New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2011‒11‒07
five papers chosen by

  1. Knowledge is power: A theory of information, income and welfare spending By Lind, J.T.; Rohner, D.
  2. Establishing electoral administration systems in new democracies By Kawanaka, Takeshi; Asaba, Yuki
  3. Meritocracy Voting: Measuring the Unmeasurable By Peter C.B. Phillips
  4. Democracy and Expropriations By Christensen, Jonas Gade
  5. Reelection Incentivesand Political Budget Cycle: evidence from Brazil By Fabio Alvim Klein

  1. By: Lind, J.T.; Rohner, D.
    Abstract: No voters cast their votes based on perfect information, but better educated and richer voters are on average better informed than others. We develop a model where the voting mistakes resulting from low political knowledge reduce the weight of poor voters, and cause parties to choose political platforms that are better aligned with the preferences of rich voters. In US election survey data, we find that income is more important in affecting voting behavior for more informed voters than for less informed voters, as predicted by the model. Further, in a panel of US states we find that when there is a strong correlation between income and political information, Congress representatives vote more conservatively, which is also in line with our theory.
    JEL: D31 D72 D82 H53
    Date: 2011–10–28
  2. By: Kawanaka, Takeshi; Asaba, Yuki
    Abstract: The difficulty of holding fair elections continues to be a critical problem in many newly democratized countries. The core of the problem is the electoral administration's lack of political autonomy and capability to regulate fraud. This paper seeks to identify the conditions for establishing an autonomous and capable electoral administration system. An electoral administration system has two main functions: to disclose the nature of elections and to prevent fraud. We argue in this paper that an autonomous and capable electoral administration system exists if the major political players have the incentive to disclose the information on the elections and to secure the ruler's credible commitment to fair elections. We examine this argument through comparative case studies of Korea and the Philippines. Despite similar historical and institutional settings, their election commissions exhibit contrasting features. The difference in the incentive structures of the major political players seems to have caused the divergence in the institutional evolution of the election commissions in the two countries.
    Keywords: Developing countries, South Korea, Philippines, Elections, Electoral systems, Democracy, Institution
    Date: 2011–08
  3. By: Peter C.B. Phillips (Cowles Foundation, Yale University)
    Abstract: Learned societies commonly carry out selection processes to add new fellows to an existing fellowship. Criteria vary across societies but are typically based on subjective judgments concerning the merit of individuals who are nominated for fellowships. These subjective assessments may be made by existing fellows as they vote in elections to determine the new fellows or they may be decided by a selection committee of fellows and officers of the society who determine merit after reviewing nominations and written assessments. Human judgment inevitably plays a central role in these determinations and, notwithstanding its limitations, is usually regarded as being a necessary ingredient in making an overall assessment of qualifications for fellowship. The present paper suggests a mechanism by which these merit assessments may be complemented with a quantitative rule that incorporates both subjective and objective elements. The goal of 'measuring merit' may be elusive but quantitative assessment rules can help to widen the effective electorate (for instance, by including the decisions of editors, the judgments of independent referees, and received opinion about research) and mitigate distortions that can arise from cluster effects, invisible college coalition voting and inner sanctum bias. The rule considered here is designed to assist the selection process by explicitly taking into account subjective assessments of individual candidates for election as well as direct quantitative measures of quality obtained from bibliometric data. The methodology has application to a wide arena of quality assessment and professional ranking exercises.
    Keywords: Bibliometric data, Election, Fellowship, Measurement, Meritocracy, Peer review, Quantification, Subjective assessment, Voting
    JEL: A14 Z13
    Date: 2011–10
  4. By: Christensen, Jonas Gade (University of Bergen)
    Abstract: In this paper I develop a voting model that shows the different effects of democratic competition and political constraints on the probability of expropriations of foreign investments. I show that these two aspects of liberal democracy might have very different effects on expropriation risks. Particularly interesting is the prediction that for low to intermediate levels of political competition for executive power, increased competition will lead to higher risk of expropriation. Testing this and other predictions on panel data for actual expropriations in 27 developing countries, I find support for the predictions from the model.
    Keywords: Democracy; Expropriations; Foreign investments
    JEL: D72 F21 F23
    Date: 2011–02–02
  5. By: Fabio Alvim Klein
    Date: 2011

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