nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2015‒07‒25
seven papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Political Selection and the Concentration of Political Power By Andreas Grunewald; Emanuel Hansen; Gert Poenitzsch
  2. Electoral rules and political selection : theory and evidence from a field experiment in Afghanistan By Beath,Andrew; Christia,Fotini; Egorov,Georgy; Enikolopov,Ruben
  3. Networked politics: political cycles and instability under social influences By Diffo Lambo, Lawrence; Pongou, Roland; Tchantcho, Bertrand; Wambo, Pierre
  4. Promoting democracy in fragile states : insights from a field experiment in Liberia By Mvukiyehe,Eric; Samii,Cyrus Dara
  5. Democratic Responsiveness in the European Union: the Case of the Council By Christopher Wratil
  6. Leadership with Individual Rewards and Punishments By Gürerk, Özgür; Lauer, Thomas; Scheuermann, Martin
  7. A Voting Architecture for the Governance of Free-Driver Externalities, with Application to Geoengineering By Weitzman, Martin L.

  1. By: Andreas Grunewald; Emanuel Hansen; Gert Poenitzsch
    Abstract: This paper studies the effects of power-concentrating institutions on the quality of political selection, i.e., the voters' capacity to identify and empower well-suited politicians. In our model, candidates are heterogeneous in two unobservable quality aspects: ability and public-spiritedness. As voters can only base their ballots on the candidates' binding policy proposals, low-quality candidates face incentives to mimic their high-quality counterparts and a selection problem arises. We nd that powerconcentrating institutions amplify this selection problem as they increase electoral stakes and thus the incentives for mimicking. However, they also allocate more political power to the voters' preferred candidate. As a consequence, the optimal institutional setting depends on the con ict of interest between voters and candidates. The larger the con ict of interest, the smaller is the level of power concentration that maximizes voter welfare. A complete concentration of power in the hands of the election winner is optimal if and only if the con ict of interest is small.
    Keywords: Elections, Constitutional Design, Selection, Asymmetric Information
    JEL: D72 D82 H11
    Date: 2015–04
  2. By: Beath,Andrew; Christia,Fotini; Egorov,Georgy; Enikolopov,Ruben
    Abstract: Voters commonly face a choice between competent candidates and those with policy preferences similar to their own. This paper explores how electoral rules, such as district magnitude, mediate this trade-off and affect the composition of representative bodies and policy outcomes. The paper shows formally that anticipation of bargaining over policy causes voters in elections with multiple single-member districts to prefer candidates with polarized policy positions over more competent candidates. Results from a unique field experiment in Afghanistan are consistent with these predictions. Specifically, representatives elected in elections with a single multi-member district are better educated and exhibit less extreme policy preferences.
    Keywords: Parliamentary Government,E-Government,Housing&Human Habitats,Social Accountability
    Date: 2015–07–13
  3. 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. The findings further provide 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
  4. By: Mvukiyehe,Eric; Samii,Cyrus Dara
    Abstract: A field experiment in rural Liberia is used to study democratic participation in fragile states. Fragile states are marked by political fragmentation, local patronage systems, and voter vulnerability. To understand the effects of such conditions on democratic expression through elections, the experiment introduced new forms of interaction between rural citizens and third-party actors: (i) civic education and town hall workshops directed by non-governmental organizations in communities over nine months and (ii) security committees that brought rural community representatives into monthly exchange with United Nations peacekeepers. Civic education workshops increased enthusiasm for electoral participation, produced a coordinated shift from parochial to national candidates, and increased willingness to report on manipulation. A program combining the two interactions had similar effects. The security committees had negligible effects. Barriers to political information and voter coordination appear to be important but resolvable problems for elections in fragile states.
    Date: 2015–07–15
  5. By: Christopher Wratil
    Abstract: Governments’ responsiveness to citizens’ preferences is a key assessment criterion of democratic quality. This paper assesses responsiveness to public opinion in European Union politics with the example of governments’ position-taking in the Council of the EU. The analysis demonstrates that governments’ willingness to adopt negotiation positions that reflect public opinion systematically varies with their electoral incentives flowing from domestic arenas. Governments behave responsive in EU legislative negotiations if they face majoritarian electoral systems at home, when elections are imminent, and when parties or EU-related events trigger the public salience of integration. These findings have important implications for the debate on the EU’s democratic deficit and our understanding of democratic responsiveness outside the national political arena.
    Keywords: responsiveness, public opinion, European Union, multidimensional, democratic deficit
    Date: 2015–06
  6. By: Gürerk, Özgür; Lauer, Thomas; Scheuermann, Martin
    Abstract: In a public goods experiment, leaders with reward or punishment power induce higher team cooperation compared to leader-free teams without any reward or punishment possibilities. When equipped with reward or punishment instruments, however, leader-free teams perform as well as teams with leaders.We conclude that the instruments as such are more effective in fostering cooperation than a leader.
    Keywords: Leadership, Public Goods, Punishment, Reward
    JEL: C92 H41 M5
    Date: 2015–07–17
  7. By: Weitzman, Martin L.
    Abstract: Abating climate change is an enormous international public goods problem with a classical "free rider" structure. But it is also a global "free driver" problem because geoengineering the stratosphere with reflective particles to block incoming solar radiation is so cheap that it could essentially be undertaken unilaterally by one state perceiving itself to be in peril. This exploratory paper develops the main features of a "free driver" externality in a simple model motivated by the asymmetric consequences of type-I and type-II errors. I propose a social-choice decision architecture embodying the solution concept of a supermajority voting rule and derive its basic properties.
    Date: 2015–07–15

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