New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2011‒03‒12
five papers chosen by

  1. Miscounts, Duverger's Law and Duverger's Hypothesis By Matthias Messner; Mattias K. Polborn
  2. An optimal Voting System when Voting is costly By Bognar, Katalin; Börgers, Tilman; Meyer-ter-Vehn, Moritz
  3. One Share-One Vote: New Empirical Evidence By Eklund , Johan; Poulsen, Thomas
  4. Sanctions, Benefits, and Rights: Three Faces of Accountability By Grindle, Merilee
  5. Cultural Explanations of Electoral Reform: A Policy Cycle Model By Norris, Pippa

  1. By: Matthias Messner; Mattias K. Polborn
    Abstract: In real-life elections, vote-counting is often imperfect. We analyze the consequences of such imperfections in plurality and runoff rule voting games. We call a strategy profile a robust equilibrium if it is an equilibrium if the probability of a miscount is positive but small. All robust equilibria of plurality voting games satisfy Duverger's Law: In any robust equilibrium, exactly two candidates receive a positive number of votes. Moreover, robust- ness (only) rules out a victory of the Condorcet loser. All robust equilibria under runoff rule satisfy Duverger's Hypothesis: First round votes vare (almost always) dispersed over more than two alternatives. Robustness has strong implications for equilibrium outcomes under runoff rule: For large parts of the parameter space, the robust equilibrium outcome is unique.
    Date: 2011
  2. By: Bognar, Katalin; Börgers, Tilman; Meyer-ter-Vehn, Moritz
    Abstract: We consider the design of an optimal voting system when voting is costly. For a private values model with two alternatives we show the optimality of a voting system that combines three elements: (i) there is an arbitrarily chosen default decision and non-participation is interpreted as a vote in favor of the default; (ii) voting is sequential; (iii) not all voters are invited to participate in the vote. We show the optimality of such a voting system by first arguing that it is first best, that is, it maximizes welfare when incentive compatibility constraints are ignored, and then showing that individual incentives and social welfare are sufficiently aligned to make the first best system incentive compatible. The analysis in this paper involves some methods that are new to the theory of mechanism design, and it is also a purpose of this paper to explore these new methods.
    Keywords: Voting; mechanism design; committees.
    JEL: D70
    Date: 2010–10
  3. By: Eklund , Johan (Jönköping International Business School and Ratio Institute); Poulsen, Thomas (Copenhagen Business School)
    Abstract: Shares with more voting rights than cash flow rights provide their owners with a disproportional influence that is often found to destroy the value of outside equity. This is taken as evidence of discretionary use of power. However, concentration of power does not necessarily result from control enhancing mechanisms; it could also be that some shareholders retain a large block in a one share-one vote structure. In this paper, we develop a methodology to disentangle disproportionality, which allows us to test the effect of deviations from one share-one vote more precisely. Our empirical findings add to the existing literature.
    Keywords: Ownership structure; one share-one vote; proportionality; performance; entrenchment
    JEL: G32 G34
    Date: 2010–10–26
  4. By: Grindle, Merilee (Harvard University)
    Abstract: As countries throughout the world democratize and decentralize, citizen participation in public life should increase. In this paper, I suggest that democratic participation in local government is enhanced when citizens can reply affirmatively to at least three questions about their ability to hold local officials accountable for their actions: Can citizens use the vote effectively to reward and punish the general or specific performance of local public officials and/or the parties they represent? Can citizens generate response to their collective needs from local governments? Can citizens be ensured of fair and equitable treatment from public agencies at local levels? The findings of a study of 30 randomly selected municipalities in Mexico indicate that, over the course of a decade and a half, voters were able to enforce alternation in power and the circulation of elites, but not necessarily to transmit unambiguous messages to public officials or parties about performance concerns. More definitively, citizens were able to build successfully on prior political experiences to extract benefits from local governments. At the same time, the ability to demand good performance of local government as a right of citizenship lagged behind other forms of accountability.
    Date: 2010–06
  5. By: Norris, Pippa (Harvard University)
    Abstract: The standard explanation of electoral reform is offered by rational choice accounts. These regard the choice of rules as an elite?level issue, dominated by partisan interests bargaining within the legislature, where citizens are usually marginalized and powerless. Such accounts may help to explain what specific reforms are enacted but they lack the capacity to account satisfactorily for the logically prior questions: when and why are any successful reforms raised on the policy agenda?
    Date: 2010–06

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