New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2014‒03‒01
twenty papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Do return migrants transfer political norms to their origin country? Evidence from Mali By Mercier, Marion; Chauvet, Lisa
  2. Flip-Flopping: Ideological Adjustment Costs in the United States Senate. By Jason M. DeBacker
  3. The Effect of Labor Migration on the Diffusion of Democracy: Evidence from a Former Soviet Republic By Mahmoud, Toman Omar; Rapoport, Hillel; Steinmayr, Andreas; Trebesch, Christoph
  4. Candidate Ballot Information and Election Outcomes: The Czech Case By Stepan Jurajda; Daniel Munich
  5. Trans-nationalising Europe’s Voting Space By Garzia Joseph Lacey; Alexander H. Trechsel
  6. Soft budget constraints in a federation: the effect of regional affiliation By Willem SAS
  7. On the Optimal Composition of Committees By Ben-Yashar, Ruth; Danziger, Leif
  8. Does Japan have a Gray Democracy? An empirical analysis of prefectural data By Shimasawa, Manabu; Oguro, Kazumasa; Toyoda, Nao
  10. What drives small municipalities to cooperate? Evidence from Hessian municipalities By Frederic Blaeschke
  11. Household Sorting and Politics: Empirical Evidence for the Metropolitan Area of Porto (Portugal) By José da Silva Costa; Ruben Fernandes; Ana Natálio
  12. Reducing within-group overconfidence through group identity and between-group confidence judgments By Philip Brookins; Adriana Lucas; Dmitry Ryvkin
  13. Union Organizing Decisions in a Deteriorating Environment: The Composition of Representation Elections and the Decline in Turnout By Henry S. Farber
  14. Comparing Generalized Median Voter Schemes According to their Manipulability By R. Pablo Arribillaga; Jordi Massó
  15. Politicizing Europe: The Challenge of Executive Discretion By Jonathan White
  16. Preferences for redistribution and social structure By Erik SCHOKKAERT; Tom TRUYTS
  17. The Effect of Economic Change and Elite Framing on Economic Preferences: A Survey Experiment By Marx, Paul; Schumacher, Gijs
  18. Coalition Politics and Reform Dynamics in Thailand By Veerayooth Kanchoochat
  19. When Identifying Contributors is Costly: An Experiment on Public Goods By Anya Savikhin Samek; Roman M. Sheremeta
  20. Uncertainty and Conflict Decision By Natasa Bilkic; Thomas Gries

  1. By: Mercier, Marion; Chauvet, Lisa
    Abstract: This paper explores the link between return migration and political outcomes in the origin country, using the case study of Mali. We use electoral and census data at the locality level to investigate the role of return migration on participation rates and electoral competitiveness. First, we run OLS and IV estimations for the 2009 municipal election, controlling for current emigration and using historical and distance variables as instruments for return migration and current emigration. Second, we build a panel dataset combining the 1998 and 2009 censuses and the electoral results for the municipal ballots of those two years to control for the potential time-invariant unobservable characteristics of the localities. We find a positive impact of the stock of return migrants on participation rates and on electoral competitiveness, which mainly stems from returnees from non-African countries. Finally, we show that the impact of returnees on turnout goes beyond their own participation, and that they affect more electoral outcomes in areas where non-migrants are poorly educated, which we interpret as evidence of a diffusion of political norms from returnees to non-migrants.
    Keywords: Return migration; Elections; Mali; Norms transfer;
    JEL: D72 F22 O15 O55
    Date: 2014
  2. By: Jason M. DeBacker
    Abstract: Using a long panel of roll call voting data, I find that “flip-flopping" senators face significant electoral costs when changing positions. In models of electoral competition, as the costs to candidates changing position approach zero, the equilibrium prediction is the convergence of platforms. Such convergence is at odds with empirical observation. Using a dynamic, structural model of candidate positioning, I identify the nature of the costs associated with changing position that may result in such non-convergence.
    Keywords: Ideology, Voting, Politics
    JEL: D72 C61
    Date: 2014–01
  3. By: Mahmoud, Toman Omar (Kiel Institute for the World Economy); Rapoport, Hillel (Paris School of Economics); Steinmayr, Andreas (University of St. Gallen); Trebesch, Christoph (University of Munich)
    Abstract: Migration contributes to the circulation of goods, knowledge, and ideas. Using community and individual-level data from Moldova, we show that the emigration wave that started in the late 1990s strongly affected electoral outcomes and political preferences in Moldova during the following decade and was eventually instrumental in bringing down the last ruling Communist government in Europe. Our results are suggestive of information transmission and cultural diffusion channels. Identification relies on the quasi-experimental context studied and on the differential effects arising from the fact that emigration was directed both to more democratic Western Europe and to less democratic Russia.
    Keywords: emigration, political institutions, elections, social networks, information transmission, cultural diffusion
    JEL: F22 D72 O1
    Date: 2014–02
  4. By: Stepan Jurajda; Daniel Munich
    Abstract: We measure the importance of candidate characteristics listed on ballots for a candidate's position on a slate, for preferential votes received by a candidate, and, ultimately, for getting elected. We focus on the effects of gender, various types of academic titles, and also several novel properties of candidatesínames. Using data on over 200 thousand candidates competing in recent Czech municipal board and regional legislature elections, and conditioning on slate Öxed effects, we find ballot cues to play a stronger role in small municipalities than in large cities and regions, despite the general agreement on higher candidate salience in small municipalities. We also quantify the election advantage of a slate being randomly listed first on a ballot.
    Keywords: low-information elections; ballot order effects; name properties;
    JEL: D72 D83
    Date: 2014–01
  5. By: Garzia Joseph Lacey; Alexander H. Trechsel
    Abstract: Building on MEP Andrew Duff’s proposal to create a limited pan-European constituency for electing representatives to the European Parliament, this paper argues that there are good reasons for believing that such an institution would better be built around national parties rather than Europarties as they currently exist. Using data from a Voting Advice Application (VAA), the EU Profiler, we demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of individuals who used this device would be better represented in the European Parliament, in terms of their policy preferences, if they could vote for a party from a different member state than their own. Furthermore, we find that there is significant active demand to be able to vote in this manner, and that such demand is positively correlated with citizens who found that they would be better represented given the opportunity to vote transnationally. Ultimately, we argue that a transnational electoral constituency administered by a VAA that could match individuals with the closest partisan offer in Europe would not only improve the level of representation in the EP but also contribute to forging deeper transnational links in the EU.
    Date: 2014–01–27
  6. By: Willem SAS
    Abstract: This paper revisits the soft budget constraint problem, pushing sub-central (state) borrowing to the limit in multi-tiered countries. Accounting for the institutional design and political practice common to many federations, bargaining and log-rolling are introduced to the analysis. In our intertemporal model, a federal legislature of regionally elected representatives bargains on federal grants going to the states. As a result, voters will elect federal candidates in favour of looser state public spending than otherwise expected. This strategic voting not only leads to overly generous bailout policies. Also, and compared to a setting where federal decision making does not follow from bargaining and regional affiliation, states over-borrow more inefficiently. Allowing for heterogeneity in state income and population does not affect this inefficient outcome. Lower relative per capita incomes even boost federal generosity and subsequent over-borrowing by the states.
    Date: 2014–02
  7. By: Ben-Yashar, Ruth (Bar-Ilan University); Danziger, Leif (Ben Gurion University)
    Abstract: This paper derives a simple characterization of how to optimally divide an organization's experts into different decision-making committees. The focus is on many three-member committees that make decisions by a simple majority rule. We find that the allocation of experts to committees is optimal if and only if it minimizes the sum of the products of the experts' skills in each committee. As a result, given the experts of any two committees, the product of the experts' skills should be as similar as possible in the two committees, and it is never optimal to have the three worst experts in one committee and the three best experts in another.
    Keywords: optimal composition of committees, simple majority rule
    JEL: D71
    Date: 2014–02
  8. By: Shimasawa, Manabu; Oguro, Kazumasa; Toyoda, Nao
    Abstract: This study examines whether or not aging is increasing the political influence wielded by Japan’s elderly and promoting a so-called “gray democracy.” Using a median voter model based on data from Japan’s 47 prefectures during the period from 2000 to 2010, we examined the relationship between aging and geriatric expenditures. As a result, controlling income, expenditures, economic conditions, and political factors, we found that geriatric welfare expenditures increase along with median age. The findings utilizing this median voter model imply that the aging median voter may be able to gain substantial benefit through voting. If this prefectural-level relationship between aging and increasing geriatric expenses is reflected on a national level, one may conclude that Japan’s continued aging will likely strengthen the political influence of the elderly with respect to increased social security benefits.
    Keywords: aging, political aging, panel data, political economy, median voter model
    JEL: C23 H55 J18
    Date: 2014–02
  9. By: Emin Dinlersoz; Jeremy Greenwood; Henry Hyatt
    Abstract: What type of businesses do unions target for organizing and when? A dynamic model of the union organizing process is constructed to answer this question. A union monitors establishments in an industry to learn about their productivity, and decides which ones to organize and when. An establishment becomes unionized if the union targets it for organizing and wins the union certification election. The model predicts two main selection effects: unions target larger and more productive establishments early in their life-cycles, and among the establishments targeted, unions are more likely to win elections in smaller and less productive ones. These predictions find support in union certification elections data for 1977-2007 matched with data on establishment characteristics.
    Keywords: Unionization, Union Organizing, Union Certification Election, Diffusion of Unionization, Bayesian Learning, Productivity.
    JEL: J5 J50 J51 L11 L23 L25 L6 D24 D21
    Date: 2014–02
  10. By: Frederic Blaeschke (University of Kassel)
    Abstract: This contribution studies the determinants of intermunicipal cooperation for small Hessian municipalities. Existing contributions have highlighted the role of cooperation demand factors, for example scal stress or demographic factors, on the one hand, and transaction cost issues on the other. This study asks how the spatial neighbourhood aects cooperation decision making taking characteristics of neighbouring municipalities into account (cooperation supply). The study focuses on intermunicipal cooperations in the eld of labor intensive public administration services, for example, management and accounting tasks, personnel administration or civil registry oces. We nd that the main driving forces are scal stress, population growth and size heterogeneity. Neighbourhood-related supply factors areonly weakly signicant. Cooperation is more likely for municipalities that are part of a set of neighbouring municipalities which are heterogeneous with respect to size.
    Keywords: Intermunicipal cooperation, neighbourhood structures, cooperation demand, cooperation supply, heterogeneity
    JEL: H11 H77 H83
    Date: 2014
  11. By: José da Silva Costa (School of Economics and Management, University of Porto.); Ruben Fernandes (CITTA - School of Engineering, University of Porto); Ana Natálio (CEAUP, University of Porto)
    Abstract: Sorting and heterogeneity of households at metropolitan level has been a subject of many empirical studies. Interest in the subject goes beyond the knowledge of household mobility because it also has importance for the debate on the Tiebout’s hypothesis that households “vote with the feet” by choosing the best bundle of local public goods and local taxes. A result of households “voting with the feet” is a more heterogeneous public provision of local public goods by municipalities and, at the same time, a smaller distance between household preferences and public provision of local public goods. Household movements are determined not only by the bundle of public goods-local taxes in each jurisdiction but also by restrictions to mobility such as real estate market and availability of jobs. Several authors argue that aggregate empirical studies are not sufficient to test empirically the Tiebout’s hypothesis because sorting and heterogeneity may be a consequence of those restrictions. So they defend instead the implementation of micro studies where we observe the motivations of household movements. In our study we analyze sorting and heterogeneity using an aggregated approach, but we provide empirical evidence for two different periods: a first period in which there is no role for local politics in the sorting and heterogeneity process; a second period where there is an increasing role of local politics on the decision of households to locate. The empirical evidence on sorting and heterogeneity in those two periods gives us a hint about the importance of local politics on household decisions to locate in a metropolitan area, and therefore provides empirical evidence on the importance of the Tiebout’s hypothesis compared with other determinants of household mobility. The empirical study is conducted for the Metropolitan Area of Porto for a long period in order to include non-elected local governments and elected local governments. The empirical evidence we gather covers a wide period that goes from 1920 till 2011 using census data.
    Keywords: Household mobility; Sorting; Tiebout´s hypothesis; Local Governments; Portugal.
    JEL: J11 H41 H73 R23
    Date: 2014–02
  12. By: Philip Brookins (Department of Economics, Florida State University); Adriana Lucas (Department of Economics, Florida State University); Dmitry Ryvkin (Department of Economics, Florida State University)
    Abstract: Overconfidence in one's relative performance within a group is a wide-spread phenomenon. Similar to individual (or within-group) overconfidence, it was also shown that individuals are, on average, overconfident about the performance of their group relative to other groups. We hypothesize that this between-group overconfidence should mitigate within-group individual overconfidence. Simply put, if the decision maker believes that her group's ranking is high it must be because her beliefs about the performance of other members of her group are inflated, which we expect will lead to a reduction in her individual within-group overconfidence. We test this hypothesis in a laboratory experiment. Using a 2x2 between-subject design, we manipulate the salience of between-group confidence judgments and group identity. We find, as hypothesized, that the salience of between-group confidence judgments significantly reduces within-group individual overconfidence. We also find an equally strong reduction in within-group overconfidence from the group identity manipulation. For managers whose goal is to improve calibration of their employees, our results imply that activities promoting comparisons between groups, e.g., between firms or between teams within a firm, and strengthening organizational identity should be helpful.
    Keywords: overconfidence, group identity, judgment about one's group, experiment
    JEL: C91 D03 D83 D84
    Date: 2014–02
  13. By: Henry S. Farber
    Abstract: It is well known that the organizing environment for labor unions in the U.S. has deteriorated dramatically over a long period of time, contributing to the sharp decline in the private sector union membership rate and resulting in many fewer representation elections being held. What is less well known is that, since the late 1990s, average turnout in the representation elections that are held has dropped substantially. These facts are related. I develop a model of union decision making regarding selection of targets for organizing through the NLRB election process with the clear implication that a deteriorating organizing environment will lead to systematic change in the composition of elections held. The model implies that a deteriorating environment will lead unions not only to contest fewer elections but also to focus on larger potential bargaining units and on elections where they have a larger probability of winning. A standard rational-voter model implies that these changes in composition will lead to lower turnout. I investigate the implications of these models empirically using data on turnout in over 140,000 NLRB certification elections held between 1973 and 2009. The results are consistent with the model and suggest that changes in composition account for about one-fifth of the decline in turnout between 1999 and 2009.
    JEL: J5 J50
    Date: 2014–02
  14. By: R. Pablo Arribillaga; Jordi Massó
    Abstract: We propose a simple criterion to compare generalized median voter schemes according to their manipulability. We identify three nec- essary and sufficient conditions for the comparability of two generalized median voter schemes in terms of their vulnerability to manipulation. The three conditions are stated using the two associated families of monotonic fixed ballots and depend very much on the power each agent has to unilat- erally change the outcomes of the two generalized median voter schemes. We perform a specific analysis of all median voter schemes, the anonymous subfamily of generalized median voter schemes.
    Keywords: : Generalized Median Voting Schemes; Strategy-proofness; Anonymity.
    JEL: C78 D78
    Date: 2014–02–17
  15. By: Jonathan White
    Abstract: Political decision-making in the Euro-crisis has relied heavily on executive discretion, exercised at speed and rationalised with reference to the pressing demands of emergency. This paper explores the challenges raised for political opposition, notably challenges of a temporal kind. With its deviations from policy and procedural norms, discretionary politics tends towards a politics without rhythm, leading to major asymmetries between decision-makers and voices of opposition. These centre on issues of timing and the ability to identify authorship and content of decisions. Such asymmetries arguably correspond to an underlying one between the temporality of political decision-making and of contemporary finance capitalism, with agents of the former increasingly inclined to pursue ‘fast policy’ as a means to keep pace. A democratic response is likely to involve strengthening and synchronising the rhythms of parliamentary politics, as well as being receptive to forms of opposition less reliant on the rhythms that discretion subverts.
    Keywords: politicization, democracy, time, executive power, European Union
    Date: 2014–02
    Abstract: We model inter-individual differences in preferences for redistribution as a function of (a) self-interest; (b) stable ideological traits; (c) subjective perceptions of the relative importance of the main determinants of income differences (luck, effort, talent). Individuals base the latter on information obtained from their reference group. We analyse the consequences for redistributive preferences of homophilous reference group formation based on talent. We argue that our theoretical results make it possible to understand and integrate some of the main insights from the empirical literature. We illustrate with GSS data from 1987 how our model may help in structuring empirical work.
    Date: 2014–01
  17. By: Marx, Paul (University of Southern Denmark); Schumacher, Gijs (University of Southern Denmark)
    Abstract: An unresolved question in political science is how economic downturns affect citizens' economic left-right preferences. Existing observational studies fail to isolate the effect of economic conditions and the effect of elite framing of these conditions. We therefore designed a survey experiment to evaluate how economic change in conjunction with different elite frames impact on citizens' preferences for economic policies. We hypothesise and demonstrate that the effects of these frames differ by income group and partisanship. Our survey experiment – carried out in the UK – demonstrates that poor economic prospects motivate support for unemployment benefits vis-à-vis deficit reduction. Emphasis on government debt and deficits increases support for the latter policy option. Also, we find support for the hypothesis that partisans are less responsive to the economy than independents.
    Keywords: economic preferences, economic crises, elite framing, survey experiment, UK
    JEL: D72 Z18
    Date: 2014–02
  18. By: Veerayooth Kanchoochat (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies)
    Abstract: This article provides an explanation for Thailand’s long-term policymaking patterns from 1980 to 2011, with particular reference to macroeconomic and industrial policies. It develops a typology of reform orientations in Thailand, conditioned by government type (strong or fragmented) and ruling-coalition type (unelected or elected elites). When under strong leadership, reform was substantively implemented; its orientation was forged into fiscal tightening and “exclusive industrial policy” when ruled by unelected elites (Prem, Anand, and Surayud), but into an expansionary budget and “inclusive industrial policy” when ruled by elected elites (Chatichai and Thaksin). In contrast, when under multi-party governments, political leaders were less capable of pursuing meaningful reform and ended up with either internationally dominant discourses (Chuan and Abhisit) or pork-barrel projects (Banharn and Chavalit). It is further argued that government type hinges upon constitutional design while the two-elite struggle has resulted from the political turmoil of the prior decade. The assessment of reform outcomes requires a rethinking of the relationship between inflation, macroeconomic stability, and growth; and of institutional prerequisites for industrial policymaking. Policy suggestions entail constitutional redesign and the redressing of macroeconomic and industrial balance.
    Date: 2014–02
  19. By: Anya Savikhin Samek (School of Human Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison); Roman M. Sheremeta (Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University and the Economic Science Institute, Chapman University,)
    Abstract: Studies show that identifying contributors significantly increases contributions to public goods. In practice, however, viewing identifiable information is costly, which may discourage people from accessing such information. To address this question, we design a public goods experiment in which participants can pay a fee to view information about identities and corresponding contributions of their group members. We then compare this to a treatment in which there is no identifiable information, and a treatment in which all contributors are freely identified. Our main findings are that: (1) contributions in the treatment with costly information are as high as those in the treatment with free information, (2) participants choose to view the information about 10% of the time, and (3) being a high contributor is positively correlated with choosing to view identifiable information about others. Thus, it seems that having access to information is important even when such information is rarely viewed. Or findings have practical implications for non-profit organizations with a large pool of donors and for designers of recognition systems, especially in online communities with many participants.
    Keywords: public-goods, information, experiments
    JEL: C72 C91 H41
    Date: 2014
  20. By: Natasa Bilkic (University of Paderborn); Thomas Gries (University of Paderborn)
    Abstract: Though violent conflicts bear dramatic uncertainties, there is no closed theory addressing large uncertainties in conflict decisions. If a violent conflict is an investment in social, political, or economic change for rebels, how do large uncertainties like threatening waves of persecution affect their decision to turn violent? In order to capture such discontinuous uncertain large stochastic shocks we apply a real option model and introduce a more general stochastic process than the often used geometric Brownian motion, namely an Ito-Lévy Jump Diffusion processes. A major result is that large uncertain shocks have opposite effects on the decision to launch a conflict than small variations, indicated by normal volatility. While an increase in volatility of e.g. general economic conditions, indicated by (marginal) volatility, would give hope and postpone a potential attack, more uncertain large threats, indicated by discontinuous negative shock, will lead to an earlier outbreak of conflict. Hence, in latent conflicts, either general disaster shocks, or even deliberately announced oppressive threats by a government, often meant to awe the oppressed group, may provoke a violent outbreak, if the threat is strong enough.
    Keywords: theory of social conflict, decision under uncertainty, non-marginal stochastic shocks
    JEL: D74 D81 C61
    Date: 2014–02

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