New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2012‒10‒20
eight papers chosen by

  1. To approve or not to approve: this is not the only question By Alcantud, José Carlos R.; Laruelle, Annick
  2. A Gubernatorial Helping Hand? How Governors Affect Presidential Elections By Erikson, Robert S.; Snyder, Jr., James M.; Folke, Olle
  3. The consequences of being forced to vote: Evidence from Brazil's dual voting system By Fernanda L L de Leon; Renata Rizzi
  4. To Redistribute or Not: A Politician's Dilemma By Fabiana Machado
  5. Punishment and Cooperation in Stochastic Social Dilemmas By Erte Xiao; Howard Kunreuther
  6. Full Implementation of Rank Dependent Prizes By Midjord, Rune
  7. Peers' influence on political choices: Evidence from random classroom assignments in college By Camila Campos; Fernanda L L de Leon
  8. A Nested Contest: Tullock Meets the All-Pay Auction By J. Atsu Amegashie

  1. By: Alcantud, José Carlos R.; Laruelle, Annick
    Abstract: This paper deals with electing candidates. In elections voters are frequently offered a small set of actions (voting in favor of one candidate, voting blank, spoiling the ballot, and not showing up). Thus voters can express neither a negative opinion nor an opinion on more than one candidate. Approval voting partially fills this gap by asking an opinion on all candidates. Still the choice is only between approval and non approval. However non approval may mean disapproval or just indifference or even absence of sufficient knowledge for approving the candidate. In this paper we characterize the dis&approval voting rule, a natural extension of approval voting that distinguishes between indifference and disapproval.
    Keywords: Voting rule; approval voting; vote profile
    JEL: D71 D72
    Date: 2012–10–11
  2. By: Erikson, Robert S. (Columbia University); Snyder, Jr., James M. (Harvard University and NBER); Folke, Olle (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: It is commonly argued in the media that a presidential candidate will be helped in a state by having a governor of the same party in office. However, there is little research to support this claim. To address this question we use a regression discontinuity design. The basic idea behind this is that in very close elections the party of the governor is decided essentially by a coin flip. Focusing on these very close elections therefore allows us to estimate the causal effect of gubernatorial party control. We show that a presidential candidate is not helped, but in fact hurt, by having a governor from the same party. On average, winning the governor’s election leads to a 2–3 percentage point reduction in a state’s presidential vote share in the following election. Using a similar methodology, we also show that voters punish the presidential party when voting for governor in midterm years. Having established these relationships, we explore why this is the case. One possible explanation is a variation of the ideological balancing argument, whereby voters’ choices for one office are conditional on which party holds office at a different level.
    Keywords: Presidential Elections; Regression Discontinuity Design; Electoral Balancing
    JEL: H00
    Date: 2012–10–10
  3. By: Fernanda L L de Leon (University of East Anglia); Renata Rizzi (Universidade de Sao Paulo)
    Abstract: This paper provides new estimates for the e§ects of compulsory voting on in- dividuals. The identification relies on the Brazilian dual voting system-voluntary and compulsory-whose exposure is determined by date of birth. Using RD and IV approaches and data from a self-collected survey, we find that the compulsory leg- islation leads to a significant increase in voter turnout. These changes are followed by a sizable increase in the probability that individuals will express preference for a political party, but not by an increase in political knowledge among the popu- lation. Moreover, we find that a first compulsory voting experience permanently a§ects individuals’ preferences.
    Date: 2012–09–19
  4. By: Fabiana Machado
    Abstract: A prerequisite for the adoption of redistributive policies in a democracy is that there be elected representatives who are either committed to or who have an incentive to advocate for such policies. To evaluate the prospects of such an outcome, this pa- per develops a theory exploring two fundamental factors at play during elections – the critical political stage where citizens choose their representatives. The first is the lack of information about the policy inclinations of candidates. The second refers to two motivations compelling candidates into politics (and possibly at odds with each other): the opportunity to implement one’s favored policies or to extract rents. Results indicate the existence of an equilibrium where high inequality and low redistribution can coexist. The theory’s assumptions and outcomes are explored empirically using individual-level data collected in presidential election years in Brazil.
    JEL: C11 C70 D72
    Date: 2012–09
  5. By: Erte Xiao; Howard Kunreuther
    Abstract: Previous findings on punishment have focused on environments in which the outcomes are known with certainty. In this paper, we conduct experiments to investigate how punishment affects cooperation in a two-person stochastic prisoner’s dilemma environment where each person can decide whether or not to cooperate, and the outcomes of alternative strategies are specified probabilistically under a transparent information condition. In particular, we study two types of punishment mechanisms: 1) an unrestricted punishment mechanism: both persons can punish; and 2) a restricted punishment mechanism: only cooperators can punish non-cooperators. We show that the restricted punishment mechanism is more effective in promoting cooperative behavior than the unrestricted one in a deterministic social dilemma. More importantly, the restricted type is less effective in an environment where the outcomes are stochastic than when they are known with certainty. Our data suggest that one explanation is that non-cooperative behavior is less likely to be punished when there is outcome uncertainty. Our findings provide useful information for designing efficient incentive mechanisms to induce cooperation in a stochastic social dilemma environment.
    JEL: C72 C73 C91 D02 D03
    Date: 2012–10
  6. By: Midjord, Rune
    Abstract: A manager/mechanism designer must allocate a set of money prizes ($1, $2, .., $n) between n agents working in a team. The agents know the state i.e. who contributed most, second most, etc. The agents' prefer- ences over prizes are state independent. We incorporate the possibility that the manager knows the state with a tiny probability and present a simple mechanism that uniquely implement prizes that respects the true state.
    Keywords: full implementation, direct mechanism, verifiable information, rank order tournaments
    JEL: D82
    Date: 2012
  7. By: Camila Campos (Insper); Fernanda L L de Leon (University of East Anglia)
    Abstract: Social networks are believed to a§ect individuals’ political views; however, quantifying this e§ect and understanding the channels behind this influence are empirically challenging. This study investigates peer e§ects on political behavior, using a self-collected survey among freshmen from the largest university in Brazil. The identification relies on the random assignment of freshmen to classrooms. We found that a relevant peer influence occurs through classmates’ political involve- ment, increasing students’ political participation, knowledge and moving their ideologies toward the center. Other mechanisms of influence, such as social pres- sure to adopt certain views or reinforcement of one’s own preferences, were not observed in the data.
    Date: 2012–10–07
  8. By: J. Atsu Amegashie (Department of Economics, University of Guelph.)
    Abstract: I present a two-player nested contest which is a convex combination of two widely studied contests: the Tullock (lottery) contest and the all-pay auction. A Nash equilibrium exists for all parameters of the nested contest. If and only if the contest is sufficiently asymmetric, then there is an equilibrium in pure strategies. In this equilibrium, individual and aggregate efforts are lower relative to the efforts in a Tullock contest. This leads to the surprising result that if aggregate efforts in the all-pay auction are higher than the aggregate efforts in the Tullock contest, then aggregate efforts in the nested contest may not lie between aggregate efforts in the all-pay auction and aggregate efforts in the Tullock contest. When the contest is symmetric or asymmetric, I find a mixed-strategy equilibrium and describe some properties of the equilibrium distribution function; I also find the equilibrium payoffs and expected bids. When the weight on the all-pay auction component of this nested contest lies in an intermediate range, then there exist multiple non-payoff-equivalent equilibria such that there is an all-pay auction equilibrium as defined in Alcade and Dahm (2010) and another equilibrium which is not an all-pay auction equilibrium; these equilibria cannot be ranked using the Pareto criterion. If the goal of a contest-designer is to reduce aggregate effort (i.e., wasteful rent-seeking efforts), then this nested contest may be better than both the Tullock contest and the all-pay auction.
    Keywords: all-pay auction, discontinuous games, mixed strategy, pure strategy, Tullock contest.
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2012

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