nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2015‒07‒04
nine papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. David and Goliath in the Poll Booth: Group Size, Voting Power and Voter Turnout By Peter Bönisch; Benny Geys; Claus Michelsen
  2. The Business Cycle and the Entry of Third-Party Candidates in the US State-Level Elections By Yasushi Asako; Tetsuya Matsubayashi
  3. How Social Networks Shape Our Beliefs: A Natural Experiment among Future French Politicians By Yann Algan; Quoc-Anh Do; Nicolò Dalvit; Alexis Le Chapelain; Yves Zenou
  4. Collective Commitment By Christian Roessler; Sandro Shelegia; Bruno Strulovici
  5. Should Different People Have Different Governments? By Federico Boffa; Amedeo Piolatto; Giacomo Ponzetto
  6. Lying in public good games with and without punishment By Bernd Irlenbusch; Janna Ter Meer
  7. Media Competition, Information Provision and Political Participation By Julia Cage
  8. The Influence of Trust and Knowledge Sharing on Virtual Team Effectiveness By Thomas, Ted
  9. Civil society actors as drivers of socio-ecological transition? - Green spaces in European cities as laboratories of social innovation By Judith Schicklinski

  1. By: Peter Bönisch; Benny Geys; Claus Michelsen
    Abstract: This article analyses how the presence of a dominant group of voters within the electorate affects voter turnout. Theoretically, we argue that both the absolute size and the relative power of a dominant group influence voters' decision-making process. The former effect derives from increased free-riding incentives and reduced social pressure to vote within a larger dominant group, while the latter effect is driven by instrumental and expressive responses-in both the dominant and dominated groups-to electoral competition between groups. Our empirical analysis of a large cross-section of German municipalities confirms this joint importance of a dominant group's absolute and relative size for voter turnout. Such effects should thus be taken into account when redesigning electoral jurisdictions through, for instance, municipal mergers or gerrymandering.
    Keywords: Voter turnout, power, group size, merger, gerrymandering
    JEL: D70 D72 H11 H40
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Yasushi Asako (Waseda University); Tetsuya Matsubayashi (Osaka University)
    Abstract: This study offers a new explanation for the entry of third-party and independent candidates into the US state-level elections. We argue that the economic benefits of holding an office is what motivates amateur politicians to run, predicting that amateur politicians find holding an elected office particularly attractive when the private sector is struggling. This is because, during the recession, amateur politicians view that an elected office is a more attractive source of income as compared to private jobs, while pursuing political power to change the economic prospect by adopting a new policy. Building on this argument, we hypothesize that as the unemployment rate increases, the number of third-party and independent candidates increases. Our analysis with panel data of state house, state senate, and gubernatorial elections in 48 US states between 1980 and 2010 reveals that the hypothesized relationship existed only for state legislative elections. To explain why these candidates run, despite their very small probability of winning, we extend the prospect theory to suggest that these candidates may overestimate their probability of winning.
    Date: 2014–12
  3. By: Yann Algan (Département d'économie); Quoc-Anh Do (Département d'économie); Nicolò Dalvit (Departement d'Economie de Sciences Po, LIEPP); Alexis Le Chapelain (Département d'économie); Yves Zenou (Research Institute of Industrial Economics)
    Abstract: This paper shows how a public policy shapes convergence of beliefs through newly-formed social networks, with a focus on political opinion. We use a unique natural experiment that randomly assigns students into first-year groups at a French college that forms future top politicians. Pairs of students in the same group are much more likely to become friends. The randomized group membership serves as instrumental variable in a dyadic regression of differences in beliefs on friendship. We find that students’ political opinions converge particularly strongly between friends, reaching 11% of a standard deviation only after 6 months. Convergence is strongest among pairs least likely to become friends without the randomized exposure, or friends whose characteristics are the most different. While there is evidence of homophily in network formation, it does not seem to affect the estimates of convergence, except among very similar friends. The same strategy shows that a longer network distance implies slower convergence.
    Keywords: Political Beliefs; Peers; Social Networks; Convergence; Homophily; Belief Transmission; Learning; Diffusion; Natural Experiment
    JEL: C93 D72 Z13
    Date: 2015–06
  4. By: Christian Roessler; Sandro Shelegia; Bruno Strulovici
    Abstract: We consider collective decisions made by agents whose preferences and power depend on past events and decisions. Faced with an inecient equilibrium and an opportunity to commit to a policy, can the agents reach an agreement on such a policy? Under an intuitive condition linking power structures in the dynamic setting and at the commitment stage, the answer is negative: when the condition holds, the only agreement that may be reached at the outset, if any, coincides with the equilibrium without commitment. The condition is also necessary: when it fails, as in the case of a single time-inconsistent agent, commitment is valuable for some payos. We apply our result to explain inecient collective decisions in the contexts of investment in a public good, hiring, and reform.
    JEL: D70 H41 C70
    Date: 2015–06
  5. By: Federico Boffa (Free University of Bolzano‐Bozen, Faculty of Economics and Management); Amedeo Piolatto (Universitat de Barcelona); Giacomo Ponzetto (CREI, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and Barcelona GSE)
    Abstract: The classic theory of …scal federalism suggests that different people should have different governments. Yet, separate local governments with homogeneous constituents often end up doing poorly. This paper explains why and answers three questions: when regions are heterogeneous, what determines if power should be centralized or decentralized? How many levels of government should there be? How should state borders be drawn? We develop a model of political agency in which voters differ in their ability to monitor rent-seeking politicians. We …find that rent extraction is a decreasing but convex function of the share of informed voters, because voter information improves monitoring but also reduces the appeal of holding office. As a consequence, information heterogeneity makes centralization appealing as a way of reducing rent extraction. Conversely, taste heterogeneity prompts decentralization as a way of matching local preferences. We also explain why the proliferation of government tiers harms efficiency. We …find economies of scope in accountability: a single government in charge of many policies has better incentives than many special-purpose governments splitting its budget. Thus, a federal system is desirable only if information varies enough across regions. Our model implies that optimal borders should cluster by tastes but also ensure diversity of information. Quantitatively, our fi…ndings suggest excessive government fragmentation in the United States.
    Keywords: federalism, government accountability, imperfect information, interregional heterogeneity, elections
    JEL: D72 D82 H73 H77
    Date: 2015–06
  6. By: Bernd Irlenbusch (University of Cologne); Janna Ter Meer (University of Cologne)
    Abstract: We experimentally study a frequently observed public good setting where accurate contribution feedback is not available and group members can send non-verifiable cheap talk messages about their contributions. As feedback, subjects receive only announced contributions or the announced or actual contribution with 50% probability. In this setting, we explore both information transmission and reception as well as the effectiveness of costly peer punishment. Overall, we find that cooperation breaks down in all announcement treatments except when actual contribution feedback is provided some of the time and punishment is available. We identify various constraints to full cooperation relative to the standard public good game. First, subjects make errors in adjusting their beliefs for the announcements of others and, on average, adjust their beliefs downward for a given announcement. Second, we find that significantly more punishment is assigned to high contributors compared to the standard public good game. Furthermore, punishment for low contributors appears to have a smaller disciplining effect. When actual contribution information is provided some of the time we find that these constraints are less severe compared to the setting where only announcements are available.
    Keywords: public goods, punishment, lying, credibility, communication
    JEL: C92 D03 H41 D02
    Date: 2015–05–21
  7. By: Julia Cage
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of increased media competition on the quantity and quality of news provided and, ultimately, changes in political participation. Drawing from the literature on vertical product differentiation to model the production choices of newspapers, I show how an increase in the number of newspapers can decrease both the quantity and quality of news provided. I build a new county-level panel dataset of local newspaper presence, newspapers' costs and revenues and political turnout in France, from 1945 to 2012. I estimate the effect of newspaper entry by comparing counties that experience entry to similar counties in the same years that do not. These counties exhibit similar trends prior to newspaper entry, but newspaper entry then leads to substantial declines in the total number of journalists. More newspapers are also associated with fewer news articles and lower hard news provision. These effects are concentrated in counties with homogeneous populations, as predicted by the model, with little impact on counties with heterogeneous populations. Newspaper entry, and the associated decline in information provision, is ultimately found to decrease voter turnout.
    Keywords: Media Competition; Newspaper's Content; Hard News; Soft News; Product Differentiation; Political Participation
    JEL: D72 L11 L13 L82
    Date: 2014–01
  8. By: Thomas, Ted
    Abstract: Virtual teams are a growing response to increased de-centralisation and globalization, and the need for organizations to adapt to an ever changing and complex work environment. Their growing prevalence reflects many different factors, including the increased global reach of many organizations, changing workforce demographics, and heightened competitive pressures requiring greater organizational flexibility and responsiveness. This phenomenon has grown rapidly in recent years through advancements and greater access to technologies for communication and collaboration. Organizations however are being challenged with understanding what makes these virtual teams effective and how to measure the achievement of such effectiveness. Combined with the convergence of telephony and data technologies this has enabled voice and video to be delivered ‘on demand’ at a far more affordable price to the end consumer. With the added dynamic of ‘mobile’ becoming such a pervasive technology, this is providing the fuel driving the establishment of greater numbers of virtual teams. We now live in an increasingly “connected world” and with the blurring of work and leisure time, for many, virtual teams have already or are becoming a natural extension of the workplace. Individuals are demanding personal flexibility in the management of their time and space and this is matched by organizations seeking flexibility to scale resources in meeting changing demand. Virtual teams may also be seen as a response to satisfying changing social and organizational aspirations. A range of factors are seen as contributing to the effectiveness of virtual teams and these include technology, trust, sharing of knowledge, empowerment and leadership. This study focuses on trust as a primary factor in achieving virtual team effectiveness, and assesses the significance of trust and the sharing of knowledge amongst team members. Trust determines how people work together, listen to one another, and build effective relationships. When people believe that they are working for trustworthy organizations, they are willing to invest their time and talents in making a difference in an organization. People who feel more connected will invest more of themselves in their work. High trust levels lead to a greater sense of self responsibility, greater interpersonal insight, and more collective action toward achieving common goals. However, with a lack of face-to-face contact, trust based on performance substitutes for trust based on social interaction. Trust is a cornerstone to achieving virtual team effectiveness and from an organizational perspective this highlights the need for regular communication with team members to reinforce the culture and values of the organization. In the age of the knowledge economy, knowledge is seen as a critical resource for competitive advantage. The willingness of team members to share knowledge with others on the team can be attributed to the strength of the trust relationship and this further enhances virtual team effectiveness. The challenges for organizations are to understand what level of trust exists across the team, how this impacts on team effectiveness and to be able to apply interventions when seeking to increase team effectiveness. Active and regular communications programmes, internal marketing campaigns and short surveys are approaches for developing and enhancing the trust relationship. Organizations that are unwilling or unable to use virtual teams may find themselves losing out in an increasingly competitive and rapidly changing global economic and social environment. The technology and communication advances are clear, yet enabling effective participation and team collaboration is a more complex problem.
    Keywords: Virtual team effectiveness, Knowledge sharing, Trust,
    Date: 2014
  9. By: Judith Schicklinski
    Abstract: Why are civil society dynamics concerning green spaces across European cities so interesting for socio-ecological transition? All over Europe self-organized civil society movements are emerging to tackle local challenges, becoming active players in local governance processes. These social experiments have even been intensified as a result of tight public local budgets. Their activities contribute to the functioning and well-being of a European society aiming for sustainability. Preserving the availability of bio-diverse green spaces is crucial for the socio-ecological transition of cities since besides providing recreational opportunities for city dwellers, they yield essential ecological benefits from cleaning the air to reducing noise, but also provide habitat for many species and plants and reduce local vulnerabilities to extreme climate events. In cities in which local governments have severe difficulties in affording the provision of green space, new self-organized initiatives have emerged for maintaining and even developing them. Initiatives such as urban gardening have proven that people are able to cooperate, to organize themselves and to take over responsibility for green spaces as well as even introducing new practices that support the socio-ecological transition. This Milestone will contribute to the questions: -how can citizen groups contribute to maintain existing green spaces which are available and accessible for all and possibly being expanded whilst assuring biodiversity and allowing diverse use for local needs (re-creation, community-based food-production, neighbourhood culture, common intergenerational and intercultural learning etc.) at the same time; -which policy framework allows for a constructive colaboration between local authorities, administration, economic actors and citizens, enabling innovative solutions in the area of urban food production, green-space management and participative urban development.
    Keywords: Citizen participation, Civil society, Green spaces, Local governance, Self-organisation, Social innovation, Socio-ecological transition, Urban green commons
    Date: 2015–06

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.
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