New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2012‒10‒06
twelve papers chosen by

  1. Conditional Cash Transfers, Political Participation, and Voting Behavior By Baez, Javier E.; Camacho, Adriana; Conover, Emily; Zárate, Román Andrés
  2. Condorcet's principle and the strong no-show paradoxes By Duddy, Conal
  3. An Experimental Test of a Committee Search Model By Hizen, Yoichi; Kawata, Keisuke; Sasaki, Masaru
  4. Are Condorcet procedures so bad according to the reinforcement axiom? By Sébastien Courtin; Boniface Mbih; Issofa Moyouwou
  5. Political Competition, Electoral System and Corruption: the Italian case By M. Rosaria Alfano, M.R.A.; A. Laura Baraldi, A.L.B.; C. Cantabene, C.C.
  6. Social preferences, accountability, and wage bargaining By Kocher, Martin G.; Poulsen, Odile; Zizzo, Daniel J.
  7. How Accurate are Surveyed Preferences for Public Policies? Evidence from a Unique Institutional Setup By Patricia Funk
  8. Positional rules and q-Condorcet consistency By Sébastien Courtin; Mathieu Martin; Bertrand Tchantcho
  9. How Is Power Shared In Africa? By Patrick Francois; Ilia Rainer; Francesco Trebbi
  10. Growth-Friendly Dictatorships By Giacomo De Luca; Jean-François Maystadt; Petros G. Sekeris
  11. Origins and Outcomes of Electoral Institutions in African Hybrid Regimes: A Comparative Perspective By Alexander Stroh; Sebastian Elischer; Gero Erdmann
  12. New Tools for the Analysis of Political Power in Africa By Ilia Rainer; Francesco Trebbi

  1. By: Baez, Javier E. (World Bank); Camacho, Adriana (Universidad de los Andes); Conover, Emily (Hamilton College); Zárate, Román Andrés (Universidad de los Andes)
    Abstract: This paper estimates the effect of enrollment in a large scale anti-poverty program in Colombia, Familias en Acción (FA), on intent to vote, turnout and electoral choice. For identification we use discontinuities in program eligibility and variation in program enrollment across voting booths. We find that FA has a positive effect on political participation in the 2010 presidential elections by increasing the probability that program beneficiaries register to vote and cast a ballot, particularly among women. Regarding voter's choice, we find that program participants expressed a stronger preference for the official party that implemented and expanded the program. Overall, the findings show that voters respond to targeted transfers and that these transfers can foster support for incumbents, thus making the case for designing political and legislative mechanisms, as the laws recently passed by the Colombian government, that avoid successful anti-poverty schemes from being captured by political patronage.
    Keywords: Conditional Cash Transfers, voting behavior, Colombia
    JEL: O10 D72 P16
    Date: 2012–09
  2. By: Duddy, Conal
    Abstract: We consider two no-show paradoxes, in which a voter obtains a preferable outcome by abstaining from a vote. One arises when the casting of a ballot that ranks a candidate in first causes that candidate to lose the election. The other arises when a ballot that ranks a candidate in last causes that candidate to win. We show that when there are at least four candidates and when voters may express indifference, every voting rule satisfying Condorcet's principle must generate both of these paradoxes.
    Keywords: Condorcet; no show; paradox; abstention; voting; participation; positive involvement; negative involvement
    JEL: D7 D71
    Date: 2012–09–24
  3. By: Hizen, Yoichi (Hokkaido University); Kawata, Keisuke (Hiroshima University); Sasaki, Masaru (Osaka University)
    Abstract: The objective of this paper is to design a laboratory experiment for an infinite-horizon sequential committee search model in order to test some of the implications obtained by the model in Albrecht, Anderson, and Vroman (2010) (AAV). We find that, compared with single-agent search, the search duration is longer for committee search under the unanimity rule, but is shorter for committee search in which at least one vote is required to stop searching. In addition, according to estimates from round-based search decisions, subjects are more likely to vote to stop searching in committee search than in single-agent search. This confirms that agents are less picky in committee search. Overall, the experimental outcomes are consistent with the implications suggested by the AAV model. However, despite the prediction from the AAV model, we could not obtain a significant outcome in relation to the size order of the probabilities of voting to stop searching in committee search for the various plurality voting rules.
    Keywords: experiments, committee search, plurality voting rules
    JEL: C91 D83
    Date: 2012–09
  4. By: Sébastien Courtin; Boniface Mbih; Issofa Moyouwou (THEMA, Universite de Cergy-Pontoise; University of Caen basse-Normandie; University of Yaounde I)
    Abstract: A Condorcet social choice procedure elects the candidate that beats every other candidate under simple majority when such a candidate exists. The reinforcement axiom roughly states that given two groups of individuals, if these two groups select the same alternative, then this alternative must also be selected by their union. Condorcet social choice procedures are known to violate this axiom. Our goal in this paper is to put this important voting theory result into perspective. We then proceed by evaluating how frequently this phenomenon is susceptible to occur.
    Keywords: Condorcet procedures • Reinforcement axiom • Likelihood • Impartial culture • Impartial anonymous culture
    JEL: D71
    Date: 2012
  5. By: M. Rosaria Alfano, M.R.A.; A. Laura Baraldi, A.L.B.; C. Cantabene, C.C.
    Abstract: Economic and political literature widely studied the effects of electoral system on corruption. But very little attention has been dedicated to the role of political competition in explaining this relationship. We hypothesize that the proportionality degree of the electoral system impacts political corruption directly and in a conditional way: through the degree of electoral competition among political parties. The estimation results, on a sample of the 20 Italian regions over 26 years, show that both the direct and the indirect effect matter in explaining corruption. As the electoral system becomes more proportional, corruption directly decrease. This beneficial effect is reinforced by an increase in political competition. If, otherwise, the proportionality degree of the electoral system decreases, direct and indirect effect push corruption in opposite directions. Our findings are robust to different estimation techniques and to other measures of proportionality.
    Keywords: Political Competition; Electoral System; Corruption
    JEL: C23 D72 K42
    Date: 2012–09
  6. By: Kocher, Martin G.; Poulsen, Odile; Zizzo, Daniel J.
    Abstract: We assess the extent of preferences for employment in a collective wage bargaining situation with heterogeneous workers. We vary the size of the union and introduce a treatment mechanism transforming the voting game into an individual allocation task. Our results show that highly productive workers do not take employment of low productive workers into account when making wage proposals, regardless of whether insiders determine the wage or all workers. The level of pro-social preferences is small in the voting game, while it increases as the game is transformed into an individual allocation task. We interpret this as an accountability effect.
    Keywords: social preferences; wage bargaining; accountability; collective decision making
    JEL: C91 C92 D71 J51 J52
    Date: 2012–09
  7. By: Patricia Funk
    Abstract: Opinion polls are widely used to capture public sentiments on a variety of issues. If citizens are unwilling to reveal certain policy preferences to others, opinion polls may fail to characterize population preferences accurately. The innovation of this paper is to use unique data to measure biases in opinion polls for a broad range of policies. I combine data on 184 referenda held in Switzerland between 1987 and 2007, with post- ballot surveys that ask for each proposal how the citizens voted. The difference between stated preferences in the survey and revealed preferences at the ballot box provides a direct measure of bias in opinion polls. I find that these biases vary by policy areas, with the largest ones occurring in policies on immigration, international integration, and votes involving liberal/conservative attitudes. Also, citizens show a tendency to respond in accordance to the majority.
    Keywords: opinion polls, biases, preference falsification, direct democracy
    JEL: D03 Z
    Date: 2012–09
  8. By: Sébastien Courtin; Mathieu Martin; Bertrand Tchantcho (THEMA, Universite de Cergy-Pontoise; THEMA, Universite de Cergy-Pontoise; University of Yaounde I)
    Abstract: A well-known result in Social Choice theory is the following: every scoring rule (positional rules) violates Condorcet consistency. A rule is Condorcet consistent when it selects the alternative that is preferred to every other alternative by a majority of individuals. In this paper, we investigate some limits of this negative result. We expose the relationship between a weaker version of the Condorcet consistency principle and the scoring rules. Our main objective is then to study the condition on the quota that ensure that positional rules (simple and sequential) satisfy this principle.
    Keywords: Positional rules (Simple and Sequential) . Condorcet Consistency . q-majority
    JEL: D71 D72
    Date: 2012
  9. By: Patrick Francois; Ilia Rainer; Francesco Trebbi
    Abstract: This paper presents new evidence on the power sharing layout of national political elites in a panel of African countries, most of them autocracies. We present a model of coalition formation across ethnic groups and structurally estimate it employing data on the ethnicity of cabinet ministers since independence. As opposed to the view of a single ethnic elite monolithically controlling power, we show that African ruling coalitions are large and that political power is allocated proportionally to population shares across ethnic groups. This holds true even restricting the analysis to the subsample of the most powerful ministerial posts. We argue that the likelihood of revolutions from outsiders and the threat of coups from insiders are major forces explaining such allocations. Further, over-representation of the ruling ethnic group is quantitatively substantial, but not different from standard formateur premia in parliamentary democracies. We explore theoretically how proportional allocation for the elites of each group may still result in misallocations in the non-elite population.
    JEL: H1 O38 O55
    Date: 2012–09
  10. By: Giacomo De Luca (University of York); Jean-François Maystadt (University of Luxembourg, Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance); Petros G. Sekeris (Center for Research in the Economics of Development, University of Namur)
    Abstract: In this paper we show that in highly unequal societies, different societal groups may support a rent-seeking dicator serving their interests better than the median voter in a democratic regime. Importantly, it is the stakes of dictator in the economy, in the form of capital ownership, that drives the support of individuals. In particular, in highly societies ruled by a capital-rich dictator endowed with the power to tax and appropriate at will, the elites support dictatorial policies that generate higher growth rates than the ones obtained under democracy. Such support arises despite the total absence of checks and balances on the dictator.
    Keywords: Regime type, capital distribution, growth
    JEL: O11 D72 H41
    Date: 2012–09
  11. By: Alexander Stroh (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies); Sebastian Elischer (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies); Gero Erdmann (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies)
    Abstract: In the early 1990s most African countries carried out extensive reforms of their electoral regimes. Adopting a historical institutionalist approach, this paper critically examines the role of institutional path dependence in accounting for the setup of six African electoral regimes. For this purpose, we distinguish between different types of path dependence. The paper further analyzes the extent to which the development of electoral institutions contributed to the regime-type outcome (democratic/hybrid/autocratic). The main emphasis herein is on so-called “hybrid regimes;” in other words, regimes existing in the grey zone between democracy and autocracy. The paper finds that, while institutional path dependence has a limited but important impact on the setup of the electoral regimes, it is ultimately the process of decision-making during critical junctures that accounts for the regime type outcome. Hybrid regimes lack long-term institutional ownership.
    Keywords: hybrid regimes, democratization, historical institutionalism, electoral institutions, Africa
    Date: 2012–06
  12. By: Ilia Rainer; Francesco Trebbi
    Abstract: The study of autocracies and weakly institutionalized countries is plagued by scarcity of information about the relative strength of different players within the political system. This paper presents novel data on the composition of government coalitions in a sample of fifteen post-colonial African countries suited to this task. We emphasize the role of the executive branch as the central fulcrum of all national political systems in our sample, especially relative to other institutional bodies such as the legislative assembly. Leveraging on the impressive body of work documenting the crucial role of ethnic fragmentation as a main driver of political and social friction in Africa, the paper further details the construction of ethnic composition measures for executive cabinets. We discuss how this novel source of information may help shed light on the inner workings of typically opaque African political elites.
    JEL: H1 O38 O55
    Date: 2012–09

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.