New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2011‒10‒15
eight papers chosen by

  1. Quantifying Parliamentary Representation of Constituents' Preferences with Quasi-Experimental Data By David Stadelmann; Marco Portmann; Reiner Eichenberger
  2. CHILLING EFFECTS: The influence of partner incarceration on political participation By Naomi F. Sugie
  3. An international comparison of voting by committees By Alexander Jung
  4. Compulsory voting and tax revenues By Mutascu, Mihai
  5. Delegated Activism and Disclosure By Dasgupta, Amil; Zachariadis, Konstantinos
  6. From Taxes to Politics, from Politics to Taxes: Evidence of Yardstick Competition in the Italian Municipalities By Ilaria Petrarca, IMT Lucca, Lucca Italy; Fabio Padovano, University of Rennes I, CREM-CNRS, Condorcet Center
  7. NIMBY Clout on the 2011 Italian Nuclear Referendum By G. Pignataro; G. Prarolo
  8. Electoral Cycles in Active Labor Market Policies By Mario Mechtel; Niklas Potrafke

  1. By: David Stadelmann; Marco Portmann; Reiner Eichenberger
    Abstract: We assess the effect of constituents’ preferences on legislators’ decisions within a quasiexperimental setting: In the Swiss referendum process, citizens and legislators reveal their preferences for legislative proposals. We match roll call votes of all Swiss legislators on 102 legislative proposals with revealed constituents’ preferences on exactly the same issues from 1996 to 2008. The setting allows us to quantify the quality of parliamentary representation and we identify conditions which affect convergence between constituents’ preferences and legislators’ decisions. Results show that a legislator’s probability to accept a law proposal increases by 16.8 percentage points when district voters accept the proposal.
    Keywords: Political Representation; Constituents’ Preferences; Spatial Voting Models; Referenda
    JEL: D7 H7
    Date: 2011–01
  2. By: Naomi F. Sugie (Princeton University)
    Abstract: The prevalence of criminal justice involvement among low-income minority men has had many negative and often unforeseen consequences for ex-felons, their families, and their neighborhoods. One consequence felon disenfranchisement laws and low levels of political engagement among ex-felons more generally has measurably altered the outcomes of state and national elections. At the same time, studies in political science more generally provide strong empirical evidence that spouses and partners influence an individual‘s political behavior. Drawing on these two areas of research, this paper considers whether political disengagement among ex-felons has had negative consequences for the voting behavior and political engagement of partners. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Survey, the results find that partner incarceration is negatively associated with voting and political involvement. This association is entirely mediated by a partner‘s voting behaviors and his beliefs about his voting eligibility, regardless of state disenfranchisement laws. The political disengagement of not only ex-felons but also their partners has important implications for theories of social exclusion and the governance of marginalized groups. A large and growing population of the politically disengaged, economically marginal, and socially excluded likely has critical repercussions for US politics, democracy, and our social contract.
    Keywords: disenfranchisement, voting, prison, minority men, families
    JEL: D10 I39 J12 J13 I21
    Date: 2011–07
  3. By: Alexander Jung (European Central Bank, Kaiserstrasse 29, D-60311 Frankfurt, Germany.)
    Abstract: This paper provides new empirical evidence on policy-makers’ voting patterns on interest rates. Applying (pooled) Taylor-type rules and using real-time information available from published inflation reports and voting records, the paper tests for heterogeneity among committee members in three monetary policy committees: the FOMC, the Bank of England’s MPC and the Riksbank’s Executive Board. It separately estimates the empirical reaction functions with and without imposing the long-run restriction from the inertia, thereby distinguishing between the short-run and long-run responses of members to incoming information. Unconstrained reaction functions that measure the short-term response show that preference heterogeneity and some diversity of views on the inflation and economic outlook was present in all three committees. By contrast, constrained reaction functions that measure the long-term response find that evidence in favour of preference heterogeneity in all three committees is at best weak. Preference distributions in all three committees were fairly symmetric around the respective mean and diversity of views was only observed in the case of Sweden when including the financial crisis episode. A cluster analysis of the Riksbank’s Executive Board, which only comprises internal members, confirms that its members have disperse preferences and views on the transmission mechanism. For the FOMC and for the MPC this analysis suggests that among several background characteristics (membership, background, tenure), membership is a potentially relevant factor that may explain some of the differences in preferences. JEL Classification: C23, D72, D83, E58.
    Keywords: Monetary policy committee, Taylor rule, collective decision-making, voting behavior, pooled regressions, heterogeneous preferences.
    Date: 2011–10
  4. By: Mutascu, Mihai
    Abstract: Using a panel-model approach, this paper investigates the validity of the relationship between level of tax revenues and type of voting. The data-set covers the period 2000-2010, and includes 135 countries. The main finding points out that the assumed function is linear and the compulsory vote tends to increase the tax revenues collected by public authority. The analysis in this paper covers the “gap” in the literature in this field.
    Keywords: Tax revenues; Compulsory voting; Voluntary voting; Effects; Tax policy
    JEL: D70 H20 C23
    Date: 2011–10–09
  5. By: Dasgupta, Amil; Zachariadis, Konstantinos
    Abstract: Mutual funds are significant blockholders in many corporations. Concerns that funds vote in a pro-management manner to garner lucrative pensions contracts led the SEC to mandate the disclosure of proxy votes. We present a model of mutual fund voting in the presence of potential business ties. We characterize the limits of delegated activism by mutual funds pre- and post-disclosure and show that disclosure is not a panacea: for some proposals disclosure hurts activism. The desirability of disclosure also depends on the distribution of business ties amongst mutual funds. We provide support for existing empirical findings and generate new testable implications.
    Keywords: Activist Investors; Corporate Governance; Delegated Portfolio Management; Mutual Funds
    JEL: G0 G3
    Date: 2011–10
  6. By: Ilaria Petrarca, IMT Lucca, Lucca Italy; Fabio Padovano, University of Rennes I, CREM-CNRS, Condorcet Center
    Abstract: Strategic interaction in local tax setting is motivated with yardstick competition only when the fiscal decision influences the incumbents’ probability of being re-elected. Most of the previous analyses draw conclusions on yardstick competition without estimating this link or failing to find any empirical support for it. This paper, on the contrary, conducts a comprehensive test of yardstick competition on Italian Municipalities during the period 1995-2004. First, a vote popularity function is estimated. The empirical findings verify the economic voting behavior and are robust to alternative empirical specifications of the dependent variable. Then, a spatial tax setting equation is estimated. The results show a pattern of mimicking driven by a positive spatial lag coefficient and a negative spatial error coefficient. Finally, the estimated spatial correlation coefficients in time are used to investigate the dynamics of strategic interaction. The results depict a quasi monotonic pattern of convergence of the coefficients towards the lowest levels of spatial interaction, suggesting that a progressive reduction of the mimicking behavior of the incumbents has taken place.
    Keywords: Yardstick competition, vote popularity function, spatial panel regression
    JEL: C21 D72 H71
    Date: 2011–07
  7. By: G. Pignataro; G. Prarolo
    Abstract: This paper claims that the 2011 Italian referendum on nuclear power is taking shape as a clean laboratory for the measurement of one of the main aspects of the NIMBY (Not In My BackYard) issue. Since the citizens voted on the possibility for the government to set up new nuclear plants in well-known sites, we identify community preferences for their locations across Italian municipalities using the turnout rate. The Fukushima nuclear disaster that happened a few months before the referendum may have magnified negative attitudes toward nuclear power. Thus, taking into account regional and political features that may influence ideological aversion to nuclear power, we still find highly negative correlation between distance from nuclear sites and the turnout rate.
    JEL: D72 H41 Q48
    Date: 2011–09
  8. By: Mario Mechtel (Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, Germany); Niklas Potrafke (Department of Economics, University of Konstanz, Germany)
    Abstract: We examine how electoral motives influence active labor market policies that promote (short term) job-creation. Such policies reduce measures of unemployment. Using German state data for the period 1985 to 2004, we show that election-motivated politicians pushed jobpromotion schemes before elections.
    Keywords: political business cycles, opportunistic politicians, active labor market policies
    JEL: P16 J08 H72 E62 H61
    Date: 2011–10–06

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