nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2014‒12‒24
twelve papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Voting in Legislative Elections Under Plurality Rule By Hughes, Niall E
  2. The Closed Primaries versus the Top-two Primary By Pablo Amorós; M. Socorro Puy; Ricardo Martínez
  3. Incumbency Advantage in Non-Democracies By Egorov, Georgy; Sonin, Konstantin
  4. Politically Sustainable Probabilistic Minority Targeting By De Donder, Philippe; Peluso, Eugenio
  5. Gender Quotas and Women’s Political Leadership By Z. O’Brien, Diana; Rickne, Johanna
  6. Information, Media and Elections: Incentives for Media Capture By Serena Marianna Drufuca
  7. Elite capture of democratic politics: the role of social identity By David Juárez-Luna; Christian Ghiglino
  8. Are there political cycles hidden inside government expenditures? By Vítor Castro; Rodrigo Martins
  9. Conventional and Unconventional Votes: A Tale of Three Monetary Policy Committees By Christopher Spencer
  10. The structure of fi…nes in the light of political competition By Éric Langlais; Marie Obidzinski
  11. Does the African middle class defend democracy? Evidence from Kenya By Cheeseman, Nic
  12. Electoral effects on the composition of public spending and revenue: evidence from a large panel of countries By Atsuyoshi Morozumi; Francisco José Veiga; Linda Gonçalves Veiga

  1. By: Hughes, Niall E (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)
    Abstract: Conventional models of single district plurality elections show that with three parties anything can happen - extreme policies can win regardless of voter preferences. I show that when when single district elections are used to fill a legislature we get back to a world where the median voter matters. An extreme policy will generally only come about if it is preferred by the median voter in a majority of districts, while the mere existence of a centrist party can lead to moderate outcomes even if the party itself wins few seats. Furthermore, I show that while standard single district elections always have misaligned voting i.e. some voters do not vote for their preferred choice, equilibria of the legislative election exist with no misaligned voting in any district. Finally, I show that when parties are impatient, a fixed rule on how legislative bargaining occurs will lead to more coalition governments, while uncertainty will favour single party governments. Key words: Strategic Voting; Legislative Elections; Duverger’s Law; Plurality Rule; Polarization; Poisson Games JEL classification: C71; C72; D71; D72; D78
    Date: 2014
  2. By: Pablo Amorós (Department of Economic Theory, Universidad de M‡laga); M. Socorro Puy (Department of Economic Theory, Universidad de M‡laga); Ricardo Martínez (Department of Economics, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
    Abstract: The top-two primary is the new primary system passed in several states of the US that creates a single ballot in which the top two vote getters pass to the general election. Primary elections induce a sequential game with three stages: the candidate-entry stage, the primary election stage, and the general election. We analyze the electoral winner in equilibrium of the top-two primaries versus the traditional closed party primaries in terms of the Condorcet Consistency criterion, when voters and candidates are strategic. We show that up to four potential candidates (with no more than two democrats and no more than two republicans), the top-two system generally elects the median voter?s most preferred candidate. On the contrary, with the closed party primaries, extreme candidates can be elected even when the median voter prefers the moderated counterpart. When there are more potential candidates, the closed primaries system does not show, in general, any other di¤erent deviation. The top-two system then shows every type of deviation from the Condorcet Consistency criterion: it can elect an extreme candidate when the median voter prefers the moderated counterpart, or it can elect a democratic candidate when the median voter?s most preferred candidate is republican (or the other way around).
    Keywords: Closed primaries; Open primaries; Top-two primary; Citizen-candidate; Strategic Voting; Sequential voting. Condorcet consistency
    JEL: C72 D72
    Date: 2014–11
  3. By: Egorov, Georgy; Sonin, Konstantin
    Abstract: In elections that take place in a less-than-perfect democracy, incumbency advantages are different from those in mature democracies. The incumbent can prevent credible challengers from running, organize vote fraud, or even physically eliminate the main opponents. At the same time, formally winning the election does not guarantee staying in power. We present a unified model of elections and mass protests, where the purpose of competitive elections is to reveal information about the relative popularity of the incumbent and the opposition. Citizens are heterogenous in their attitudes toward the dictator and these individual preferences serve as private signals about the aggregate distribution of preferences; this ensures a unique equilibrium for any information the incumbent may reveal. We show that the most competent/popular dictators run in competitive elections, mediocre ones prevent credible opponents from running or cancel elections, and the least competent ones use outright repressions. A strong opposition makes competitive elections more likely, but also increases the probability of repression. A totalitarian regime, where repression is cheaper, will have more repression, but even in the absence of repression, competitive elections will be rarer. A crueler, say military, regime, where protesting is costly, makes repression less likely and, surprisingly, competitive elections more likely.
    Keywords: dictatorship; elections; fraud; non-democratic politics; protests; revolutions; signaling
    JEL: D72 D82 H00
    Date: 2014–09
  4. By: De Donder, Philippe; Peluso, Eugenio
    Abstract: We show that a transfer targeting a minority of the population is sustained by majority voting, however small the minority targeted, when the probability to receive the transfer is decreasing and concave in income. We apply our framework to the French social housing program and obtain that empirically observed departures from these assumptions are small enough that a majority of French voters should support a positive size of this program. We also provide a sufficient condition on this probability function under which more targeting results in a lower equilibrium size of the transfer system.
    Keywords: a program for the poor is a poor program; majority voting; paradox of redistribution; social housing in France
    JEL: D72 H53 I38
    Date: 2014–07
  5. By: Z. O’Brien, Diana (Department of Political Science at Indiana University); Rickne, Johanna (Uppsala Center for Labor Studies)
    Abstract: Though more than 100 countries have adopted gender quotas, the impacts of these reforms on women’s political leadership remain largely unknown. We exploit a quasi-experiment—a zipper quota imposed by the Swedish Social Democratic national party on municipal party groups—to examine quotas’ effect on women’s selection and survival as leaders within their parties. We find that those municipalities where the quota had a larger impact became more likely to appoint female leaders, but not more likely to support the reelection of women to the post. Extending this analysis, we show that the quota increased the number of qualified female candidates without increasing the diversity among women within the group. These results lend support to the notion that quotas may have an acceleration effect on women’s representation in leadership posts and help dispel the myth that quotas trade short-term gains in women’s descriptive representation for long-term exclusion from political power.
    Keywords: gender quotas; political leadership; party leaders; political careers; electoral reforms; women and politics; subnational politics
    JEL: G34 G38 J20 J48
    Date: 2014–11–28
  6. By: Serena Marianna Drufuca
    Abstract: Media play an essential role in democracy by making available valuable information for electoral decisions. In a framework of political economy of mass media, I inquiry the possibility of capture by rent-seeking o cers in a heterogeneous electoral environment. This allow me to discuss when relevant information is traded, when government captures media and what e ect this has on political outcomes. I nd media capture to be a pervasive phenomenon which implies minimum costs on politicians' side. However, incentives to corruption decrease if the possibility of being detected is introduced, leading to a more intermediate result with respect to the one obtained by Besley and Prat (2006). I show that information is a fundamental element for electoral choices and that any attempt to increase quality of news and to reduce information's costs can have positive e ects on the selection of politicians.
    Keywords: mass media; information acquisition; media capture; elections; incumbency advantage
    JEL: L82 D72 D73 D81 H10
    Date: 2014
  7. By: David Juárez-Luna; Christian Ghiglino (Division of Economics, CIDE)
    Abstract: In the present paper we uncover a novel mechanism through which a minority can gain a disproportionate power in a perfectly functioning democracy. In our model, a government elected by majority within a two party democracy, decides on a unique redistributive instrument, the tax rate. We show that a minority characterised by a high degree of social identification may, in the presence of ideological motives, influence the policy outcome. In particular, a rise in social identification among the rich minority may be able to reduce the tax rate. Importantly, this may happen even if the minority is more ideological than the majority. Finally, we attempt an explanation of the divide in the tax rate between the US and Europe.
    Keywords: Democracy, Influential elite, Social identity, Tax rate, Redistribution.
    Date: 2014–05
  8. By: Vítor Castro (Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra, and Economic Policies Research Unit (NIPE)); Rodrigo Martins (Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra and Group for Monetary and Fiscal Studies (GEMF))
    Abstract: This paper examines the presence of political cycles inside the Portuguese governments’ aggregate expenditures by using annual data for 10 expenditure components. The results indicate that the choice of the expenditure components to be increased during election periods by Portuguese governments generally relates to more visible items such as general public services, social protection and health care.
    Keywords: Political Budget Cycles; Portugal; Elections; Fiscal Policy
    JEL: H72 D72 D78
    Date: 2014
  9. By: Christopher Spencer (School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University)
    Abstract: Following the 2008 global financial crisis, short-term interest rates in a number of major economies reached the effective zero-lower bound (ZLB), joining Japan, which has experienced prolonged deflation and virtually zero interest-rates since 1998. In such a low policy interest-rate environment, members of monetary policy committees no longer vote solely on the level of the policy-rate, but measures which are commonly described as being `unconventional'. Focussing on the experience of the United States FOMC, the Bank of Japan's Policy Board, and the Bank of England's MPC, the drivers of dissent voting behavior under conventional and unconventional monetary policy regimes are modeled. Among our findings, we show that relative to conventional policy regimes, committee members voting in unconventional regimes who are (i) directly appointed by the government, and (ii) appointed in periods during which left-wing governments are in power, are more likely to dissent on the side of monetary ease. Put another way, the decision to dissent is partially governed by whether the monetary policy regime is a conventional or an unconventional one.
    Keywords: quantitative easing, conventional and unconventional monetary policy regimes, dissent voting, monetary policy committees, panel data, career characteristics.
    JEL: O11 O33 O47 L52 C22
    Date: 2014–12
  10. By: Éric Langlais; Marie Obidzinski
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the determinants of public law enforcement policies when citizens vote for the timing and level of fi…nes. We consider situations where citizens and politicians disagree on the value of the expected social harm associated with some activities. We fi…nd that citizens vote for act-based (harm-based) sanctions when they expect that social harm is low (resp high). On the other hand, we show that the equilibrium fines may be higher or lower than the optimal one, depending on the difference between politicians and citizens' expectations.
    Keywords: timing of sanction, law enforcement, deterrence, political competition, majority rule.
    JEL: D72 D73 H1 K14 K23 K32 K4 Q52 Q53 Q58
    Date: 2014
  11. By: Cheeseman, Nic
    Abstract: Barrington Moore.s famous line .no bourgeoisie, no democracy. is one of the most quoted claims in political science. But has the rise of the African middle class promoted democratic consolidation? This paper uses the case of Kenya to investigate the attit
    Keywords: middle class, democracy, elections, democratization, Kenya, Africa
    Date: 2014
  12. By: Atsuyoshi Morozumi; Francisco José Veiga; Linda Gonçalves Veiga
    Abstract: This paper examines the effects of elections on central governments’ fiscal policy conducts. We construct a unique database of disaggregated spending and revenue series at the central government level, for a panel of up to 107 countries over the 1975-2010 period. Using this data, we show that under some specific political environments, incumbents generate political budget cycles, predominantly by increasing current, rather than capital, spending and reducing taxes, most often income taxes. However, when democracies are matured, in election years, central governments reallocate their expenditure and revenue components, without changing their total levels. Specifically, they reallocate spending from capital spending to grants to other government units, while reducing income taxes and increasing consumption taxes instead.
    Keywords: Political budget cycles; Spending and revenue composition; Central government; Opportunism

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