New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2011‒04‒23
eleven papers chosen by

  1. Voting Power in the EU Council of Ministers and Fair Decision Making in Distributive Politics By Michel Le Breton; Maria Montero; Vera Zaporozhets
  2. Women and Power: Unwilling, Ineffective, or Held Back? By Casas-Arce, Pablo; Saiz, Albert
  3. The Voting Behaviour of the Irish parliamentary party on social issues in the House of Commons 1881-90 By Cousins, Mel
  4. A note on Condorcet consistency and the median voter By Buechel, Berno
  5. ‘A naked scrap for party advantage, dressed up as a principled defence of democracy’: the House of Lords on the number of MPs and defining their constituencies By Ron Johnston; Charles Pattie
  6. Transnational Justice and Democracy By Rainer Forst
  7. Do Local Elections in Non-Democracies Increase Accountability? Evidence from Rural China By Monica Martinez-Bravo; Gerard Padró i Miquel; Nancy Qian; Yang Yao
  8. The Political Economy of Carbon Securities and Environmental Policy By Polborn, Sarah
  9. Contests – A comparison of timing and information structures By Ludwig, Sandra
  10. Cronyism in Business, Public Sector and Politics By Zudenkova, Galina
  11. Finitely repeated games with social preferences By Oechssler, Jörg

  1. By: Michel Le Breton; Maria Montero; Vera Zaporozhets
    Abstract: We analyze and evaluate the different decision rules describing the Council of Ministers of the EU starting from 1958 up to date. All the existing studies use the Banzhaf index (for binary voting) or the Shapley-Shubik index (for distributive politics). We argue that the nucleolus can be considered an appropriate power measure in distributive situations and an alternative to the Shapley-Shubik index. We then calculate the nucleolus and compare the results of our calculations with the conventional measures. In the second part, we analyze the power of the European citizens as measured by the nucleolus under the egalitarian criterion proposed by Felsenthal and Machover (1998), and characterize the first best situation. Based on these results we propose a methodology for the design of the optimal (fair) decision rules. We perform the optimization exercise for the earlier stages of the EU within a restricted domain of voting rules, and conclude that Germany should receive more than the other three large countries under the optimal voting rule.
    Date: 2011–03
  2. By: Casas-Arce, Pablo (Universitat Pompeu Fabra); Saiz, Albert (Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: We develop a model that nests previous explanations for women under-representation in positions of power. Focusing on democratic electoral dynamics, our framework delineates the three types of mechanisms that may be at play: consumer demand, candidate supply, and internal party dynamics beyond electoral markets. We use Spain's Equality Law, requiring a 40 percent female quota in electoral lists, to test the alternative theories. The law was enacted by the social-democratic party after the surprise parliamentary electoral results following the Madrid terrorist bombings, and was therefore completely unexpected by regional political machines. The law only applied to towns with populations above 5000, so we can use a treatment-control, before-and-after discontinuity design to learn about the impact of female politicians in local elections. Our evidence is most consistent with the existence of entrenched male-dominated political machines capturing influential power positions within the parties.
    Keywords: female political representation
    JEL: J16 J71
    Date: 2011–04
  3. By: Cousins, Mel
    Abstract: Most studies of the Irish Parliamentary party and its leaders have, understandably, focused on issues directly concerning Ireland. There have been relatively few studies of the role of the Parliamentary party in broader British politics, particularly in relation to social issues. In order to assess this issue over a period of time, this study examines the division lists of the House of Commons in relation to votes on selected ‘social’ issues in the 1880s. An analysis of the Irish Parliamentary party’s voting record in the 1880s throws some light on the party’s broader views on social issues. The study examines the voting behaviour of the Irish Parliamentary party in the context of that of the other major political groupings in the 1880s Parliament. It looks in particular at i) The extent to which the Irish party members actually voted in comparison with MPs overall; ii) the internal cohesion of the Irish Parliamentary party votes, i.e. the extent to which those members voting expressed the same views; iii) their ‘likeness’ with the voting patterns of other major political groupings, i.e. the extent to which the Irish party votes were in line with other groups; and iv) the extent to which (if any) this changed over time.
    Keywords: Roll-call voting analysis; Irish parliamentary party; social issues; nineteenth century Irish history
    JEL: I00 D72
    Date: 2011–04
  4. By: Buechel, Berno
    Abstract: We discuss to which extent the median voter theorem extends to the domain of single-peaked preferences on median spaces. After observing that on this domain a Condorcet winner need not exist, we show that if a Condorcet winner does exist, then it coincides with the median alternative ('the median voter'). Based on this result, we propose two non-cooperative games that implement the unique strategy-proof social choice rule on this domain. --
    Date: 2011
  5. By: Ron Johnston; Charles Pattie
    Abstract: The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government formed in May 2010 in the United Kingdom has instituted a programme of considerable electoral and constitutional reform. The first major element of this was the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill, which was debated at great length in Parliament over a five‐month period. During its passage through the House of Lords debate over this Bill raised a number of issues relating to both the country’s constitution and the role and operations of that House. This paper uses those debates, in particular the sections dealing with the number of MPs and the rules for defining constituencies, to illustrate those substantial concerns and their implications for the future role of the House of Lords.
    Keywords: electoral reform, constitution, House of Lords
    JEL: H7
    Date: 2011–04
  6. By: Rainer Forst
    Abstract: This paper argues against three traditional dogmas in political theory: the thesis of the (conceptual and practical) incompatibility between democracy and justice; the idea that a context of justice only exists within the confines of a state; and the view that political democracy presupposes a demos organised within a state. Only if these dogmas are overcome can a proper conception of transnational justice and democracy be worked out. The key to this is the right picture of justice as based on a principle of discursive justification.
    Keywords: democracy; democratization; discourse; normative political theory; political science; supranationalism
    Date: 2011–04–15
  7. By: Monica Martinez-Bravo; Gerard Padró i Miquel; Nancy Qian; Yang Yao
    Abstract: We use unique survey data to study whether the introduction of local elections in China made local leaders more accountable towards local constituents. We develop a simple model to predict the effects on different policies of increasing local leader accountability, taking into account that there is an autocratic upper government. We exploit variation in the timing of the top-down introduction of elections across villages to estimate the causal effects of elections and find that elections affected policy outcomes in a way that is consistent with the predicted effects of increased local leader accountability.
    JEL: H4 P16
    Date: 2011–04
  8. By: Polborn, Sarah (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business)
    Abstract: The costs of the current suboptimal carbon abatement policy are likely in the range of 3 to 6 trillion 2005 US dollars. Using methods from the political economy of environmental policy, the paper develops a new carbon abatement policy instrument, carbon securities. A carbon security entitles its owner to a fixed proportion of ex ante unknown total emissions. This creates an additional group of stakeholders on the side of the issue that has traditionally been underrepresented. The advantages over existing systems include an equilibrium carbon price closer to the social optimum, a more predictable environmental policy, and higher investment in abatement technology
    Keywords: Carbon abatement; environmental policy; global warming; interest groups; lobbying; policy instrument design; political process
    JEL: D72 Q54 Q58
    Date: 2011–09–07
  9. By: Ludwig, Sandra
    Abstract: We study a model of imperfectly discriminating contests with two ex ante symmetric agents. We consider four institutional settings: Contestants move either sequentially or simultaneously and in addition their types are either public or private information. We find that an effort-maximizing designer of the contest prefers the sequential to the simultaneous setting from an ex ante perspective. Moreover, the sequential contest Pareto dominates the simultaneous one when the contestants’ types are sufficiently negatively correlated. Regarding the information structure, the designer ex ante prefers private information while the contestants prefer public information.
    Keywords: sequential contests; asymmetric information; rent-seeking
    JEL: D72 C72
    Date: 2011–04
  10. By: Zudenkova, Galina
    Abstract: This paper contrasts the incentives for cronyism in business, the public sector and politics within an agency problem model with moral hazard. The analysis is focused on the institutional differences between private, public and political organizations. In business, when facing a residual claimant contract, a chief manager ends up with a relatively moderate first-best level of cronyism within a firm. The institutional framework of the public sector does not allow explicit contracting, which leads to a more severe cronyism problem within public organizations. Finally, it is shown that the nature of political appointments (such that the subordinate's reappointment is conditioned on the chief's re-election) together with implicit contracting makes political cronyism the most extreme case.
    Keywords: Cronyism; Meritocracy; Manager; Bureaucrat; Politician.
    JEL: D73 D86 D72
    Date: 2011–03–15
  11. By: Oechssler, Jörg
    Keywords: social preferences; finitely repeated games; inequity aversion; ERC
    JEL: C73 C72
    Date: 2011–04–11

General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.