New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2011‒11‒01
twelve papers chosen by

  1. An empirical analysis of valence in electoral competition By Fabian Gouret; Guillaume Hollard; Stéphane Rossignol
  2. Trespassing the Threshold of Relevance: Media Exposure and Opinion Polls of the Sweden Democrats, 2006-2010 By Bevelander, Pieter; Hellström, Anders
  3. Living under the ‘right’ government: does political ideology matter to trust in political institutions? By Justina AV Fischer
  4. Public Goods and Voting on Formal Sanction Schemes: An Experiment By Louis Puttermann; Jean-Robert Tyran; Kenju Kamei
  5. Measuring Power and Satisfaction in Societies with Opinion Leaders: Dictator and Opinion Leader Properties By René Van Den Brink; Agnieszka Rusinowska; Frank Steffen
  6. A Political Theory of Populism By Daron Acemoglu; Georgy Egorov; Konstantin Sonin
  7. Growth and election outcomes in a developing country By Gupta, Poonam; Panagariya, Arvind
  8. Transparency without Accountability By Mwangi wa Githinji; Frank Holmquist
  9. Political Institutions and Public Policy: The Co-Decision Procedure in the European Union and the Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy By Christophe Crombez; Johan F.M. Swinnen;
  10. Ethnic Diversity, Democracy, and Health: Theory and Evidence By Go Kotera; Nobuhiro Mizuno; Keisuke Okada; Sovannroeun Samreth
  11. Why Do Voters Dismantle Checks and Balances? By Daron Acemoglu; James A. Robinson; Ragnar Torvik
  12. Race v. Suffrage: The Determinants of Development in Mississippi By Bertocchi, Graziella; Dimico, Arcangelo

  1. By: Fabian Gouret (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I); Guillaume Hollard (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris); Stéphane Rossignol (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I)
    Abstract: Spatial models of voting have dominated mathematical political theory since the seminal work of Downs. The Downsian model assumes that each elector votes on the basis of his utility function which depends only on the distance between his preferred policy platform and the ones proposed by candidates. A succession of papers introduces valence issues into the model, i.e. candidates' characteristics which are independent of the platforms they propose. So far, little is known about which of the existing utility functions used in valence models is the most empirically founded. Using a large survey run prior to the 2007 French presidential election, we evaluate and compare several spatial voting models with valence. Existing models perform poorly in ¯tting the data. However, strong empirical regularities emerge. This leads us to a new model of valence that we call the partisan valence model. This new model makes sense theoretically and is sound empirically
    Date: 2011
  2. By: Bevelander, Pieter (Malmö University); Hellström, Anders (Malmö University)
    Abstract: In September 2010 the anti-immigration party, the Sweden Democrats (SD), crossed the electoral threshold to the Swedish parliament (Riksdagen) for the first time with 5.7 percent of the total votes. The aim of this article is to analyze the effect of the media exposure on fluctuations in opinion polls for political parties; i.e. the media effect. In particular to what extent this can explain the electoral fortunes of the SD. We correlate the number of articles published in the print media with the results of the SD opinion polls as well as the opinion poll results of all the other parliamentary parties during a 48 month period, from the month after the 2006 elections (October 2006) up to September 2010. Our results show that the media effect is more important for the SD compared to the other parliamentary parties, similar in size. The media effect also differs between the six newspapers put into scrutiny in this study, the leading daily Dagens Nyheter (DN) had a considerably stronger effect on the opinion fluctuations, compared to the other five newspapers. To conclude, media exposure sometimes matters, especially for 'new parties', but neither to the same degree everywhere nor at the same time. Ultimately, our findings show that the threshold of relevance does not perfectly match with the crossing of the electoral threshold to the national parliament, as suggested in the literature to explain the electoral fortunes of new anti-immigration parties prior to their entry into parliament.
    Keywords: Populist Radical Right Parties (RPP), The Sweden Democrats (SD), public opinion, opinion polls
    JEL: Z10
    Date: 2011–10
  3. By: Justina AV Fischer (Faculty of Economics, University of Rome "Tor Vergata")
    Abstract: This paper asks whether trust in political institutions depends on individual’s political leaning and the political ideology of the national government. We employ information on 140'000 individuals in 30 democratic OECD countries from the World Values Survey, 1981 – 2007, and estimate so-called micro-based pseudo-panel two-way fixed effects models. Distinguishing between extreme and moderate versions of leftist and rightist political leaning, our estimates reveal that political trust increases non-linearly in the degree of individual’s conservatism. We also find that political leaning is not instrumental to improving one's own socio-economic situation, thus rather constituting an expressive behavior. If government ideology matches individual’s political preferences, trust in political institutions is increased. In contrast, the ‘apolitical’ appears to distrust the political system as such. We also find evidence for a symmetric, but incomplete convergence of party ideologies to the median voter position. Implications for vote abstention are discussed.
    Keywords: political trust, government ideology, political leaning, World Values Survey
    JEL: D72 H11 Z13
    Date: 2011–10–14
  4. By: Louis Puttermann; Jean-Robert Tyran; Kenju Kamei
    Abstract: The burgeoning literature on the use of sanctions to support public goods provision has largely neglected the use of formal or centralized sanctions. We let subjects playing a linear public goods game vote on the parameters of a formal sanction scheme capable both of resolving and of exacerbating the free-rider problem, depending on parameter settings. Most groups quickly learned to choose parameters inducing efficient outcomes. But despite uniform money payoffs implying common interest in those parameters, voting patterns suggest significant influence of cooperative orientation, political attitudes, and of gender and intelligence.
    Keywords: Public good; voluntary contribution; formal sanction; experiment; penalty; voting
    JEL: C91 C92 D71 D72 H41
    Date: 2010–12
  5. By: René Van Den Brink (Department of Econometrics - Timbergen Institute - VU University); Agnieszka Rusinowska (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I); Frank Steffen (University of Liverpool Management School (ULMS) - University of Liverpool Management School)
    Abstract: A well known and established model in communication policy in sociology and marketing is that of opinion leadership. Opinion leaders are actors in a society who are able to affect the behavior of other members of the society called followers. Hence, opinion leaders might have a considerable impact on the behavior of markets and other social agglomerations being made up of individual actors choosing among a number of alternatives. For marketing or policy purposes it appears to be interesting to investigate the effect of different opinion leader-follower structures in markets or any other collective decision-making situations in a society. We study a two-action model in which the members of a society are to choose one action, for instance, to buy or not to buy a certain joint product, or to vote yes or no on a specific proposal. Each of the actors has an inclination to choose one of the actions. By definition opinion leaders have some power over their followers, and they exercise this power by influencing the behavior of their followers, i.e. their choice of action. After all actors have chosen their actions, a decision-making mechanism determines the collective choice resulting out of the individual choices. Making use of bipartite digraphs we introduce novel satisfaction and power scores which allow us to analyze the actors' satisfaction and power with respect to the collective choice for societies with different opinion leader-follower structures. Moreover, we study common dictator and opinion leader properties of the above scores and illustrate our findings for a society with five members.
    Keywords: Bipartite digraph ; influence ; inclination ; collective choice ; opinion leader ; follower ; satisfaction ; power ; dictator properties ; opinion leader properties
    Date: 2011
  6. By: Daron Acemoglu; Georgy Egorov; Konstantin Sonin
    Date: 2011–10–20
  7. By: Gupta, Poonam; Panagariya, Arvind
    Abstract: With the exception Brander and Drazen (2008), who use a comprehensive cross-country database consisting of both developed and developing countries, the hypothesis that rapid growth helps incumbents win elections has been tested exclusively for the developed countries (e.g., Ray Fair 1978). But since sustained rapid growth offers the prospect of pulling vast numbers of the voters out of poverty within a generation, such an effect is far more likely to be present in the developing rather than developed countries. In this paper, we offer the first test of the hypothesis on a large developing and poor country, India, which has seen its economy grow 8 to 9 percent recently. We first generalize the Fair model to allow for multiple candidates instead for just two and then test it using cross-state data. We find quantitatively large and statistically robust effect of growth on the prospects of the candidates of the state incumbent parties to win elections. Specifically, we use the data on 422 candidates in the 2009 parliamentary elections and show that the candidates of incumbent parties in high-growth states have much better prospects of victory than those in low-growth states.
    Keywords: India; elections; growth; incumbents
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2011–10
  8. By: Mwangi wa Githinji (University of Massachusetts Amherst); Frank Holmquist (Hampshire College)
    Abstract: Kenya has been going through a period of political reform from 1991 when section 2A of the constitution that had made Kenya a de jure one party state was repealed. The reform followed a prolonged struggle by citizens both within and without the country. Their call for democracy was one that, post the fall of the Berlin wall, was embraced by western countries. Via diplomatic pressure and conditionality on aid, western donors played an important role in the repeal of section 2a, the return of multi-party elections and in the creation and reform of a number of political institutions and offices. In the main these changes were pushed by the donors and though supported by the opposition in Kenya they did not rise organically from the struggle over political power in Kenya. In this paper, we argue that although these reforms led to a heightened awareness of the ills of the political class, they failed to actually hold members of this class accountable for their transgressions. We argue that these institutions presupposed the existence of an electorate with an effective set of identities that belonged to the larger Kenyan nation. This broader construct of society did not exist. A history of economic and political inequality from the inception of modern Kenya had resulted in a divided population that was unable to exercise this mandate, and could ultimately discipline politicians when they failed. In actuality, since the politics was not based on broader Kenyan national interests but rather narrower personal interests construed as ethno-nationalist, the political class was not accountable to the larger Kenyan constituency. JEL Categories: O, P16, Z13
    Keywords: Political Economy, Ethnicity, Development, Corruption, Kenya
    Date: 2011–10
  9. By: Christophe Crombez; Johan F.M. Swinnen;
    Abstract: In this paper we study the implications of the introduction of the co-decision procedure for the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy and its reform. We use a game-theoretical model of the legislative procedures in the European Union and show that the move from consultation to co-decision implies a shift of power from the Commission to the European Parliament. The implications for the Common Agricultural Policy depend on the configuration of preferences, the location of the status quo, and the bargaining powers in the Conciliation Committee. If the member states and the European Parliament are more opposed to reform than is the Commission, the introduction of co-decision reduces the prospects for reform of the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy.
    Date: 2011
  10. By: Go Kotera (Institute of Economic Research, Kyoto University); Nobuhiro Mizuno (Faculty of Commerce and Economics, Chiba University of Commerce); Keisuke Okada (Graduate School of Economics, Kyoto University,); Sovannroeun Samreth (Faculty of Liberal Arts, Saitama University)
    Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between ethnic composition, political regimes, and the quality of public policy. Specifically, based on the citizen-candidate model, we assume individuals who have heterogeneous policy preferences and investigate how ethnic diversity affects selection of a politician and the resulting policy choices in democratic and dictatorial regimes. In the theoretical analysis, our model derives (1) a negative relationship between ethnic diversity and the quality of public policy, both in a democracy with a dominant group and in a dictatorship, and (2) a non-monotonic relationship in a democracy without a dominant group. In the empirical examination, using health outcomes as the proxy for the quality of public policy, our theoretical results are supported by evidence from the data of 154 countries.
    Keywords: Citizen-candidate model; Ethnic fractionalization; Infant mortality.
    Date: 2011–10
  11. By: Daron Acemoglu; James A. Robinson; Ragnar Torvik
    Date: 2011–10–20
  12. By: Bertocchi, Graziella (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia); Dimico, Arcangelo (Queen's University Belfast)
    Abstract: We investigate the long term determinants of political and economic outcomes over a new data set composed of Mississippi counties. We analyze the effect of disfranchisement on voting registration at the end of the nineteenth century (1896-9), as well as the impact of voting registration on education outcomes at different points in time, namely in 1917 and in the 1950s. Finally, we turn to the determinants of a broad array of development indicators for the year 1960 and for the 1960-2000 period. Our main conclusion is that race, rather than political institutions and education policies, is the main force driving the above outcomes.
    Keywords: race, institutions, development, inequality, education
    JEL: E25 H52 J15 N31 O11 P16
    Date: 2011–10

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.