nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2015‒10‒25
ten papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber
McNeese State University

  1. Meaningful Learning in Weighted Voting Games: An Experiment By Eric Guerci; Nobuyuki Hanaki; Naoki Watanabe
  2. Local Television, Citizen Knowledge and Political Accountability: Evidence from the U.S. Senate By Nordin, Mattias
  3. Incentive Contracts for Teams: Experimental Evidence By Claudia M. Landeo; Kathryn E. Spier
  4. Behavior in Group Contests: A Review of Experimental Research By Roman M. Sheremeta
  5. Uses and Benefits of Qualitative Approaches to Culture in Intercultural Collaboration Research By Sylvie Chevrier; Mary-Yoko Brannen; Carol Hansen
  6. A Comparative Analysis of Political Competition and Local Provision of Public Goods: Brazil, Colombia and Mexico(1991-2010) By Rojas Rivera, Angela Milena; Molina Guerra, Carlos A.
  7. Bureaucracy, Collegiality and Public Decision Making: the Case of Eighteenth Century France By Jean Beuve; Eric Brousseau; Jérôme Sgard
  8. Electoral Competition with Rationally Inattentive Voters By Matejka, Filip; Tabellini, Guido
  9. Going to Extremes: Politics after Financial Crises, 1870-2014 By Funke, Manuel; Schularick, Moritz; Trebesch, Christoph
  10. Should Different People Have Different Governments? By Giacomo Ponzetto; Amedeo Piolatto; Federico Boffa

  1. By: Eric Guerci (Université Nice Sophia Antipolis; GREDEG-CNRS); Nobuyuki Hanaki (Université Nice Sophia Antipolis; GREDEG-CNRS; IUF); Naoki Watanabe (University of Tsukuba, Japan)
    Abstract: By employing binary committee choice problems, this paper investigates how varying or eliminating feedback about payoffs affects: (1) subjects' learning about the underlying relationship between their nominal voting weights and their expected payoffs in weighted voting games; and (2) the transfer of acquired learning from one committee choice problem to a similar but different problem. In the experiment, subjects choose to join one of two committees (weighted voting games) and obtain a payoff stochastically determined by a voting theory. We found that: (i) subjects learned to choose the committee that generates a higher expected payoff even without feedback about the payoffs they received; and (ii) there was statistically significant evidence of ``meaningful learning'' (transfer of learning) only for the treatment with no payoff-related feedback. This finding calls for re-thinking existing models of learning to incorporate some type of introspection.
    Keywords: Learning, voting game, experiment, two-armed bandit problem
    JEL: C79 C92 D72 D83
    Date: 2015–10
  2. By: Nordin, Mattias (Department of Economics)
    Abstract: I investigate the causal eect of access to relevant local television on i) U.S. citizens' knowledge of their senators' actions in the Senate and ii) whether citizens hold their senators accountable for these actions. To do so, I utilize the mismatch between the local television markets and the states. This mismatch causes citizens living in counties where local television stations are based in their own state (in-state counties) to have greater access to relevant news about their senators, compared to citizens living in coun- ties served by local television based in a neighboring state (out-of-state counties). Using survey data from the 2006 Cooperative Congressional Election Study, I find that the biased coverage of local television news leads to citizens in in-state counties, compared to out-of-state counties, to be more informed about their senators' roll-call votes, as well as more likely to hold opinions about these senators. However, I do not find that the increased knowledge aects the likelihood that citizens evaluate their senators based on the roll-call votes. This result suggests that passively acquired information through local television is not sucient for individuals to hold their senators accountable for their actions in the Senate.
    Keywords: Local television; political information; natural experiment; roll-call votes
    JEL: D72 D80 H50
    Date: 2015–10–09
  3. By: Claudia M. Landeo (University of Alberta); Kathryn E. Spier (Harvard Law School and NBER)
    Abstract: This paper reports the results of an experiment on incentive contracts for teams. The agents, whose efforts are complementary, are rewarded according to a sharing rule chosen by the principal. Depending on the sharing rule, the agents confront endogenous prisoner's dilemma or stag-hunt environments. Our main findings are as follows. First, we demonstrate that ongoing interaction among team members positively affects the principal's payoff. Greater team cooperation is successfully induced with less generous sharing rules in infinitely-repeated environments. Second, we provide evidence of the positive effects of communication on team cooperation in the absence of ongoing team interaction. Fostering communication among team members does not significantly affect the principal's payoff, suggesting that agents' communication is an imperfect substitute for ongoing team interaction. Third, we show that offering low sharing rules can backfire. The agents are willing to engage in costly punishment (shirking) as retaliation for low offers from the principal. Our findings suggest that offering low sharing rules is perceived by the agents as unkind behavior and hence, triggers negative reciprocity.
    Keywords: Moral Hazard in Teams, Prisoner's Dilemma, Stag-Hunt Games, Infinitely-Repeated Games, Communication, Reciprocity, Laboratory Experiments
    JEL: C72 C90 D86 K10 L23
    Date: 2015–10
  4. By: Roman M. Sheremeta (Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University and Economic Science Institute, Chapman University)
    Abstract: Group contests are ubiquitous. Some examples include warfare between countries, competition between political parties, team-incentives within firms, group sports, and rent-seeking. In order to succeed, members of the same group have incentives to cooperate with each other by expending individual efforts. However, since effort is costly, each member also has an incentive to abstain from expending any effort and instead free-ride on the efforts of other members. Contest theory shows that the intensity of competition between groups and the amount of freeriding within groups depend on the group size, sharing rule, group impact function, contest success function, and heterogeneity of players. We review experimental studies testing these theoretical predictions. Almost all studies of behavior in group contests find significant overexpenditure of effort relative to the theory. We discuss potential explanations for such overexpenditure, including the utility of winning, bounded rationality, relative payoff maximization, parochial altruism, and social identity. Despite over-expenditure, most studies find support for the comparative statics predictions of the theory (with the exception of the “group size paradox”). Finally, studies show that there are effective mechanisms that can promote withingroup cooperation and conflict resolution mechanisms that can de-escalate and potentially eliminate between-group conflict.
    Keywords: groups, contests, experiments
    JEL: C7 C9 D7 H4 J4 K4 L2 M5
    Date: 2015
  5. By: Sylvie Chevrier (IRG - Institut de Recherche en Gestion - UPEC UP12 - Université Paris-Est Créteil Val-de-Marne - Paris 12 - UPEM - Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée); Mary-Yoko Brannen (Victoria University (CANADA) - Victoria University (CANADA)); Carol Hansen (Georgia State University - Georgia State University)
    Abstract: Interpretive content analysis can be used to unveil cultural frames of meaning of actors from different cultural backgrounds working in dispersed teams. When working at a distance, team members are often unaware that they do not give the same meaning to most basic management processes they are concerned with. This presentation will illustrate how qualitative research can provide insights about what decision-making or empowerment mean for employees from different countries. For instance measuring the power relationship index of a country induces managers to delegate more or less to employees. With qualitative understanding of what empowerment and decision-making mean, the question is no longer to know to what extent leaders should delegate but to find the specific conditions of delegation in various countries. This cultural understanding helps people to design management processes matching the requirements of partners from different cultures.
    Keywords: ethnography, interpretative,Qualitative
    Date: 2014–08–22
  6. By: Rojas Rivera, Angela Milena; Molina Guerra, Carlos A.
    Abstract: Abstract: We explore the effect of political competition on the local provision of public goods in three countries: Brazil, Colombia and Mexico from 1991 to 2010 using municipal data. These countries share characteristics that make a comparative analysis useful in understanding the role of governance structures, which include the degree of fiscal and political decentralization. Based on a multidimensional approach of political competition and bringing to the fore the role of congressional elections, we establish the effect of several measures of political competition based on lower chamber elections on indicators of primary education, sanitation and infant mortality. We find that Brazil displays the highest elasticity with expected signs in several public goods to most measures of political competition, while Mexico shows strong connection of political competition indicators to all public goods but negative effects of voter turnout and electoral volatility; Colombia is the least responsive except for infant mortality. These differences are attributed to influences stemming from local accountability and party discipline. Resumen: En esta investigación exploramos el efecto de la competencia política sobre la provisión local de bienes públicos en tres países: Brasil, Colombia y México para el período 1991-2010 usando datos municipales. Estos tres países comparten características que hacen el análisis comparativo especialmente útil en la comprensión del papel jugado por las estructuras de gobierno, las cuales incluyen el grado de descentralización económica y política. Basado en un enfoque multidimensional de la competencia política y destacando el papel de las elecciones de congreso, establecemos el efecto que ejercen diversas medidas de competencia política, basadas en las elecciones de cámara de representantes, sobre indicadores de educación primaria, sanidad y mortalidad infantil. Encontramos que Brasil exhibe la elasticidad más alta y con signos esperados en la provisión de los bienes públicos ante la mayoría de medidas de competencia política, mientras que Méjico muestra una fuerte conexión entre estas medidas y todos los bienes públicos aunque con efectos negativos de la tasa de participación y volatilidad electoral. Colombia es el país que más baja respuesta presenta, excepto por mortalidad infantil. Atribuimos estas diferencias a las influencias provenientes de la rendición de cuentas y la disciplina de los partidos.
    Keywords: Political Competition, Political Responsiveness, Government Effectiveness, Government quality, Democratic Governance, Local Governance, Local Public Goods, Comparative Analysis, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico
    JEL: D72 H41 H75
    Date: 2015–09–01
  7. By: Jean Beuve (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (UP1)); Eric Brousseau (EconomiX); Jérôme Sgard (Centre de recherches internationales)
    Abstract: One of the most debated questions in the literature on modern bureaucracies is whether their formal, impersonal rules of decision endow them (rightly or not) with a specific autonomy vis‐à‐vis special interests. We study the case of the Bureau de Commerce, a small, modernizing agency within the illiberal Ancien Régime French monarchy, in charge i.a. of supporting private entrepreneurs. Decision making was founded on the articulation between a vertical administrative organization aimed at collecting information and consulting stakeholders, and two colleges of experts, which discussed cases on a consensual, peers’ basis. We ask whether the relative openness of this procedure led to outright capture by outside rent‐seeking interests, or whether the Bureau could balance them and reach relatively autonomous and consistent decisions. We analyzed how it handled and decided 246 submissions for privileges, or rents, made between 1724 and 1740. We show that the decision to reject, accept entirely or curtail individual submissions was shaped within the administrative procedure – rather than by cliques and clienteles. Each main and competing voice had a significant though differentiated impact on outcomes; and substantive arguments, for or against each application, also had a specific impact.
    Keywords: Industrial policy; Bureaucracy; Mercantilism; Ancien regime France
    Date: 2014–04
  8. By: Matejka, Filip; Tabellini, Guido
    Abstract: This paper studies how voters optimally allocate costly attention in a model of probabilistic voting. The equilibrium solves a modified social planning problem that reflects voters’ choice of attention. Voters are more attentive when their stakes are higher, when their cost of information is lower and prior uncertainty is higher. We explore the implications of this in a variety of applications. In equilibrium, extremist voters are more influential and public goods are under-provided. The analysis also yields predictions about the equilibrium pattern of information, and about policy divergence by two opportunistic candidates. Endogenous attention can lead to multiple equilibria, explaining how poor voters in developing countries can be politically empowered by welfare programs.
    Keywords: behavioural political economy; electoral competition; rational inattention; salience
    JEL: H00 P16
    Date: 2015–10
  9. By: Funke, Manuel; Schularick, Moritz; Trebesch, Christoph
    Abstract: Partisan conflict and policy uncertainty are frequently invoked as factors contributing to slow post-crisis recoveries. Recent events in Europe provide ample evidence that the political aftershocks of financial crises can be severe. In this paper we study the political fall-out from systemic financial crises over the past 140 years. We construct a new long-run dataset covering 20 advanced economies and more than 800 general elections. Our key finding is that policy uncertainty rises strongly after financial crises as government majorities shrink and polarization rises. After a crisis, voters seem to be particularly attracted to the political rhetoric of the extreme right, which often attributes blame to minorities or foreigners. On average, far-right parties increase their vote share by 30% after a financial crisis. Importantly, we do not observe similar political dynamics in normal recessions or after severe macroeconomic shocks that are not financial in nature.
    Keywords: economic voting; financial crises; polarization; policy uncertainty
    JEL: D72 E44 G01
    Date: 2015–10
  10. By: Giacomo Ponzetto (CREI, U. Pompeu Fabra, & Barcelona GSE); Amedeo Piolatto (Barcelona Economics Institute (IEB)); Federico Boffa (Free University of Bolzano)
    Abstract: This paper studies fiscal federalism when regions differ in voters' ability to monitor public officials. We develop a model of political agency in which rent-seeking politicians provide public goods to win support from heterogeneously informed voters. In equilibrium, voter information increases government accountability but displays decreasing returns. Therefore, political centralization reduces aggregate rent extraction when voter information varies across regions. It increases welfare as long as the central government is required to provide public goods uniformly across regions. The need for uniformity implies an endogenous trade off between reducing rents through centralization and matching idiosyncratic preferences through decentralization. We find that a federal structure with overlapping levels of government can be optimal only if regional differences in accountability are sufficiently large. The model predicts that less informed regions should reap greater benefits when the central government sets a uniform policy. Consistent with our theory, we present empirical evidence that less informed states enjoyed faster declines in pollution after the 1970 Clean Air Act centralized environmental policy at the federal level.
    Date: 2015

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.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.