New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2012‒03‒08
nine papers chosen by

  1. Non-anonymous ballot aggregation: an axiomatic generalization of Approval Voting. By Jorge Alcalde-Unzu; Marc Vorsat
  2. Robust mechanism design and dominant strategy voting rules By Borgers, Tilman; Smith, Doug
  3. Fair Apportionment in the Italian Senate : Which Reform Should Be Implemented? By Fabrice Barthelemy; Gabriele Esposito; Mathieu Martin; Vincent Merlin
  4. On the Likelihood of Dummy players in Weighted Majority Games By Fabrice Barthelemy; Dominique Lepelley; Mathieu Martin
  5. Multidimensional Political Competition with Non-Common Beliefs By Kazuya Kikuchi
  6. The Influence of Special Interests and Party Activists on Electoral Competition By Nicolas-Guillaume Martineau
  7. Right-Wing Political Extremism in the Great Depression By Alan de Bromhead; Barry Eichengreen; Kevin H. O'Rourke
  8. Unraveling Short- and Farsightedness in Politics By Hans Gersbach; Oriana Ponta
  9. Environmental maintenance in a dynamic model with heterogenous agents By Kirill Borissov; Thierry Brechet; Stephane Lambrecht

  1. By: Jorge Alcalde-Unzu (Departamento de Economía-UPNA); Marc Vorsat (Fundación de Estudios de Economía Aplicada (FEDEA))
    Abstract: We study axiomatically situations in which the society agrees to treat voters with different characteristics distinctly. In this setting, we propose a set of six intuitive axioms and show that they jointly characterize a new class of voting procedures, called Personalized Approval Voting. According to this family, each voter has a strictly positive and finite weight (the weight is necessarily the same for all voters with the same characteristics) and the alternative with the highest number of weighted votes is elected. Hence, the implemented voting procedure reduces to Approval Voting in case all voters are identical or the procedure assigns the same weight to all types.
    Keywords: approval voting, characterization, anonymity.
    JEL: D71
    Date: 2011
  2. By: Borgers, Tilman; Smith, Doug
    Abstract: We develop an analysis of voting rules that is robust in the sense that we do not make any assumption regarding voters’ knowledge about each other. In dominant strategy voting rules, voters’ behavior can be predicted uniquely without making any such assumption. However, on full domains, the only dominant strategy voting rules are random dictatorships. We show that the designer of a voting rule can achieve Pareto improvements over random dictatorship by choosing rules in which voters’ behavior can depend on their beliefs. The Pareto improvement is achieved for all possible beliefs. The mechanism that we use to demonstrate this result is simple and intuitive, and the Pareto improvement result extends to all equilibria of the mechanism that satisfy a mild refinement. We also show that the result only holds for voters’ interim expected utilities, not for their ex post expected utilities.
    Keywords: robust mechanism design; dominant strategies; voting; Gibbard-Satterthwaite theorem
    JEL: D7 C7
    Date: 2011–11–03
  3. By: Fabrice Barthelemy; Gabriele Esposito; Mathieu Martin; Vincent Merlin (THEMA, Universite de Cergy-Pontoise; EHESS and GREQAM; THEMA, Universite de Cergy-Pontoise; CREM, Université de Caen)
    Abstract: In this paper we analyze the fairness of the 2007 reform proposal concerning the apportionment of the seats between the regions for the Italian Senate. Theory of power indices is used to compare the actual case with the proposed one. Two scenarios are proposed, senators belonging to the same region voting in blocks and senators voting according party lines, using both the Impartial Culture and the Impartial Anonymous Culture models. Our objective is to determine which apportionment is closer to the equal distribution of power among the citizens. In addition, we will seek for apportionments that are closer to the ideal representation than the ones proposed by politicians. We will also derive the probability that different apportionments produce a referendum paradox, i.e. exhibit a majority in the Senate different from the national popular majority.
    Keywords: Power index, Banzhaf, Italian Senate, apportionment, voting paradox, Monte Carlo simulation.
    JEL: C7 D7
    Date: 2011
  4. By: Fabrice Barthelemy; Dominique Lepelley; Mathieu Martin (THEMA, Universite de Cergy-Pontoise; CEMOI,universite de la réunion; THEMA, Universite de Cergy-Pontoise)
    Abstract: When the number of players is small in a weighted majority voting game, it can occur that one of the players has no influence on the result of the vote, in spite of a strictly positive weight. Such a player is called a “dummy” player in game theory. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the conditions that give rise to such a phenomenon and to compute its likelihood. It is shown that the probability of having a dummy player is surprisingly high and some paradoxical results are observed.
    Keywords: Cooperative game theory, weighted voting games, dummy player, likelihood of voting paradoxes.
    JEL: C7 D7
    Date: 2011
  5. By: Kazuya Kikuchi
    Abstract: This paper extends a probabilistic voting model with a multidimensional policy space, allowing candidates to have different prior probability distributions of the distribution of voters' ideal policies. In this model, we show that a platform pair is a Nash equilibrium if and only if both candidates choose a common generalized median of expected ideal policies. Thus, the existence of a Nash equilibrium requires not only that each candidate's belief have an expected generalized median, which is already a knife-edge condition, but also that the two medians coincide. We also study limits of ε-equilibria of Radner (1980) as ε → 0, which we call "limit equilibria." Limit equilibria are policy pairs that approximate choices by the candidates who almost perfectly optimize. We show that a policy pair is a limit equilibrium if and only if both candidates choose the same policy around which they form "opposite expectations" in a certain sense. For a limit equilibrium to exist (equivalently, for ε-equilibria to exist for all ε > 0), it is sufficient, though not necessary, that either candidate has an expected generalized median.
    Date: 2012–02
  6. By: Nicolas-Guillaume Martineau (Département d’économique and GRÉDI, Université de Sherbrooke)
    Abstract: This paper studies the effects on electoral competition of political parties relying on monetary donations and volunteer labour for their electioneering activities. It also examines whether a recorded decline in party activism increases special-interest influence on party policy platforms. Parties are shown to choose differentiated platforms in equilibrium when activists are present, despite factors drawing them together. Special-interest influence on platforms increases when a decline in activism stems from a fall in their motivation, following parties relying less upon them. This reduces procedural welfare, and potentially reduces voter welfare on policy outcomes, thus calling for more strict electoral laws.
    Keywords: activism; special-interest politics; political participation; collective action; electoral competition; electoral financing laws; welfare
    JEL: D71 D72
    Date: 2012–02
  7. By: Alan de Bromhead; Barry Eichengreen; Kevin H. O'Rourke
    Abstract: We examine the impact of the Great Depression on the share of votes for right-wing anti-system parties in elections in the 1920s and 1930s. We confirm the existence of a link between political extremism and economic hard times as captured by growth or contraction of the economy. What mattered was not simply growth at the time of the election but cumulative growth performance. But the effect of the Depression on support for right-wing anti-system parties was not equally powerful under all economic, political and social circumstances. It was greatest in countries with relatively short histories of democracy, with existing extremist parties, and with electoral systems that created low hurdles to parliamentary representation. Above all, it was greatest where depressed economic conditions were allowed to persist.
    JEL: N0 N14
    Date: 2012–02
  8. By: Hans Gersbach (ETH Zurich, Switzerland); Oriana Ponta (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
    Abstract: The absence of the deselection threat in incumbents’ last term in office can be negative or positive for society. Some politicians may reduce their efforts, while others may pursue beneficial long-term policies that may be unpopular in the short term. We propose a novel pension system that solves the effort problem while preserving willingness to implement long-term policies. The idea is to give politicians the option to choose between a flexible pension scheme and a fixed pension scheme. In a flexible pension scheme, the pension increases with short term performance as measured by the vote share of the officeholder’s party in the next election. This system increases social welfare by letting officeholders self-select into those activities that most benefit society. We analyze the properties and consequences of such a system and assess its robustness. Finally, we extend the pension system with choice to non-last-term situations and derive a general welfare result.
    Keywords: elections, political contracts, vote-share thresholds, incumbents, selection, effort
    JEL: D7
    Date: 2012–02
  9. By: Kirill Borissov; Thierry Brechet; Stephane Lambrecht
    Abstract: We assume a population of infinitely-lived households of the economy split into two groups: one with a high discount factor (the patient) and one with a low one (the impatient). The environmental quality is deteriorated by firm's polluting emissions. The governmental policy consists in proposing households to vote for a tax aimed at environmental maintenance. We study the voting equilibrium at steady states. The resulting equilibrium maintenance is the one of the median voter. We show that (i)~an increase in total factor productivity may produce effects described by the Environmental Kuznets Curve, (ii)~an increase in the patience of impatient households may foster environmental quality if the median voter is impatient and maintenance positive, (iii)~a decrease in inequality among the patient households leads to an increase in environmental quality if the median voter is patient and maintenance is positive. We also show that, if the median income is lower than the mean, our model predict lower level of environmental quality than the representative agent model, and that increasing public debt decreases the level of environmental quality.
    Keywords: intertemporal choice and growth, discounting, government environmental policy, externalities, environmental taxes; voting equilibrium
    JEL: D90 Q58 H23 D72
    Date: 2012–02–27

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