New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2011‒06‒25
five papers chosen by

  1. Euclidean Revealed Preferences: Testing the Spatial Voting Model By Marc Henry; Ismael Mourifié
  2. Symmetric and Asymmetric Committees By Ben-Yashar, Ruth; Danziger, Leif
  3. Evaluating election platforms: a task for fiscal councils? Scope and rules of the game in view of 25 years of Dutch practice By Bos, Frits; Teulings, Coen
  4. Strategy-Proof Compromises By Peter Postl
  5. Income, Democracy, and the Cunning of Reason By Daniel Treisman

  1. By: Marc Henry; Ismael Mourifié
    Abstract: In the spatial model of voting, voters choose the candidate closest to them in the ideological space. Recent work by (Degan and Merlo 2009) shows that it is falsifiable on the basis of individual voting data in multiple elections. We show how to tackle the fact that the model only partially identifies the distribution of voting profiles and we give a formal revealed preference test of the spatial voting model in 3 national elections in the US, and strongly reject the spatial model in all cases. We also construct confidence regions for partially identified voter characteristics in an augmented model with unobserved valence dimension, and identify the amount of voter heterogeneity necessary to reconcile the data with spatial preferences. <P>
    Keywords: revealed preference, partial identification, elliptic preferences, voting behaviour,
    Date: 2011–06–01
  2. By: Ben-Yashar, Ruth (Bar-Ilan University); Danziger, Leif (Ben Gurion University)
    Abstract: This paper studies the assignment of decision makers to two committees that make decisions by a simple majority rule. There is an even number of decision makers at each of various skill levels and each committee has an odd number of members. Surprisingly, even with the symmetric assumptions in the spirit of Condorcet, a symmetric composition of committees is not always optimal. In other words, decision makers with different skill levels should not generally be evenly divided among the committees. However, in the special case of only two skill levels, it is optimal to compose the committees evenly.
    Keywords: committees, collective decision making, simple majority rule
    JEL: D70 D71 D72
    Date: 2011–06
  3. By: Bos, Frits; Teulings, Coen
    Abstract: In some countries - the Netherlands, UK and USA - the expected economic implications of election platforms of political parties are evaluated by independent economic institutions prior to the election. This paper analyzes the merits and limitations of this process, taking 25 years of Dutch experience as a point of reference. In particular in times of financial crisis and unsustainable public finance, evaluation of election platforms can serve as a disciplining device for unrealistic or (time) inconsistent promises by politicians. More in general, it can help political parties to credibly inform voters about the implications of their platforms, to design more efficient policies and to reach consensus on them. It can also create a level playing field for political parties not represented in the government, in particular those with limited resources for economic information and expertise. However, there may be adverse effects, in particular when trade-offs are presented in an unbalanced way or when the rules of the evaluation provide too much room for gaming and free lunches.
    Keywords: Evaluation of election platforms; Fiscal watchdogs
    JEL: E62 D70 H0 E61 A11
    Date: 2011–06
  4. By: Peter Postl
    Abstract: We study strategy-proof decision rules in the variants of the canonical public good model proposed by Borgers and Postl (2009). In this setup, we fully characterize the set of budget-balanced strategy-proof deterministic mechanisms, which are simple threshold rules. For smooth probabilistic mechanisms we provide a necessary and sufficient condition for dominant strategy implementation. When allowing for discontinuities in the mechanism, our necessary condition remains valid, but additional conditions must hold for sufficiency. We also show that, among ex posts efficient rules, only dictatorial ones are strategy-proof. While familiar in spirit, this result is not the consequence of any known result in the literature.
    Keywords: Compromise, Dominant strategy implementation
    JEL: C72 D70 D80
    Date: 2011–06
  5. By: Daniel Treisman
    Abstract: A long-standing debate pits those who think economic development leads to democratization against those who argue that both result from distant historical causes. Using the most comprehensive estimates of national income available, I show that development is associated with more democratic government—but in the medium run (10 to 20 years). The reason is that, for the most part, higher income only prompts a breakthrough to more democratic politics after the incumbent leader falls from power. And in the short run, faster economic growth increases the leader’s odds of survival. This logic—for which I provide evidence at the levels of individual countries and the world—helps explain why democracy advances in waves followed by periods of stasis and why dictators, concerned only to entrench themselves in power, end up preparing their countries to leap to a higher level of democracy when they are eventually overthrown.
    JEL: D78 I39 N10 O10
    Date: 2011–06

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