis identifies shortcomings in previous results, sets the record straight, and explains why the process of incentivizing organizations is protracted.
    Keywords: group contests, rent-seeking, sharing rules, cooperation
    JEL: D72 D74 M52
    Date: 2011–02–21

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