nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2015‒05‒02
eight papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Is happiness a predictor of election results? By George Ward
  2. The Citizen-Candidate Model with Imperfect Policy Control By R. Emre Aytimur; Aristotelis Boukouras; Robert Schwagerz
  3. Transnational capital and the political settlement of Ghana’s oil economy By Giles Mohan; Kojo Pumpuni Asante
  4. Culture, Institutions and Democratization By Gorodnichenko, Yuriy; Roland, Gérard
  5. How Falsifiable is the Collective Model? A New Test with an Application to Monogamous and Bigamous Households in Burkina Faso By Dauphin, Anyck; Fortin, Bernard; Lacroix, Guy
  6. Polyarchies, Competitive Oligarchies, or Inclusive Hegemonies? 23 Global Intergovernmental Organizations Compared By Dawisson Belém Lopes
  7. Regional Linkages and Global Policy Alignment: The Case of China–Southeast Asia Relations By Pascal Abb; Georg Strüver
  8. Alliance Formation in a Vertically Differentiated Market By Jean J. Gabszewicz; Marco A. Marini; Ornella Tarola

  1. By: George Ward
    Abstract: Is it in politicians’ interest to focus policy on subjective well-being (SWB)? Many governments and international organisations have recently begun to measure progress at least partly in terms of the population’s SWB or “happiness”. This paper investigates the extent to which citizens themselves judge national success in such terms. Using cross-country panel data, the analysis shows that the electoral fate of governing parties is associated not only with the state of the macroeconomy—as a substantial literature on ‘economic voting’ suggests—but also with the electorate’s wider well-being. A country’s aggregate level of SWB is able to account for more of the variance in government vote share than standard macroeconomic variables. This is consistent with a simple political agency model, and has implications for the incentives faced by politicians to act in the interests of voters.
    Keywords: Subjective well-being; political agency; elections
    JEL: I31
    Date: 2015–03
  2. By: R. Emre Aytimur; Aristotelis Boukouras; Robert Schwagerz
    Abstract: We present a modified citizen-candidate model where the implemented policy arises from a compromise between the government and an unelected external power. We show that the two-candidate equilibria of this model differ significantly from the original: however small the cost of candidacy, the distance between the candidates' policies, both ideal and implemented, remains strictly above a threshold. Moreover, there may be one-candidate equilibria in which the only candidate is not the one most preferred by the median voter. Both results point out that, even with negligible cost of entry, there are limits to strategic delegation.
    Keywords: elections, polarization, strategic delegation, bureaucracy, foreign influence
    JEL: D72 D78
    Date: 2015–04
  3. By: Giles Mohan; Kojo Pumpuni Asante
    Abstract: Ghana’s recent status as an oil producer focuses attention on the relationship between domestic politics and transnational actors. While the political settlements literature is useful for focusing on how elite coalitions shape the governance of natural resources, it is not explicit about the role of transnational factors in shaping and enabling these coalitions. As such there is a tendency to downplay the significance of transnational-national interactions and national-local dynamics. This paper analyses the changing nature of the political settlement in Ghana pre- and post-oil and the role that transnational actors play in reshaping the coalitions which underpin and reproduce the overall settlement. We find that the discovery of oil has not radically altered the nature of Ghana’s political settlement, which remains of a competitive clientelist form within which institutional functioning and policy actors are heavily influenced by the need of political elites to secure success in increasingly tightly-fought elections. These tendencies and the ongoing structural inequalities between transnational capital and the sovereign state have resulted in oil licences being negotiated on terms favouring external actors. Through primary data collected from key informant interviews and case studies we show that power lies with the external actors albeit through the elite brokerage of contracts. Within these bargaining processes we see parts of the Ghanaian state acting strongly and effectively to serve both the interests of domestic elites and transnational capital. The combined effect of competitive clientelism and new sources of foreign capital is that structural issues and longer term planning decisions are largely deprioritised in favour of shorter-term gains.
    Date: 2015
  4. By: Gorodnichenko, Yuriy; Roland, Gérard
    Abstract: We construct a model of revolution and transition to democracy under an individualistic and a collectivist culture. The main result is that, despite facing potentially larger collective action problems, countries with an individualistic culture are more likely to end up adopting democracy faster than countries with a collectivist culture. Our instrumental variable estimation suggests a strong and robust effect of individualistic culture on average polity scores and length of democracy, even after controlling for other determinants of democracy emphasized in the literature. We also give evidence that countries with collectivist culture are also more likely to experience autocratic breakdowns and transitions from autocracy to autocracy.
    Keywords: collective action; collectivism; culture; democratization; individualism
    JEL: H1 P48 Z1
    Date: 2015–04
  5. By: Dauphin, Anyck (Université du Québec en Outaouais); Fortin, Bernard (Université Laval); Lacroix, Guy (Université Laval)
    Abstract: Collective rationality is seldom if ever rejected in the literature, raising doubt about its falsifiability. We show that the standard approach to test the collective model with distribution factors may yield misleading inference. We generalize the model and provide an appropriate test procedure to assess its validity. Our new approach extends to households that include more than two decision-makers (e.g., polygamous households, adult children). We investigate household consumption decision-making within monogamous and bigamous households in Burkina Faso. Using the standard testing approach, collective rationality within monogamous households is not rejected. Using our proposed test procedure, collective rationality is however rejected for monogamous households. Furthermore, our test also rejects collective rationality for bigamous households. We conclude that the household efficiency does yield empirically falsifiable restrictions despite being scarcely rejected in the literature.
    Keywords: collective model, distribution factors, rationality, efficiency, polygamy
    JEL: D1 D7 J12
    Date: 2015–04
  6. By: Dawisson Belém Lopes (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais)
    Abstract: In this paper, I assume that global intergovernmental organizations (GIGOs) function as “enablers” of interstate liberal politics by way of their multilateral institutional frame-works. To support this view, I recall and adapt the classical concept of “polyarchy,” coined in the early 1950s by Robert A. Dahl. It consists of a two-dimensional theoretical construct applicable for measuring the level of liberalization in modern political societies. It follows that the more actors who take part in politics, and the more that institutions allow political opposition, the more open a society (of states) is likely to be. I thus wish to assess and rate the level of “polyarchization” of 23 GIGOs that cover various issue areas and fit some specific criteria (for example, more than one hundred member states from at least three different continents). The methodology section includes a scorecard that I have specially developed to help achieve these research objectives.
    Keywords: Robert A. Dahl, polyarchy, international organizations, democracy, political theory, international relations
    Date: 2015–02
  7. By: Pascal Abb (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies); Georg Strüver (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies)
    Abstract: This paper uses the case of Sino–Southeast Asian relations to gain insights on China’s ability to muster support for its global agenda. The analysis focuses on the regional–global nexus of interstate relations and explores the extent to which the quality of two states’ regional relations influences the likelihood of behavioral alignment in global politics. To this end, we consider a range of potentially influential aspects of Sino–Southeast Asian relations (the quality of bilateral relations based on recent event data, alliance policy, regime similarity, development level, and economic ties) and employ a statistical model to search for correlations with observed trends of voting coincidence in the United Nations General Assembly during the period 1979–2010. We find a strong correlation between the quality of regional bilateral relations and global policy alignment, which indicates that patterns of regional cooperation and conflict also impact the trajectory of China’s rise in world affairs.
    Keywords: regional cooperation and conflict, Southeast Asia, China, event data, UN voting analysis, panel data
    Date: 2015–03
  8. By: Jean J. Gabszewicz (CORE UniversitŽ Catholique de Louvain); Marco A. Marini (Department of Computer, Control and Management Engineering, Universita' degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza"); Ornella Tarola (Dipartimento di Scienze sociali ed economiche, Universita' degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza")
    Abstract: This paper studies how the possibility for firms to sign collusive agreements (as for instance being part of alliances, cartels and mergers) may affect their quality and price choice in a market with vertically differentiated goods. For this purpose we model the firm decisions as a three-stage game in which, at the first stage, firms can form an alliance via a sequential game of coalition formation and, at the second and third stage, they decide simultaneously their product qualities and prices, respectively. In such a setting we study whether there exist circumstances under which either full or partial collusion can be sustained as a subgame perfect Nash equilibrium of the coalition formation game. Also, we analyse the effects of different coalition structures on equilibrium qualities, prices and profits accruing to firms. It is shown that only intermediate coalition structures arise at the equilibrium, with the bottom quality firm always included. Moreover, all equilibrium price and quality configurations always coincide with that observed in the duopoly case, with only two quality variants on sale.
    Keywords: Vertically differentiated market ; endogenous alliance formation ; coalition structures ; price collusion ; grand coalition ; coalition stability ; sequential games of coalition formation
    Date: 2015

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