nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2015‒07‒18
twelve papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Ghost seats in the Basque Parliament By Laruelle, Annick; Ibarzabal Laka, Nora
  2. Public Education and Pensions in Democracy: A Political Economy Theory By Lancia, Francesco; Russo, Alessia
  3. Fraudulent Democracy: A Dynamic Ordinal Game Approach By Moyouwou, Issofa; Pongou, Roland; Tchantcho, Bertrand
  4. On Two-Period Committee Voting: Why Straw Polls Should Have Consequences By Tim Julius Frommeyer
  5. Networked Politics: Political Cycles and Instability under Social Influences By Diffo Lambo, Lawrence; Pongou, Roland; Tchantcho, Bertrand; Wambo, Pierre
  6. Partially Binding Platforms: Campaign Promises vis-a-vis Cost of Betrayal By Yasushi Asako
  7. Group-contests with endogenous claims By DANIEL CARDONA; ANTONI RUBÍ-BARCELÓ
  8. Does the Gender Composition of Scientific Committees Matter? By Bagues, Manuel F.; Sylos-Labini, Mauro; Zinovyeva, Natalia
  9. The political economy of renewable energy policies in Germany and the EU By Strunz, Sebastian; Gawel, Erik; Lehmann, Paul
  10. A Theory of Civil Disobedience By Edward L. Glaeser; Cass R. Sunstein
  11. The effects of political competition on rural land: Evidence from Pakistan: By Kosec, Katrina; Haider, Hamza S.; Spielman, David J.; Zaidi, Fatima
  12. Means Testing versus Basic Income: The (Lack of) Political Support for a Universal Allowance By Cremer, Helmuth; Roeder, Kerstin

  1. By: Laruelle, Annick; Ibarzabal Laka, Nora
    Abstract: In elections voters have generally four options: to abstain, to cast a blank vote, to cast a null vote, or to vote for a candidate or party. This last option is a positive expression of support, while the other three options reflect lack of interest, or dissatisfaction with the parties or the political system. However only votes for parties or candidates are taken into account in the apportionment method. In particular the number of seats allocated to parties remains constant even if the number of non votes (i.e. blank votes, null votes or abstention) is very large. This paper proposes to treat the non votes as a party in the apportionment method and to leave empty the corresponding seats. These empty seats are referred to as "ghost seats". How this would affect the decision-making is quantified in terms of power indices. We apply this proposal to a case study:the regional Parliament of the Basque Autonomous Community (Spain) from 1980 till 2012.
    Keywords: voting, abstention, blanck votes, null votes
    JEL: C71 D72
    Date: 2015–04–24
  2. By: Lancia, Francesco (University of Vienna); Russo, Alessia (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)
    Abstract: This paper presents a dynamic politico-economic theory of fiscal policy to explain the simultaneous existence of public education and pensions in modern democracies. The driving force of the model is the intergenerational conflict over the allocation of the public budget. Successive generations of voters choose fiscal policies through repeated elections. The political power of elderly voters creates the motive for adults to support public investment in the human capital of future generations, since it expands future pension possibilities. We characterize the Markov perfect equilibrium of the voting game in a small open economy. The equilibrium can reproduce qualitative and quantitative features of intergenerational fiscal policies in modern economies.
    Keywords: Intergenerational conflict; Markov perfect equilibrium; pension; public education; repeated voting; small open economy
    JEL: D72 E62 H23 H30 H53
    Date: 2015–01–30
  3. By: Moyouwou, Issofa; Pongou, Roland; Tchantcho, Bertrand
    Abstract: We propose a model of political competition and stability in nominally democratic societies characterized by fraudulent elections. In each election, an opposition leader is pitted against the leader in power. If the latter wins, he remains in power, which automatically makes him the incumbent candidate in the next election as there are no term limits. If he loses, there is an exogenously positive probability that he will steal the election. We model voter forward-looking behavior, defining a new solution concept. We then examine the existence, popularity, and welfare properties of equilibrium leaders, these being leaders who would remain in power indefinitely without stealing elections. We find that equilibrium leaders always exist. However, they are generally unpopular, and may be inefficient. We identify three types of conditions under which equilibrium leaders are efficient. First, efficiency is achieved under any constitutional arrangement if and only if there are at most four competing leaders. Second, when there are more than four competing leaders, efficiency is achieved if and only if the prevailing political system is an oligarchy, which means that political power rests with a unique minimal coalition. Third, for a very large class of preferences that strictly includes the class of single-peaked preferences, equilibrium leaders are always efficient and popular regardless of the level of political competition. The analysis implies that an excessive number of competing politicians, perhaps due to a high level of ethnic fragmentation, may lead to political failure by favoring the emergence of a ruling leader who is able to persist in power forever without stealing elections, despite being inefficient and unpopular.
    Keywords: Fraudulent democracy, farsightedness, efficiency, popularity, naiveté, political failure, fragmentation
    JEL: C73 D72 D73 K4 O1
    Date: 2015–07–02
  4. By: Tim Julius Frommeyer
    Abstract: We consider a committee voting setup with two rounds of voting where committee members, who possess private information about the state of the world, have to make a binary decision. We investigate incentives for truthful revelation of their information in the first voting period. Coughlan (2000) shows that members reveal their information in a straw poll only if their preferences are in fact homogeneous. By taking costs of time into account, we demonstrate that committees have strictly higher incentives to reveal information if a decision can be made for high levels of consensus in the straw poll already. In such scenarios, members of all homogeneous and some heterogeneous juries are strictly better off when the requirement for early decisions is chosen carefully.
    Keywords: Communication, Committees, Voting
    JEL: D72 D82 D83
    Date: 2015–04
  5. By: Diffo Lambo, Lawrence; Pongou, Roland; Tchantcho, Bertrand; Wambo, Pierre
    Abstract: Media, opinion leaders, co-ethnics, family members, and friends influence our political decisions. The ways in which these influences affect political cycles and (in)stability has been understudied. We propose a model of a networked political economy, where agents' choices are partly determined by the opinions of the individuals with whom they are connected in a fixed influence network. The model features two types of individuals: ideological individuals who never change their views and who seek to influence the rest of the society; and non-ideological individuals who have no political allegiance and do not influence anybody, but who can be influenced by ideological individuals with whom they are connected. We show that influence networks increase political turnout and cause non-ideological individuals who are subject to antagonistic influences to keep changing their political views. This in turn increases political cycles and instability in two ways: (1) by reducing the number of stable and popular political leaders; and (2) by worsening the tradeoff between political competition and the existence of a stable leader. We uncover a necessary and sufficient condition that characterizes all of the political technologies and network structures that guarantee political stability. This condition introduces a preference-blind stability index, which maps each pair of a constitution and an influence network into the maximum number of competing political leaders that a society can afford while remaining stable regardless of the extent of preference heterogeneity in its population. Our findings have testable implications for different societies. They shed light on the network origins of political cycles in two-party systems. They also imply that individualist societies are more politically stable than collectivist societies and societies organized around ethnic groups or characterized by a high level of homophilous behavior and influences. For ethnic democracies, we quantify the exact tradeoff between political competition and stability, and show that ethnic fragmentation increases stability. This latter finding further provides a rationale for using the "divide and rule" strategy to maintain political power. Finally, we find that cliques and multi-layer cliques maximize the competition-stability tradeoff, whereas star networks, lines and rings minimize it.
    Keywords: Political cycles, instability, influence networks, homophily, ethnic democracy, competition-stability tradeoff.
    JEL: C0 C7 D7 D8 D85 H0 O1
    Date: 2015–06–01
  6. By: Yasushi Asako (School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University)
    Abstract: This study examines and models the e?ects of partially binding campaign platforms in a political competition. Here, a candidate who implements a policy that di?ers from the platform must pay a cost of betrayal, which increases with the size of the discrepancy. I also analyze endogenous decisions by citizens to run for an election. In particular, the model is able to show two implications that previous frameworks have had di¢ culty with. First, candidates with di?erent characteristics have di?erent probabilities of winning an election. Second, even knowing that he/she will lose an election, a candidate will still run, hoping to make an opponent?s policy approach his/her own policy.
    Keywords: political competition, endogenous candidates, campaign promises
    JEL: C72 D72
    Date: 2014–08
  7. By: DANIEL CARDONA (Universitat de les Illes Balears); ANTONI RUBÍ-BARCELÓ (Universitat de les Illes Balears)
    Abstract: Before group members individually decide their efforts in a contest to set a policy, groups are allowed to make some concessions to their opponent by choosing a less controversial policy to lobby for. When valuations over the set of policies follow a linear function, we show that concessions are never profitable when the success function is homogeneous of degree zero but they are when it is of difference form. Surprisingly, concessions might be detrimental for the members of the group that does not make them. Comparing this situation with another where efforts are decided collectively at a group level allows us to remark the effect of positive externalities of effort as the key cause of this damage.
    Keywords: Group contests; endogenous claims; conflict; rent-seeking
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2015
  8. By: Bagues, Manuel F. (Aalto University); Sylos-Labini, Mauro (University of Pisa); Zinovyeva, Natalia (Aalto University)
    Abstract: An increasing number of countries are introducing gender quotas in scientific committees. We analyze how a larger presence of female evaluators affects committee decision-making using information on 100,000 applications to associate and full professorships in all academic disciplines in two countries, Italy and Spain. These applications were assessed by 8,000 evaluators who were selected through a random draw. A larger number of women in evaluation committees does not increase either the quantity or the quality of female candidates who qualify. If anything, when evaluators' are not familiar with candidates' research area, gender-mixed committees tend to be less favorable towards female candidates than all-male committees, with the exception of evaluations to full professorships in Spain. Data from 300,000 individual voting reports suggests that men become less favorable towards female candidates as soon as a woman joins the committee.
    Keywords: scientific committees, gender discrimination, randomized natural experiment
    JEL: J71 J16
    Date: 2015–07
  9. By: Strunz, Sebastian; Gawel, Erik; Lehmann, Paul
    Abstract: In this paper, we employ a public choice perspective to analyze the development of policies for renewable energy sources (RES) in the EU in general and in Germany more specifically. In doing so, we explain the main characteristics of current RES policies in the EU by reference to the selfinterest driven motivations of voters, stakeholders and political actors. One important puzzle, which we address, is the following: How could effective RES-policies be introduced against the political opposition of fossil-fuel interest groups in the past? Via analyzing the German example in more detail, we show how over time a self-reinforcing interplay of ideological and financial RES support has emerged. Moreover, we demonstrate that observed specific design choices for EU RES policies, such as largely riskless remuneration schemes, high degrees of technology differentiation and decentralized decision-making across Member States, can be traced back to politicians' need to balance a variety of partly opposing interests. A major benefit of the presented analysis is that it provides a realistic assessment of the challenges for RES policy reform - any reform effort critically depends on its ability to balance stakeholder interests.
    Keywords: lobbying,public choice,renewable energy sources,subsidies,support policies
    JEL: D72 D78 H25 K32 Q42
    Date: 2015
  10. By: Edward L. Glaeser; Cass R. Sunstein
    Abstract: From the streets of Hong Kong to Ferguson, Missouri, civil disobedience has again become newsworthy. What explains the prevalence and extremity of acts of civil disobedience?This paper presents a model in which protest planners choose the nature of the disturbance hoping to influence voters (or other decision-makers in less democratic regimes) both through the size of the unrest and by generating a response. The model suggests that protesters will either choose a mild “epsilon” protest, such as a peaceful march, which serves mainly to signal the size of the disgruntled population, or a “sweet spot” protest, which is painful enough to generate a response but not painful enough so that an aggressive response is universally applauded. Since non-epsilon protests serve primarily to signal the leaders’ type, they will occur either when protesters have private information about the leader’s type or when the distribution of voters’ preferences are convex in a way that leads the revelation of uncertainty to increase the probability of regime change. The requirements needed for rational civil disobedience seem not to hold in many world settings, and so we explore ways in which bounded rationality by protesters, voters, and incumbent leaders can also explain civil disobedience.
    JEL: K0 P16 R28
    Date: 2015–07
  11. By: Kosec, Katrina; Haider, Hamza S.; Spielman, David J.; Zaidi, Fatima
    Abstract: Can more vigorous political competition significantly raise rural land values, or contribute to more robust land rental markets? Exploiting exogenous variation in the national popularity of Pakistan’s political parties during the 2008 elections, we show that provincial assembly constituencies with greater competition between political parties had significantly higher land values and more active land rental markets four years later. A standard deviation decrease in a Herfindahl–Hirschman Index (HHI) of political concentration is associated with a 36 percent increase in land values, an 8 percentage point increase in the share of landowners renting out land, and an additional 4 percentage points of each landowner’s land being rented out. Land values appear to increase most among the poorest households, suggesting that benefits are greatest for those with the fewest resources to influence policy. Exploring potential causal mechanisms, we show that political competition leads to more stable and businessfriendly governance and institutions, better amenities, and greater provision of publicly provided goods. The effect of political competition on security is ambiguous, suggesting that political competition may decrease security along some dimensions and increase it along others.
    Keywords: prices, land markets, rural areas, governance, agricultural policies, political competition, rural governance, government performance, public goods,
    Date: 2015
  12. By: Cremer, Helmuth (Toulouse School of Economics); Roeder, Kerstin (University of Augsburg)
    Abstract: This paper studies the political economy of a basic income (BI) versus a means tested welfare scheme. We show in a very simple setting that if society votes on the type of system, its generosity as well as the "severity" of means testing (if any), a BI system could only emerge in the political equilibrium under very strong and empirically implausible conditions. Instead, the political process leads to a means tested system. The necessity to draw political support does affect the design of the system, but it only implies that means testing becomes less severe so that benefits are extended also to the middle classes. However, a fully universal system is rejected by a majority.
    Keywords: basic income, means testing, political support
    JEL: D3 D7 H2 H5
    Date: 2015–07

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