nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2016‒05‒14
twelve papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber
McNeese State University

  1. Social Mobility and Stability of Democracy: Re-evaluating De Tocqueville By Daron Acemoglu; Georgy Egorov; Konstantin Sonin
  2. Public versus Secret Voting in Committees By Mattozzi, Andrea; Nakaguma, Marcos Y.
  3. Persuasion and Gender: Experimental Evidence from Two Political Campaigns By Galasso, Vincenzo; Nannicini, Tommaso
  4. The Media, Voter Fraud, and the 2012 Elections By Brian Fogarty; David Kimball; Lea Kosnik
  5. Communication and voting in heterogeneous committees: An experimental study By Mark T. Le Quement; Isabel Marcin
  6. Voters' Information, Corruption, and the Efficiency of Local Public Services By Graziano Abrate; Federico Boffa; Fabrizio Erbetta; Davide Vannoni
  7. Quadratic Voting By Steven Lalley; E. Glen Weyl
  8. Payoff Calculator Data: An Inexpensive Window into Decision Making By Jordi Brandts; David J. Cooper
  9. The Interplay of Cultural Aversion and Assortativity for the Emergence of Cooperation By Ennio Bilancini; Leonardo Boncinelli; Jiabin Wu
  10. Megatrends and the Future of African Economies By Traub, Lulama; Yeboah, Felix; Meyer, Ferdinand; Jayne, Thomas S.
  11. Emotion vs. cognition - Experimental evidence on cooperation from the 2014 Soccer World Cup By Graf Lambsdorff, Johann; Giamattei, Marcus; Werner, Katharina; Schubert, Manuel
  12. Strategic Voting with Almost Perfect Signals By Venturini, Andrea

  1. By: Daron Acemoglu; Georgy Egorov; Konstantin Sonin
    Abstract: An influential thesis often associated with De Tocqueville views social mobility as a bulwark of democracy: when members of a social group expect to join the ranks of other social groups in the near future, they should have less reason to exclude these other groups from the political process. In this paper, we investigate this hypothesis using a dynamic model of political economy. As well as formalizing this argument, our model demonstrates its limits, elucidating a robust theoretical force making democracy less stable in societies with high social mobility: when the median voter expects to move up (respectively down), she would prefer to give less voice to poorer (respectively richer) social groups. Our theoretical analysis shows that in the presence of social mobility, the political preferences of an individual depend on the potentially conflicting preferences of her “future selves,” and that the evolution of institutions is determined through the implicit interaction between occupants of the same social niche at different points in time. When social mobility is endogenized, our model identifies new political economic forces limiting the amount of mobility in society – because the middle class will lose out from mobility at the bottom and because a peripheral coalition between the rich and the poor may oppose mobility at the top.
    JEL: D71 D74
    Date: 2016–04
  2. By: Mattozzi, Andrea; Nakaguma, Marcos Y.
    Abstract: This paper studies a committee decision-making problem. Committee members are heterogeneous in their competence, they are biased towards one of the alternatives and career oriented, and they can choose whether to vote or abstain. The interaction between career concern and bias a¤ects the voting behavior of members depending on transparency of individual votes. We show that transparency attenuates the pre-existing biases of competent members and exacerbates the biases of incompetent members. Public voting leads to better decisions when the magnitude of the bias is large, while secret voting performs better otherwise. We provide experimental evidence supporting our theoretical conclusions.
    Keywords: Committees, Voting, Career Concern, Transparency
    JEL: D72 C92 D71
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Galasso, Vincenzo (Bocconi University); Nannicini, Tommaso (Bocconi University)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the differential response of male and female voters to competitive persuasion in political campaigns. We implemented a survey experiment during the (mixed gender) electoral race for mayor in Milan (2011), and a field experiment during the (same gender) electoral race for mayor in Cava de' Tirreni (2015). In both cases, a sample of eligible voters was randomly divided into three groups. Two were exposed to either a positive or a negative campaign by one of the opponents. The third (control) group received no electoral information. In Milan, the campaigns were administered online and consisted of a bundle of advertising tools (videos, texts, slogans). In Cava de' Tirreni, we implemented a large scale door-to-door campaign in collaboration with one of the candidates, randomizing positive vs. negative messages. In both experiments, stark gender differences emerge. Females vote more for the opponent and less for the incumbent when they are exposed to the opponent's positive campaign. Exactly the opposite occurs for males. These gender differences cannot be accounted for by gender identification with the candidate, ideology, or other observable attributes of the voters.
    Keywords: gender differences, political campaigns, randomized controlled trials, competitive persuasion
    JEL: D72 J16 M37
    Date: 2016–04
  4. By: Brian Fogarty (School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow); David Kimball (Department of Political Science, University of Missouri-St. Louis); Lea Kosnik (Department of Economics, University of Missouri-St. Louis)
    Abstract: Debate over the existence and impact of voter fraud continues unabated in American politics. Despite minimal evidence of fraud cases and non-existent effects on election outcomes, Americans continue to believe voter fraud is rampant. In this paper, we examine a potential source of this disconnect – the U.S. news media. How the media cover voter fraud likely affects citizens’ beliefs and opinions on the subject. However, little research exists exploring voter fraud coverage. In this paper, we examine the patterns and themes of voter fraud coverage in local newspapers for each of the 50 states during the 2012 elections. Amongst the results, we show that ‘voter photo identification’ was a dominate topic in coverage. Further, presidential campaign spending and states that recently passed restrictive voting laws affected the language and which topics related to voter fraud received the most attention. Finally, we find that the number of fraud cases was unrelated to voter fraud news coverage. From an agenda setting standpoint, our results suggest Republicans may have been successful in making voter identification a salient issue during the 2012 elections.
    Keywords: media, politics, voting, voter, election, text analysis, content analysis.
    JEL: H0
    Date: 2016–01
  5. By: Mark T. Le Quement (University of Bonn); Isabel Marcin (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)
    Abstract: We study experimentally the effectiveness of communication in common value committees exhibiting publicly known heterogeneous biases. We test models assuming respectively self-interested and strategic-, joint payoff-maximizing- and cognitively heterogeneous agents. These predict varying degrees of strategic communication. We use a 2 x 2 design varying the information protocol (communication vs exogenous public signals) and the group composition (heterogeneous vs homogeneous). Results are only consistent with the third model. Roughly 80% of (heuristic) subjects truth-tell and vote with the majority of announced signals. Remaining (sophisticated) agents lie strategically and approximately apply their optimal decision rule.
    Keywords: Committees, Voting, Information Aggregation, Cheap Talk, Experiment
    JEL: C92 D72 D82 D83
    Date: 2016–03
  6. By: Graziano Abrate; Federico Boffa; Fabrizio Erbetta; Davide Vannoni
    Abstract: This paper explores the link between voters information, corruption and efficiency in the context of a career concern model where politically connected local monopolies are in charge of the provision of a local public service. We find that both a corrupt environment and a low level of voters? information on managerial actions induce managers to reduce effort levels, thereby contributing to drive down efficiency. We test our predictions using data on solid waste management services provided by a large sample of Italian municipalities. We estimate a stochastic cost frontier model that provides robust evidence that services provided in more corrupt regions and in regions with low voters? information are substantially less cost efficient. We show that the negative impact of a corrupt environment is weaker for municipalities ruled by left-wing parties, while the positive impact of voters? information is larger if the waste collection service is managed by limited liability companies. We finally quantify potential cost savings associated to operating in a less corrupt environment and in one in which voters are more informed through a simulation on six major Italian cities. The magnitude of the figures suggests that effective anti-corruption measures, and/or carefully designed incentives for citizens to acquire information, can generate sig- nificant economic benefits.
    Keywords: corruption, voters' information, efficiency, solid waste
    JEL: D24 D72 D73 L25 Q53
    Date: 2016
  7. By: Steven Lalley (University of Chicago); E. Glen Weyl (Microsoft Research New England)
    Abstract: N individuals must choose between two collective alternatives. Under Quadratic Voting (QV), individuals buy vote in favor of their preferred alternative from a clearing house, paying the square of the number of votes purchased, and the sum of all votes purchased determines the outcome. Heuristic arguments and experimental results have suggested that this simple, detail-free mechanism is utilitarian efficient. In an independent private-values environment, we rigorously prove that for any value distribution all symmetric Bayes-Nash equilibria of QV converge toward efficiency in large populations, with waste decaying generically as 1=N.
    Keywords: social choice, collective decisions, large markets, costly voting, vote trading
    Date: 2015
  8. By: Jordi Brandts; David J. Cooper
    Abstract: Payoff calculators provide a source of information about subjects’ decision making process that is cheap, frequently available, and rarely used. We study data from an experiment designed to look at a difficult coordination problem. The experiments were *not* designed to study payoff calculator use; the payoff calculator was included as a tool for helping subjects to understand the payoffs. Our goal is to show that data about payoff calculator usage can yield useful insights about subjects’ decision making. The main issue in the game is whether players will successful coordinate, and, if so, whether they coordinate at an efficient equilibrium or a safe one. We find that initial searches using the calculator have predictive power for the total surplus and probability of coordinating for a pair in the long run. Specifically, searches consistent with the efficient equilibrium reduce total surplus and the probability of coordinating. These conclusions remain true after controlling for a pair’s initial outcomes, indicating that the data about calculator searches has predictive power beyond the pairs’ initial outcomes.
    Keywords: Coordination, experiments, Organizations, asymmetric Information
    JEL: C92 D23 J31 L23 M52
    Date: 2016–04
  9. By: Ennio Bilancini; Leonardo Boncinelli; Jiabin Wu
    Abstract: This paper investigates the emergence of cooperation in a heterogeneous population. The population is divided into two cultural groups. Agents in the population are randomly matched in pairs to engage in a prisoner dilemma. The matching process is assortative, that is, cooperators are more likely to be matched with cooperators, defectors are more likely to be matched with defectors. When two agents of different cultures are matched, they suffer a cost due to their cultural differences. We call such a cost cultural aversion. We find that when cultural aversion is sufficiently strong, perfect correlation between culture and behavior emerges: all agents from one cultural group cooperate, while all agents from the other cultural group defect.
    Keywords: prisoner dilemma, assortativity, cultural aversion, cooperation, type-monomorphic.
    JEL: C72 C73 Z10
    Date: 2016–04
  10. By: Traub, Lulama; Yeboah, Felix; Meyer, Ferdinand; Jayne, Thomas S.
    Abstract: Agri-food systems, including those in Africa, are complex and interdependent systems with the following features: (1) they develop endogenously with broader demographic and economic changes in the broader economy, hence it is difficult or impossible to predict their specific growth and income distributional trajectories; (2) their future trajectories are highly dependent on policy choices and public investment patterns and hence can be molded by public action; (3) they evolve through interdependent decisions of many actors such that few emerging patterns can be linked to a particular agent within the system; and (4) the variables influencing their development change over time with the underlying structure of local, regional and international economic systems, and with changes in technologies and institutions. In this dynamic environment, notions of equilibrium may be very short-lived. Nevertheless, we believe that there are identifiable “megatrends” with a high probability of affecting African food and broader economic systems in the coming decades. This paper investigates the evidence of ‘megatrends’ shaping African economic, political and social landscapes and asks which ones depend endogenously on processes that are within the realm of policy influence and which ones are indeed exogenous.
    Keywords: Financial Economics, International Development,
    Date: 2015
  11. By: Graf Lambsdorff, Johann; Giamattei, Marcus; Werner, Katharina; Schubert, Manuel
    Abstract: We investigate methods for stimulating cooperation by help of a controlled lab-inthefield experiment. This allows us to compare group-related emotional and cognitive stimuli. The experiment was carried out in a sober classroom and in an emotionally loaded environment, a Bavarian beer garden during a public viewing event with a large screen displaying the soccer game. Contrary to widespread belief, we do not find shared and contagious emotions at the public viewing event to advance cooperation. Variations of the game reveal that only cognitive factors, namely the joint attention to a common goal, substantially increase cooperation.
    Date: 2016
  12. By: Venturini, Andrea
    Abstract: A standard assumption in the literature of strategic voting is the independence of signals. Each juror observes a signal at the interim stage of the game. Then she votes according to her private information in order to maximize her expected utility. This work introduces a dependency between signals, reflecting a more realistic situation, in which evidences can be incontrovertible. We give a full characterization of the symmetric equilibria in non-weakly dominated strategies and we provide a benchmark between the classical approach and this new one.
    Keywords: Voting, Bayesian Nash Equilibrium, Condorcet Theorem
    JEL: C72 D72
    Date: 2015–11–19

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