nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2015‒03‒05
twelve papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Debates: The Impact of Voter Knowledge Initiatives in Sierra Leone By Casey, Katherine E.; Glennerster, Rachel; Bidwell, Kelly
  2. Power of Joint Decision-Making in a Finitely-Repeated Dilemma By Kamei, Kenju
  3. Does electoral strength affect politician's trade policy preferences? Evidence from Japan By Ito, Banri
  4. Effects of the internet on participation : study of a public policy referendum in Brazil By Spada,Paolo; Mellon,Jonathan; Peixoto,Tiago Carneiro; Sjoberg,Fredrik Matias
  5. 'Unfinished Business': Historic Complementarities, Political Competition and Ethnic Violence in Gujarat By Jha, Saumitra
  6. Efficiency of Flexible Budgetary Institutions By Bowen, T. Renee; Chen, Ying; Eraslan, Hulya; Zapal, Jan
  7. Collective Self Control By Lizzeri, Alessandro; Yariv, Leeat
  8. Menu Auctions and Influence Games with Private Information By Martimort, David; Stole, Lars
  9. General statutory minimum wage debate in Germany: Degrees of political intervention in collective bargaining autonomy By Kota Kitagawa; Arata Uemura
  10. The UN Goldstone Report and Retraction: An Empirical Investigation By Arye L. Hillman; Niklas Potrafke
  11. Gandhi's Gift: Lessons for Peaceful Reform from India's Struggle for Democracy By Bhavnani, Rikhil R.; Jha, Saumitra
  12. Why Farm Support Persists: An Explanation Grounded in Congressional Political Economy By Freshwater, David; Leising, Jordan D.

  1. By: Casey, Katherine E. (Stanford University); Glennerster, Rachel (?); Bidwell, Kelly (?)
    Abstract: This project explores whether giving voters information about candidates and policy facilitates more informed voting and greater electoral accountability. In the information poor environment of Sierra Leone, we use a set of randomized experiments to estimate the impacts of structured debates between Parliamentary candidates on voter knowledge and behavior. We find evidence for strong positive impacts on general political knowledge, knowledge of candidate qualifications and policy stances; improved alignment between the policy preferences of voters and their selected candidate; greater voter openness to candidates from all parties; and increased vote shares for the candidate who performed the best during the debates. We further document an endogenous response by candidates, who increased their campaign effort in communities where videotapes of the debates were screened in public gatherings. A complementary series of treatment arms administered at the individual level unpacks the different types of information delivered by the debates, and finds evidence that voters respond to both candidate charisma and "hard facts" about policy stances and professional qualification.
    Date: 2014
  2. By: Kamei, Kenju
    Abstract: A rich body of literature has proposed that pairs behave significantly differently from individuals due to a number of reasons such as group polarization. This paper experimentally compares cooperation behaviors between pairs and individuals in a finitely-repeated two-player public goods game (continuous prisoner’s dilemma game). We show that pairs contribute significantly more than individuals to their group accounts. Especially, when two pairs are matched with each other for the entire periods, they successfully build long-lasting cooperative relationships with their matched pairs. Our detailed analyses suggest that the enhanced cooperation behavior of pairs may be driven by (a) the mere fact that they have partners when they make decisions, (b) group polarization – those who initially prefer to contribute smaller amounts are more affected by the partners in their pairs, and (c) stronger conditional cooperation behavior of pairs to their matched pairs.
    Keywords: experiment, cooperation, dilemma, team work, public goods
    JEL: C91 C92
    Date: 2015–02–26
  3. By: Ito, Banri
    Abstract: This study examines the effect of electoral strength on politician's trade policy preferences using data of candidates running for the members of the House of Representatives in Japan. The results reveal that the electoral strength measured by the margin of vote affects candidates' trade policy preferences after controlling attributes of candidates and constituencies. Specifically, candidates who face a close race in election are more likely to be protectionist than those who are expected to be elected by a substantial majority, suggesting that electoral competitions deter politicians from supporting trade liberalization. This result is robust to the model with the margin of vote as an endogenous variable.
    Keywords: Trade policy; policy preferences; electoral competition
    JEL: D72 F13
    Date: 2015–03–02
  4. By: Spada,Paolo; Mellon,Jonathan; Peixoto,Tiago Carneiro; Sjoberg,Fredrik Matias
    Abstract: Does online voting mobilize citizens who otherwise would not participate? During the annual participatory budgeting vote in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil -- the world's largest -- Internet voters were asked whether they would have participated had there not been an online voting option (i-voting). The study documents an 8.2 percent increase in total turn-out with the introduction of i-voting. In support of the mobilization hypothesis, unique survey data show that i-voting is mainly used by new participants rather than just for convenience by those who were already mobilized. The study also finds that age, gender, income, education, and social media usage are significant predictors of being online-only voters. Technology appears more likely to engage people who are younger, male, of higher income and educational attainment, and more frequent social media users.
    Keywords: Technology Industry,Political Systems and Analysis,National Governance,ICT Policy and Strategies,Parliamentary Government
    Date: 2015–02–26
  5. By: Jha, Saumitra (Stanford University)
    Abstract: I examine how the historical legacies of inter-ethnic complementarity and competition interact with contemporary electoral competition in shaping patterns of ethnic violence. Using local comparisons within Gujarat, a single Indian state known for both its non-violent local traditions and for widespread ethnic pogroms in 2002, I provide evidence that where political competition was focused upon towns where ethnic groups have historically competed, there was a rise in the propensity for ethnic rioting and increased electoral support for the incumbent party complicit in the violence. However, where political competition was focused in towns that historically enjoyed inter-ethnic complementarities, there were fewer ethnic riots, and these towns also voted against the incumbent. These historic legacies proved to be important predictors of the identity of the winner even in very close electoral races. I argue that these results reflect the role local inter-ethnic economic relations can play in altering the nature and the benefits of political campaigns that encourage ethnic violence.
    JEL: F10 N25 O18 Z12
    Date: 2014–02
  6. By: Bowen, T. Renee (Stanford University); Chen, Ying (Johns Hopkins University); Eraslan, Hulya (Rice University); Zapal, Jan (CERGE-EI, Prague and Barcelona GSE)
    Abstract: Which budgetary institutions result in efficient provision of public goods? We analyze a model with two parties bargaining over the allocation to a public good each period. Parties place different values on the public good, and these values may change over time. We model a budgetary institution as the rules governing feasible allocations to mandatory and discretionary spending programs. Mandatory spending is enacted by law and remains in effect until changed, and thus induces an endogenous status quo, whereas discretionary spending is periodic appropriations that are not allocated if no new agreement is reached. We show that discretionary only institutions lead to dynamic inefficiencies and mandatory only institutions can lead to both dynamic and static inefficiencies. By introducing flexibility into budgetary institutions, either through a combination of mandatory and discretionary spending, or through a state-contingent mandatory program, we obtain static and dynamic efficiency.
    Date: 2014–10
  7. By: Lizzeri, Alessandro; Yariv, Leeat
    Abstract: Behavioral economics presents a "paternalistic" rationale for a benevolent government's intervention. We consider an economy where the only “distortion” is agents’ time inconsistency. We study the desirability of various forms of collective action, ones pertaining to costly commitment and ones pertaining to the timing of consumption, when government decisions respond to voters’ preferences via the political process. If only commitment decisions are centralized, commitment investment is more moderate than if all decisions are centralized. Commitment investment is minimal when only consumption is centralized. First-period welfare is highest under either full centralization or laissez faire, depending on the populations’ time-inconsistency distribution.
    Keywords: behavioral political economy; hyperbolic discounting; time inconsistency
    JEL: D04 D70 H1
    Date: 2015–03
  8. By: Martimort, David; Stole, Lars
    Abstract: We study games in which multiple principals influence the choice of a privately-informed agent by offering action-contingent payments. We characterize the equilibrium allocation set as the maximizers of an endogenous aggregate virtual-surplus program. The aggregate maximand for every equilibrium includes an information-rent margin which captures the confluence of the principals’ rent-extraction motives. We illustrate the economic implications of this novel margin in two applications: a public goods game in which players incentivize a common public good supplier, and a lobbying game between conflicting interest groups who offer contributions to influence a common political decision-maker.
    Keywords: Menu auctions, influence games, common agency, screening contracts, public goods games, lobbying games
    JEL: D82
    Date: 2015–02–23
  9. By: Kota Kitagawa; Arata Uemura
    Abstract: This article traces the pattern of conflict, collaboration, and compromise among trade unions, employers, political parties, executive branches, and economic research institutes in Germany, all of which have different stances regarding the introduction of a general statutory minimum wage there. This article examines the degree of political intervention in collective bargaining autonomy. First, it identifies the factors that bring about differences in stance. Second, it addresses the issue of actor independence—in particular, that of service trade unions—despite the placing of institutional factors, to establish a reference standard for the debate behind forming social movement alliances. Third, it examines the manner in which the policy’s economic legitimacy is earned. We conclude that the emergence of a statutory minimum wage in Germany reflects the dynamic mix of postwar political practices in its own context with the effects of modern neoliberal economic policies.
    Keywords: Minimum Wage, Collective Bargaining Autonomy, Germany, Coalition Agreement, Social Movement Unionism, Varieties of Capitalism
    JEL: J08 J58 K31
    Date: 2015–01
  10. By: Arye L. Hillman (Bar-Ilan University); Niklas Potrafke
    Abstract: The United Nations Goldstone Report criminalized self-defense against state sponsored or state-perpetrated terror. We use voting on the two UN General Assembly resolutions relating to the Goldstone Report to study whether support for the Goldstone principle of criminalization of self-defense against terror was influenced by countries’ political institutions. Our results, using two different measures of political institutions, reveal systematic differences in voting by democracies and autocracies: as an example, based on the Chief-in- Executive measure of political institutions, a country with the highest democracy score was some 55 percentage points less likely to vote in favor of the second of the two UN Goldstone resolutions and some 55 percentage points more likely to abstain than a country with the highest autocratic score. The differences between democracies and autocracies in willingness to initiate symmetric welfare are therefore also reflected in differences in sensitivities to loss of life and harm in asymmetric warfare, through broad support by democracies, but not by autocracies, for legitimacy of self-defense against state-supported or state-perpetrated terror. The Goldstone Report is unique among United Nations reports in having been eventually repudiated by its principal author.
    Keywords: State-sponsored terror; state-perpetrated terror; asymmetric warfare; United Nations; UNGA voting; international law; war crimes; human rights; democracy; autocracy; Israel; supreme values; expressive voting
    Date: 2014–11
  11. By: Bhavnani, Rikhil R. (University of WI); Jha, Saumitra (Stanford University)
    Abstract: In this overview article, we summarize recent research in progress that examines the potential and limitations of non-violent civil disobedience through the lens of the evolution of an iconic success: India's struggle for democratic self-rule. We present a theoretical framework that highlights two key twin challenges faced by non-violent movements in ethnically diverse countries. The first is the challenge of mass mobilization across ethnic lines. The second challenge lies in overcoming the enhanced temptations faced by members of large mobilized groups to turn violent, whether to secure short-term gains from mob action or in response to manipulation by agents who stand to gain from political violence. We show how these challenges appear to match general patterns from cross-campaign data. Motivated by these patterns, we discuss how these challenges were overcome during the Indian Independence Struggle. We argue that the first challenge--that of forging a mass movement [was accomplished through the brokering of a deal that took advantage of external shocks] in this case, the Great Depression--to align the incentives of disparate ethnic and social groups towards mass mobilization in favour of democracy and land reform. The second key challenge--that of keeping the mass movement peaceful was accomplished through organizational innovations introduced by Mohandas Gandhi in his reforms of the constitution of the Congress movement in 1919-20. These organizational innovations took the Congress movement from one dominated by a rich elite to one organized on the principle of self-sacrifice, selecting future leaders who could then be trusted to maintain non-violent discipline in pursuit of the extension of broad rights and public policy objectives. We conclude by arguing that a key, but hitherto mostly neglected, aspect of 'Gandhi's Gift'--the example of non-violence applied to India's independence struggle-lies in understanding these organizational innovations.
    Date: 2014–03
  12. By: Freshwater, David; Leising, Jordan D.
    Abstract: n the paper we provide an explanation of the persistence of the commodity titles in US farm bills that is grounded in core theories of the policy process from the political science literature. The political science literature explains policy continuity and policy change from a number of different perspectives and we use these to explain why the commodity titles of farm bills have persisted in the face of considerable opposition and how in response the Agriculture Committees have introduced incremental change to the content of farm bills to facilitate each bill’s passage. Unlike the standard approach of agricultural economists which focuses on the broader national economic efficiency impacts of farm programs, we concentrate on, narrower local political forces that affect individual Members of the Congress, and on the legislative process that created each farm bill.
    Keywords: US farm policy, farm bill, political economy, policy continuity and change, Agricultural and Food Policy, Public Economics, N52, Q18, B52,
    Date: 2015–02–07

This nep-cdm issue is ©2015 by Stan C. Weeber. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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.