New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2012‒03‒28
eight papers chosen by

  1. Looking Beyond the Incumbent: The Effects of Exposing Corruption on Electoral Outcomes By Chong, Alberto; De La O, Ana; Karlan, Dean S.; Wantchékon, Léonard
  2. Optimal Districting with Endogenous Party Platforms By E Bracco
  3. The opposite Cycles of Laws and Decrees By Francesco Lagona; Antonello Maruotti; Fabio Padovano
  4. Vote Trading With and Without Party Leaders By Casella, Alessandra; Palfrey, Thomas R; Turban, Sébastien
  5. Signalling, Incumbency Advantage, and Optimal Reelection Thresholds By Caselli, Francesco; Cunningham, Tom; Morelli, Massimo; Moreno de Barreda, Inés
  6. Intergenerational Voter Preference Survey - Preliminary Results By Aoki, Reiko; Vaithianathan, Rhema
  7. Premise-Based versus Outcome-Based Information Aggregation By de Clippel, Geoffroy; Eliaz, Kfir
  8. Voting under temptation By Monisankar Bishnu; Min Wang

  1. By: Chong, Alberto; De La O, Ana; Karlan, Dean S.; Wantchékon, Léonard
    Abstract: Does information about rampant political corruption increase electoral participation and the support for challenger parties? Democratic theory assumes that offering more information to voters will enhance electoral accountability. However, if there is consistent evidence suggesting that voters punish corrupt incumbents, it is unclear whether this translates into increased support for challengers and higher political participation. We provide experimental evidence that information about copious corruption not only decreases incumbent support in local elections in Mexico, but also decreases voter turnout, challengers' votes, and erodes voters' identification with the party of the corrupt incumbent. Our results suggest that while flows of information are necessary, they may be insufficient to improve political accountability, since voters may respond to information by withdrawing from the political process. We conclude with a discussion of the institutional contexts that could allow increased access to information to promote government accountability.
    Keywords: Accountability; Corruption; Elections; Information; Voting
    JEL: D72 D73 D82 D83
    Date: 2012–01
  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: Francesco Lagona (DIPES, University Roma Tre, Italy); Antonello Maruotti (DIPES, University Roma Tre, Italy); Fabio Padovano (CREM-CNRS and Condorcet Center for Political Economy, Université Rennes, 1, France and DIPES, University Roma Tre, Italy)
    Abstract: The present study aims to test Meltzer and Richard’s (1981) hypothesis that lower-income individuals vote for candidates who favor higher taxes and more redistribution. Assuming that left-wing parties advocate a general increase in taxation, we estimate a vote function for the French Cantonal elections. We show clear-cut evidence that an increasing proportion of voters receiving social assistance raises the number of votes in favor of left-wing parties. This result highlights the importance of including redistribution aspects when estimating a vote function.
    Keywords: Economic theory of legislation - Multilevel models - Poisson regression - Political legislation cycle - Random effects - Voters - Special interest groups
    JEL: H61 H62 C49
    Date: 2012–03
  4. By: Casella, Alessandra; Palfrey, Thomas R; Turban, Sébastien
    Abstract: Two groups of voters of known sizes disagree over a single binary decision to be taken by simple majority. Individuals have different, privately observed intensities of preferences and before voting can buy or sell votes among themselves for money. We study the implication of such trading for outcomes and welfare when trades are coordinated by the two group leaders and when they take place anonymously in a competitive market. The theory has strong predictions. In both cases, trading falls short of full efficiency, but for opposite reasons: with group leaders, the minority wins too rarely; with market trades, the minority wins too often. As a result, with group leaders, vote trading improves over no-trade; with market trades, vote trading can be welfare reducing. All predictions are strongly supported by experimental results.
    Keywords: Bargaining; Competitive equilibrium; Experiments; Votes market; Voting
    JEL: C72 C78 C92 D70 P16
    Date: 2012–02
  5. By: Caselli, Francesco; Cunningham, Tom; Morelli, Massimo; Moreno de Barreda, Inés
    Abstract: Much literature on political behavior treats politicians as motivated by reelection, choosing actions to signal their types to voters. We identify two novel implications of models in which signalling incentives are important. First, because incumbents only care about clearing a reelection hurdle, signals will tend to cluster just above the threshold needed for reelection. This generates a skew distribution of signals leading to an incumbency advantage in the probability of election. Second, voters can exploit the signalling behavior of politicians by precommitting to a higher threshold for signals received. Raising the threshold discourages signalling effort by low quality politicians but encourages effort by high quality politicians, thus increasing the separation of signals and improving the selection function of an election. This precommitment has a simple institutional interpretation as a supermajority rule, requiring that incumbents exceed some fraction of votes greater than 50% to be reelected. A simple calibration suggests the average quality of US Congress members would be maximised by requiring a 57% vote share for reelection.
    Keywords: Incumbency Advantage; Signalling; Sipermajority
    JEL: D72 D78 D82
    Date: 2012–02
  6. By: Aoki, Reiko; Vaithianathan, Rhema
    Abstract: We present results from a survey conducted in December 2011, in order to see if introduction of Demeny voting system will have the desired have effect of addressing gerentocracy. We have identified several facts from the survey that provides a positive answer to this question. We found that there is substantial difference of policy preference between voters with young children and those without, either because they have only older children or they have not children. When proxy votes (children’s votes) and their policy preferences are taken into account, the Demeny Voting Block ( voters with children + children)’s policy preferences of childrearing and education (employment is not as important) is different from non-Demeny Voting Block for whom pension and employment are priorities. However we found that party preference does not differ as starkly. This may be because the current electorate is already dominated by older voters, the all parties cater to them. Parties do not identify themselves with any policies in particular. This suggests that when Demeny voting system is introduced, party manifestos will be the first to change.
    Date: 2012–02
  7. By: de Clippel, Geoffroy; Eliaz, Kfir
    Abstract: A group of rational individuals with common interest need to select one of two outcomes. The optimal decision depends on whether certain premises or pieces of evidence are established as being true, and each member receives a noisy signal of the truth value of the relevant premises. Should the group reach a decision by voting whether each premise is true or false, or should they simply vote on the outcome? We show that for any finite number of individuals, the premise-based voting rule is more efficient in aggregating information than the outcome-based rule. However, generically, the gain from using the premise-based over the outcome-based rule can only be marginal when numerous individuals express independent opinions. Indeed, the outcome-based game is almost always asymptotically efficient.
    Keywords: Common Interest; Discursive Dilemma; Doctrinal Paradox; Information Aggregation; Voting
    JEL: C72 D02 D72 D82
    Date: 2012–01
  8. By: Monisankar Bishnu (Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi); Min Wang (Michigan State Universitywth)
    Abstract: In the presence of temptation and self-control preferences as in Gul and Pesendorfer, the optimal policy is to subsidize savings when consumers are tempted by "excessive" impatience (Krusell, Kuruscu and Smith, 2010). However, in the homogeneous agents model, taxation loses an important property in that it fails to reduce the inequality through redistribution. Thus the phenomenon that welfare improves on subsidizing savings may vanish when the agents differ in their abilities to earn income. They may well choose a positive tax if they are from low ability group where the redistribution effect of tax dominates the temptation effect. In a political economy, a situation may easily arise where a negative tax will never be implemented. When agents are homogeneous, as temptation grows, optimal subsidy on saving increases. The corresponding result in the heterogeneous agents case is that as temptation grows, the political support for the subsidy increases.
    Keywords: Temptation, self-control, optimal tax, voting
    Date: 2012–01

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