nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2015‒10‒17
ten papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Competing for the Same Value Segments: Explaining the Volatile Dutch Political Landscape By van Herk, H.; Schoonees, P.C.; Groenen, P.J.F.; van Rosmalen, J.M.
  2. Electoral Incentives, Term Limits and the Sustainability of Peace By Conconi, Paola; Sahuguet, Nicolas; Zanardi, Maurizio
  3. Violence and political outcomes in Ukraine – Evidence from Sloviansk and Kramatorsk By Tom Coupe; Maksym Obrizan
  4. Autocracy and the public: Mass revolts, winning coalitions, and policy control in dictatorships By Apolte, Thomas
  5. Electoral Accountability and Responsive Democracy By John Duggan; Cesar Martinelli
  6. Multiple criteria analysis of policy alternatives to improve energy efficiency in industry in Russia By Bratanova, Alexandra; Robinson, Jacqueline; Wagner, Liam; Kolegov, Vitaly; Nikitchenko, Aleksey; Nikitchenko, Anna
  7. The Political Economy of Dynamic Elections: A Survey and Some New Results By John Duggan; Cesar Martinelli
  8. Institutional Convergence: Exit or Voice? By Joshua C. Hall
  9. The Perils of Peer Punishment: Evidence from a Common Pool Resource Experiment By de Melo Gioia; Piaggio Matías
  10. Equality Concerns and the Limits of Self-Governance in Heterogeneous Populations By Lata Gangadharan; Nikos Nikiforakis; Marie Claire Villeval

  1. By: van Herk, H.; Schoonees, P.C.; Groenen, P.J.F.; van Rosmalen, J.M.
    Abstract: Abstract Human values drive dierent kinds of abstract behaviour, while established value scales are pervasive in survey research. We focus on analyzing the relationship between human values and voting in elections, introducing a new methodology to analyze how value profiles relate to political support over time. To illustrate our procedure, we investigate the Dutch multi-party political system. Values measured using rating scales over five waves of the European Social Survey, spanning 2002 until 2010, are analysed. Whilst previous research have focused on values separately, we (1) relate all political parties participating in the election to human values using a segmentation approach in which value profiles are used instead of individual values; (2) compare voting over time; (3) include non-voters; and (4) adjust for individual dierences in response style. The adjustment for response styles allow us to uncover valid insights into the relationship between values and voting. We find evidence that specific value profiles are related to voting for certain political parties and that non-voters can also be distinguished by unique value profiles.
    Keywords: human values, response styles, politics, segmentation, biplots
    Date: 2015–09–16
  2. By: Conconi, Paola; Sahuguet, Nicolas; Zanardi, Maurizio
    Abstract: One of the few stylized facts in international relations is that democracies, unlike autocracies, almost never fight each other. We develop a theoretical model to examine the sustainability of international peace between democracies and autocracies, where the crucial difference between these two political regimes is whether or not policymakers are subject to periodic elections. We show that the fear of losing office can make it less tempting for democratic leaders to wage war against other countries. Crucially, this discipline effect can only be at work if incumbent leaders can be re-elected, suggesting that democracies with term limits should be more conflict prone, particularly when the executive is serving the last possible term. These results rationalize recent empirical findings on how term limits affect the propensity of democracies to engage in conflicts.
    Keywords: Democratic Peace; Elections; Interstate Conflicts; Term Limits.
    JEL: C72 D72 F00
    Date: 2015–10
  3. By: Tom Coupe (Kyiv School of Economics); Maksym Obrizan (Kyiv School of Economics and University of Duisburg-Essen and CINCH)
    Abstract: In this paper, we study the effects of violence on political outcomes using a survey of respondents in Sloviansk and Kramatorsk – two cities that were affected heavily by the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. We show that experiencing physical damage goes together with lower turnout, a higher probability of considering elections irrelevant and a lower probability of knowing one’s local representatives. We also find that property damage is associated with greater support for pro-Western parties, lower support for keeping Donbas in Ukraine and lower support for compromise as a way to stop the conflict. Our paper thus shows the importance of investigating the impact of different kinds of victimization, as different degrees of victimization can have different, sometimes even conflicting outcomes. Our paper also suggests that one of the more optimistic conclusions of previous studies, that victimization can increase political participation, does not necessarily carry over to Ukraine, which illustrates the importance of country and context-specific studies.
    Keywords: Ukraine, violence, turnout, war
    JEL: P26 D72
    Date: 2015–10
  4. By: Apolte, Thomas
    Abstract: Threats of mass revolts could effectively constrain a dictator's public policy if it were not for the collective-action problem. Mass revolts nevertheless happen, but they follow a stochastic pattern. We describe this pattern in a threshold model of collective action and integrate it into an agency model which demonstrates how mass revolts can impact on a winning coalition's incentives to keep backing an incumbent dictator. Having observed public policy and found a sufficiently high posterior probability of the dictator to be of a "bad" character, the winning coalition's members may exploit an incidentally happening mass revolt for escaping a loyalty trap that had otherwise prevented them from switching to disloyalty. While this explains why mass revolts sometimes happen to oust a dictator, the arising policy constraints in dictatorships may nevertheless be weak in practice.
    Keywords: Autocracy,Revolutions,Threshold Models,Selectorate Theory
    JEL: D02 H11 D74
    Date: 2015
  5. By: John Duggan (Department of Political Science, University of Rochester); Cesar Martinelli (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University)
    Abstract: We consider a canonical two-period model of elections with adverse selection (hidden preferences) and moral hazard (hidden actions), in which neither voters nor politicians can commit to future choices. We prove existence of electoral equilibria, and we show that office holders mix between “taking it easy†and “going for broke†in the first period. Even in the presence of a finite horizon, we establish that increasing office motivation leads to arbitrarily high expected policy outcomes. We conclude that the mechanism of electoral accountability has the potential to achieve responsiveness of democratic politics when electoral incentives are sufficiently large.
    Date: 2015–10
  6. By: Bratanova, Alexandra; Robinson, Jacqueline; Wagner, Liam; Kolegov, Vitaly; Nikitchenko, Aleksey; Nikitchenko, Anna
    Abstract: Russia set an ambitious energy efficiency goal requiring involvement of all sectors of the economy. It requires specific and efficient public policies at all levels of governance. However, decision making in the energy sector in Russia is complex and characterized by multiple policy objectives, conflicting interest groups and a lack of available quantitative data. This study investigates the decision problem of energy efficiency improvements in the industrial sector – a policy proposed by the Moscow City Government. Multiple criteria analysis (MCA) is tendered as an appropriate evaluation tool. As limited studies exist of the application of MCA in Russia, none – for regional energy systems development, this paper provides a novel solution for regional public management. We adapted the MCA PROMETHEE method and undertook an expert survey to evaluate the policy proposal and develop recommendations. This paper describes the adjustment of the evaluation tool to the existing institutional structure and decision making procedures in Russia. It provides a discussion about the participation of stakeholder groups and determination of policy objectives, options and criteria. The analysis leads to a ranking of preferred policy alternatives to assist policy selection and energy efficiency program development. From this, we recommend partial subsidization of the costs of industrial organisations to implement contracts with energy service companies as the best performing option. More importantly we demonstrate the applicability and usefulness of MCA as a decision support tool for Russian public decision-making. Its wide application is expected to improve public management at both regional and federal levels.
    Keywords: multiple criteria analysis; energy; industry; developing country; Russian regions;
    JEL: O21 Q40 Q48
    Date: 2015–10–10
  7. By: John Duggan (Department of Political Science, University of Rochester); Cesar Martinelli (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University)
    Abstract: We survey and synthesize the political economy literature on dynamic elections in the two traditional settings, spatial preferences and rent-seeking, under perfect and imperfect monitoring of politicians’ actions. We define the notion of stationary electoral equilibrium, which encompasses previous approaches to equilibrium in dynamic elections since the pioneering work of Barro (1973), Ferejohn (1986), and Banks and Sundaram (1998). We show that repeated elections mitigate the commitment problems of both politicians and voters, so that a responsive democracy result holds in a variety of circumstances; thus, elections can serve as mechanisms of accountability that successfully align the incentives of politicians with those of voters. In the presence of term limits, however, the possibilities for responsiveness are attenuated. We also touch on related applied work, and we point to areas for fruitful future research, including the connection between dynamic models of politics and dynamic models of the economy.
    Keywords: dynamic elections, electoral accountability, median voter, political agency, responsiveness
    Date: 2015–10
  8. By: Joshua C. Hall (West Virginia University, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: There is a small but growing literature on the determinants of economic freedom. In this paper I contribute to this literature in two ways. First, I empirically show that Beta-convergence in economic freedom occurred from 1980 to 2010. Countries with low levels of economic freedom in 1980 "catch up" at a rate of 0.7 percent a year on average, ceteris paribus. Second, I document the structural characteristics that contribute to this institutional convergence. My conditional convergence estimates suggest democratic institutions do not contribute to conditional convergence. Exitability, a variable that captures how easy it is for citizens to "vote with their feet" is related to the change in economic freedom from 1980 to 2010 in a statistically significant manner across all specifications. This provides some to the importance of "exit" versus "voice" with respect to the question of institutional change.
    Keywords: Convergence, Economic Freedom, Institutional Change, Democracy, Exit
    JEL: O1 O43 P1 P48
    Date: 2015–09
  9. By: de Melo Gioia; Piaggio Matías
    Abstract: We provide experimental evidence on the effects of social disapproval by peers among communities of Uruguayan small-scale fishers exploiting a common pool resource (CPR). We combined this treatment with an in-group (groups from a single community) / mixed group (groups composed of fishers from different communities) treatment. We find that mixed groups, unlike in-groups, reduce their exploitation of the resource in response to the threat of punishment. Both in in-groups and mixed groups there is substantial antisocial punishment, which leads to increased extraction of the CPR by those who are unfairly punished. These findings indicate that effective peer punishment requires coordination to prevent antisocial targeting and to clarify the social signal conveyed by punishment.
    Keywords: Social disapproval; Social preferences; Common pool resource.
    JEL: D03 O12 C93
    Date: 2015–06
  10. By: Lata Gangadharan (Monash University, Department of Economics - Monash University); Nikos Nikiforakis (New York University Abu Dhabi - Abu Dhabi); Marie Claire Villeval (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Etienne - PRES Université de Lyon - CNRS)
    Abstract: Mechanisms to overcome social dilemmas provide incentives to maximize efficiency. However, often – such as when agents are heterogeneous – there is a trade-off between efficiency and equality. Agents' concerns for equality in such instances can limit the ability of mechanisms to promote efficiency. We provide evidence for this from a public good experiment using a simple mechanism which allows individuals to communicate periodically with other group members and reward them for their actions. We show that, in homogeneous populations – where there is no tension between efficiency and equality – the mechanism permits group to obtain maximum efficiency. This is not the case in heterogeneous populations where individuals derive different benefits from cooperation. Although almost all heterogeneous groups agree to follow specific contribution rules with positive contributions, most of them either prioritize equality over efficiency or strike a compromise between the two. These findings suggest that equality concerns can impose limits on the ability of heterogeneous populations to reach efficient outcomes through self-governance.
    Keywords: Communication, rewards, cooperation, normative conflict, heterogeneity
    Date: 2015

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