New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2011‒12‒13
eleven papers chosen by

  1. A Model of Party Discipline in a Congress By Zudenkova, Galina
  2. Optimal Districting with Endogenous Party Platforms By E Bracco
  3. Local politics and economic geography By Berliant, Marcus; Tabuchi, Takatoshi
  4. On allocating seats to parties and districts: apportionments By Gabrielle Demange
  5. Approximate Judgement Aggregation By Ilan Nehama
  6. Ideology and endogenous constitutions. By Riboni, Alessandro
  7. Towards Detecting and Measuring Ballot Stuffing By Dmitriy Vorobyev
  8. Homeownership, Social Capital and Parental Voice in Schooling By Grimes, Arthur; Stillman, Steven; Young, Chris
  9. Resource Windfalls, Political Regimes, and Political Stability By Caselli, Francesco; Tesei, Andrea
  10. A Note on a Weighted Voting Experiment: Human Mistakes in Cooperative Games By Eric Guerci; Nobuyuki Hanaki; Naoki Watanabe; Gabriele Esposito; Xiaoyan Lu
  11. Manipulation in Group Argument Evaluation. By Caminada, Martin; Pigozzi, Gabriella; Podlaszewski, Mikolaj

  1. By: Zudenkova, Galina
    Abstract: This paper studies party discipline in a congress within a political agency framework with retrospective voting. Party discipline serves as an incentive device to induce office- motivated congress members to perform in line with the party leadership's objective of controlling both the executive and the legislative branches of government. I show fi…rst that the same party is more likely to control both branches of government (i.e., uni…ed government) the stronger the party discipline in the congress is. Second, the leader of the governing party imposes more party discipline under uni…ed government than does the opposition leader under divided government. Moreover, the incumbents' aggregate performance increases with party discipline, so a representative voter becomes better off. JEL classi…cation: D72. Keywords: Party discipline; Political agency; Retrospective voting; Office-motivated politicians.
    Keywords: Disciplina de partit, 32 - Política,
    Date: 2011
  2. By: E Bracco
    Abstract: This paper proposes a theory of socially optimal districting in a legislative-election model with endogenous party platforms. We generalize the model of Coate and Knight (2007), allowing parties to strategically condition their platforms on the districting. The socially optimal districting re ects the ideological leaning of the population, so that parties internalize voters' preferences in their policy platforms. The optimal seat-vote curve is unbiased when voters are risk-neutral, and -contrary to previous findings-biased against the largest partisan group when voters are risk-averse. The model is then calibrated by an econometric analysis of the elections of U.S. State legislators during the 1990s.
    Date: 2011
  3. By: Berliant, Marcus; Tabuchi, Takatoshi
    Abstract: We consider information aggregation in national and local elections when voters are mobile and might sort themselves into local districts. Using a standard model of private information for voters in elections in combination with a New Economic Geography model, agglomeration occurs for economic reasons whereas voter stratification occurs due to political preferences. We compare a national election, where full information equivalence is attained, with local elections in a three district model. A stable equilibrium accounting for both the economic and political sectors is shown to exist. Restricting to an example, we show that full information equivalence holds in only one of the three districts when transportation cost is low. The important comparative static is that full information equivalence is a casualty of free trade. When trade is more costly, people tend to agglomerate for economic reasons, resulting in full information equivalence in the political sector. Under free trade, people sort themselves into districts, most of which are polarized, resulting in no full information equivalence in these districts. We examine the implications of the model using data on corruption in the legislature of the state of Alabama and in the Japanese Diet.
    Keywords: information aggregation in elections; informative voting; new economic geography; local politics
    JEL: D82 D72 R12
    Date: 2011–12–03
  4. By: Gabrielle Demange (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - Ecole des Ponts ParisTech - Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris - ENS Paris - INRA, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris)
    Abstract: The paper presents the problem of choosing the representatives in an assembly when the whole electoral region is subdivided into electoral districts. Because of the two dimensions, geographical (districts) and political (parties), the problem is called bi-apportionment. The main focus of the paper is to discuss fairness and proportionality axioms as well as their implementation.
    Keywords: Party Proportional Representation ; Power Indics ; (Bi-) Apportionment ; (Bi-) Divisor Methods ; Fair Shares
    Date: 2011–11
  5. By: Ilan Nehama (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)
    Abstract: In this paper we analyze judgement aggregation problems in which a group of agents independently votes on a set of complex propositions that has some interdependency constraint between them (e.g., transitivity when describing preferences). We consider the issue of judgement aggregation from the perspective of approximation. That is, we generalize the previous results by studying approximate judgement aggregation. We relax the main two constraints assumed in the current literature, Consistency and Independence and consider mechanisms that only approximately satisfy these constraints, that is, satisfy them up to a small portion of the inputs. The main question we raise is whether the relaxation of these notions significantly alters the class of satisfying aggregation mechanisms. The recent works for preference aggregation of Kalai, Mossel, and Keller fit into this framework. The main result of this paper is that, as in the case of preference aggregation, in the case of a subclass of a natural class of aggregation problems termed `truth-functional agendas', the set of satisfying aggregation mechanisms does not extend non-trivially when relaxing the constraints. Our proof techniques involve Boolean Fourier transform and analysis of voter influences for voting protocols. The question we raise for Approximate Aggregation can be stated in terms of Property Testing. For instance, as a corollary from our result we get a generalization of the classic result for property testing of linearity of Boolean functions.
    Keywords: judgement aggregation, truth-functional agendas, computational social choice, computational judgement aggregation, approximate aggregation, inconsistency index, dependency index
    Date: 2011–06–05
  6. By: Riboni, Alessandro
    Abstract: We study a legislature where decisions are made by playing an agenda-setting game. Legislators are concerned about their electoral prospects but they are also genuinely concerned for the legislature to make the correct decision. We show that when ideological polarization is positive but not too large (and the status quo is extremely inefficient), institutions in which the executive has either no constraints (autocracy) or many constraints (unanimity) are preferable to democracies that operate under an intermediate number of constraints (simple majority rule). When instead ideological polarization is large (and the status quo is only moderately inefficient), simple majority turns out to be preferable.
    Keywords: Majority rule; Position-taking preferences; Ideological polarization; Strategic interactions; Agenda-setting game;
    JEL: D7 D02
    Date: 2011–09
  7. By: Dmitriy Vorobyev
    Abstract: This paper proposes a method for detecting electoral fraud in the form of ballot stuffing. As ballot stuffing increases both turnout and the incumbent‘s vote share in precincts where it occurs, precincts with low reported turnout are more likely to be clean. Information on clean precincts is used to simulate counterfactual data for "infected" precincts, which are then compared to the observed data. The method is applied to the 2006 Finnish presidential elections. The test fails to reject the hypothesis of no ballot stuffing for the original data, but detects artificially imputed 1.6% fraud. The same test implies that in the 2004 presidential elections in Russia at least 4.7% of the votes were stuffed in favor of the incumbent.
    Keywords: elections; fraud detection;
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2011–09
  8. By: Grimes, Arthur (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust); Stillman, Steven (University of Otago); Young, Chris (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust)
    Abstract: We use New Zealand school board of trustees data to examine whether schools where parents have high rates of homeownership experience high parental voting turnout in elections. We also investigate whether homeownership influences the probability that a school board proceeds to election, indicating parental willingness to serve as a school trustee. Similarly, we examine whether state-owned social housing rates affect these outcomes. We compile results initially without controlling for other factors, and then controlling for a wide range of other characteristics, to test the robustness of simple observed associations between homeownership and state-ownership rates and outcome variables. Our findings show no discernible effect of homeownership on parental voting turnout in school elections after controls are added (contrary to the simple positive association), but a (robust) positive impact of both homeownership and state-ownership rates on the probability that a school holds an election.
    Keywords: homeownership, school elections, parental voice, social capital
    JEL: I28 R23 Z13
    Date: 2011–11
  9. By: Caselli, Francesco; Tesei, Andrea
    Abstract: We study theoretically and empirically whether natural resource windfalls affect political regimes. We document the following regularities. Natural resource windfalls have no effect on the political system when they occur in democracies. However, windfalls have significant political consequences in autocracies. In particular, when an autocratic country receives a positive shock to its flow of resource rents it responds by becoming even more autocratic. Furthermore, there is heterogeneity in the response of autocracies. In deeply entrenched autocracies the effect of windfalls on politics is virtually nil, while in moderately entrenched autocracies windfalls significantly exacerbate the autocratic nature of the political system. To frame the empirical work we present a simple model in which political incumbents choose the degree of political contestability by deciding how much to spend on vote-buying, bullying, or outright repression. Potential challengers decide whether or not to try to unseat the incumbent and replace him. The model uncovers a reason for the asymmetric impact of resource windfalls on democracies and autocracies, as well as the differential impact within autocratic regimes.
    Keywords: autocracy; resource windfalls
    Date: 2011–11
  10. By: Eric Guerci (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille III - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - CNRS : UMR6579); Nobuyuki Hanaki (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille III - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - CNRS : UMR6579, Economics Department - Université de Tsukuba); Naoki Watanabe (Economics Department - Université de Tsukuba); Gabriele Esposito (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille III - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - CNRS : UMR6579); Xiaoyan Lu (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille III - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - CNRS : UMR6579)
    Abstract: We conducted a sensitivity analysis of results in weighted voting experiments by varying the following two features of the protocol by Montero et al. (2008): (a) the way subjects' roles are reassigned in each round (random versus semi-fixed roles) and (b) the number of proposals that subjects can approve simultaneously (multiple versus single approval). We found that the possibility of simultaneously approving many proposals (multiple approvals) may result in more confusion and mistakes by subjects than the case without such a possibility (single approval). We also found that frequencies of minimal winning coalitions (MWCs) observed under the protocol with semi-fixed roles and single approval are consistent with our hypothesis: each subject prefers a MWC in which his or her relative weight is larger, and the probability of each MWC occurring depends on a score in the social ordering determined by the Borda count, when there is no veto player.
    Keywords: weighted voting; experiment; cooperative game; mistakes; winning coalition
    Date: 2011–11–28
  11. By: Caminada, Martin; Pigozzi, Gabriella; Podlaszewski, Mikolaj
    Abstract: Given an argumentation framework and a group of agents, the individuals may have divergent opinions on the status of the arguments. If the group needsto reach a common position on the argumentation framework, the question is how the individual evaluations can be mapped into a collective one. Thisproblem has been recently investigated by Caminada and Pigozzi. In this paper, we investigate the behaviour of two of such operators from a socialchoice-theoretic point of view. In particular, we study under which conditions these operators are Pareto optimal and whether they are manipulable.
    Keywords: Social choice theory; Judgment aggregation; Argumentation; Collective decision making;
    JEL: C44 D7
    Date: 2011

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