nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2016‒05‒21
seventeen papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Compulsory Voting, Turnout, and Government Spending: Evidence from Austria By Mitchell Hoffman; Gianmarco León; María Lombardi
  2. National or European Politicians? Gauging MEPs Polarity When Russia is Concerned By Anna A. Dekalchuk; Aleksandra Khokhlova; Dmitriy Skougarevskiy
  3. Liberation Technology: Mobile Phones and Political Mobilization in Africa By Manacorda, Marco; Tesei, Andrea
  4. Family Networks and Distributive Politics By Fafchamps, Marcel
  5. Happiness and Preferences in a Legality Social Dilemma By Becchetti, Leonardo; Corrado, Germana; Pelligra, Vittorio; Rossetti, Fiammetta
  6. A public choice framework for climate adaptation: Barriers to efficient adaptation and lessons learned from German flood disasters By Gawel, Erik; Lehmann, Paul; Strunz, Sebastian; Heuson, Clemens
  7. Extreme Idealism and Equilibrium in the Hotelling-Downs Model of Political Competition By Ronayne, David
  8. The Ballot Order Effect is Huge: Evidence from Texas By Darren Grant
  9. Elections in Russia, 1991-2008 By Daniel Treisman
  10. Boosting cooperation between agents in diverse groups: a dynamical model of prosocial behavior, free-riding and coercive solutions. By Solferino, Nazaria; Taurino, SerenaFiona; Tessitore, M.Elisabetta
  11. Mind what your voters read: Media exposure and international economic policy making By Facchini, Giovanni; Frattini, Tommaso; Signorotto, Cora
  12. Empowerment and/or disempowerment: the politics of digital media By Robin Mansell
  13. Collective Action in an Asymmetric World By Cuicui Chen; Richard J. Zeckhauser
  14. Affirmative action or just discrimination? A study on the endogenous emergence of quotas By Loukas Balafoutas; Brent J. Davis; Matthias Sutter
  15. Does Trade Liberalization with China Influence U.S. Elections? By Yi Che; Yi Lu; Justin R. Pierce; Peter K. Schott; Zhigang Tao
  16. Cooperating, fast and slow: Testing the social heuristic hypothesis By Strømland, Eirik; Tjøtta, Sigve; Torsvik, Gaute
  17. Reputational Concerns in Repeated Rent-Seeking Contests By Francesco Fallucchi; Elke Renner

  1. By: Mitchell Hoffman; Gianmarco León; María Lombardi
    Abstract: We study a unique quasi-experiment in Austria, where compulsory voting laws are changed across Austria's nine states at different times. Analyzing state and national elections from 1949-2010, we show that compulsory voting laws with weakly enforced fines increase turnout by roughly 10 percentage points. However, we find no evidence that this change in turnout affected government spending patterns (in levels or composition) or electoral outcomes. Individual-level data on turnout and political preferences suggest these results occur because individuals swayed to vote due to compulsory voting are more likely to be non-partisan, have low interest in politics, and be uninformed.
    JEL: D72 H10 P16
    Date: 2016–05
  2. By: Anna A. Dekalchuk (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Aleksandra Khokhlova (University of Tartu); Dmitriy Skougarevskiy (European University at St. Petersburg)
    Abstract: The European Parliament (EP) is viewed as a normal parliament. Voting patterns of its members (MEPs) are mainly aligned with transnational political groups, not national cleavages. Yet, it has been proven by many that MEP voting patterns are an outcome of conflicting pressures and a distorted indicator of their individual political orientations. In this study we rely on MEP written questions to the European Commission to measure the policy positions and their determinants. Using the universe of 100,000 such questions in 2002–2015 linked with MEP country and European Political Group affiliation data, we test whether one issue of high sensitivity to their domestic audiences — Russia — makes the MEPs take their nationality seriously and pay more attention to it regardless of their transnational partisan affiliations. We rely on supervised machine learning to uncover sentiment of every question asked on a negative-positive scale. Then we contrast the sentiment of questions related to Russia with the rest of questions conditional on party and national affiliation of the MEP asking the question. We find that (i) MEP question involving Russia is twice as negative in tonality as an average question, (ii) more variation in modality of Russia-related questions is explained by MEP national affiliation than her EPG. Our findings are robust to alternative methods of sentiment extraction and to controlling for time-invariant unobserved heterogeneity of MEPs.
    Keywords: European politics, EU–Russia relations, European Parliament, written questions, text-as-data, sentiment mining.
    JEL: F55
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Manacorda, Marco; Tesei, Andrea
    Abstract: Can digital information and communication technology (ICT) foster mass political mobilization? We use a novel geo-referenced dataset for the entire African continent between 1998 and 2012 on the coverage of mobile phone signal together with geo-referenced data from multiple sources on the occurrence of protests and on individual participation in protests to bring this argument to empirical scrutiny. We find that mobile phones are instrumental to mass mobilization during economic downturns, when reasons for grievance emerge and the cost of participation falls. Estimated effects are if anything larger once we use an instrumental variable approach that relies on differential trends in coverage across areas with different incidence of lightning strikes. The results are in line with insights from a network model with imperfect information and strategic complementarities in protest provision. Mobile phones make individuals more responsive to both changes in economic conditions - a mechanism that we ascribe to enhanced information - and to their neighbors' participation - a mechanism that we ascribe to enhanced coordination. Empirically both effects are at play, highlighting the channels through which digital ICT can alleviate the collective action problem.
    Keywords: Africa; collective action; geo-referenced data; mobile phones
    JEL: D70 L96 O55
    Date: 2016–05
  4. By: Fafchamps, Marcel
    Abstract: We argue that incumbents share rents with central players to build and sustain coalitions. Using an unusually rich dataset, we show that households with high betweenness centrality - a measure of brokerage potential - receive more public services from their local government. This result is robust to the inclusion of controls for program eligibility, family ties with politicians, and other measures of centrality - which are not significant once betweenness is included. We provide further corroboration from indirect evidence from variation in size and electoral competition across municipalities. Finally, we show that in municipalities where politicians provide more goods and services to their relatives they target fewer goods to households with high betweenness centrality. The evidence supports the hypothesis that incumbent municipal politicians offer favorable access to public services to households most able to play a brokerage role in the formation of coalitions of families for electoral support.
    Date: 2016–04
  5. By: Becchetti, Leonardo (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit); Corrado, Germana (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit); Pelligra, Vittorio (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit); Rossetti, Fiammetta (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit)
    Abstract: We investigate players’ preferences in a multiplayer prisoner’s dilemma by comparing results from a direct (satisfaction based) and an indirect (choice based) approach. Both approaches provide strong evidence of preference heterogeneity, with players who cooperate above median being less affected in their choice by monetary payoffs vis-à-vis the public good component. The combination of a legality frame plus a conformity information design reduces further the relative preference (satisfaction) for the non-cooperative choice for such players. Our findings support the hypothesis that (part of the) players have, in addition to the standard self-interest component, an other-regarding preference argument that is further satisfied in the legality frame plus conformity design.
    Keywords: Analysis of Collective Decision-Making; Corruption; Laboratoty Experiment; Legality Game; Redistribution; Conformity
    JEL: C92 D70 D73 H20
    Date: 2016–02–11
  6. By: Gawel, Erik; Lehmann, Paul; Strunz, Sebastian; Heuson, Clemens
    Abstract: In this paper, we propose a comprehensive Public Choice framework to identify and categorize barriers to efficient public climate adaptation. Specifically, we distinguish three dimensions of public adaptation: extent, structure (form and timing) and organisation (vertical and horizontal). Within each of these dimensions, we investigate how the self-interest of voters, pressure groups, bureaucrats and politicians may bias adaptation decisions. Thus, we indicate specific barriers to efficient public adaptation. Based on this framework, we illustrate how Germany's response to major flood disasters reflects the incentive structure of concerned stakeholders and their political interaction. The ad-hoc character of some public adaptation measures implies a clear bias from the efficient benchmark. In conclusion, we argue that the propositions of Public Choice theory shed some light on how empirical public adaptation processes unfold.
    Keywords: adaptation,barriers,climate change,climate policy,efficiency,public choice
    JEL: D78 Q54 Q58
    Date: 2016
  7. By: Ronayne, David (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: In the classic Hotelling-Downs model of political competition there is (almost always) no pure strategy equilibrium with three or more strategic candidates where the distribution of voters’ preferred policies are single-peaked. I study the effect of introducing two idealist candidates who are non-strategic (i.e., fixed to their policy platform), to an unlimited number of potential strategic entrants. I present three results that hold for a non-degenerate class of cases: (i) In any equilibrium the idealists are the left-most and right-most candidates i.e., extremists; (ii) Hotelling’s Law fails: in any equilibrium, candidates do not share their policy platforms, which instead are spread across the policy space; (iii) A characterization for symmetric and asymmetric single-peaked distributions of voters’ ideal policy preferences. Equilibria where many strategic candidates enter exist only if the distribution of voter preferences is asymmetric.
    Keywords: Hotelling ; political competition ; equilibrium existence ; idealism JEL classification numbers: C72; D72
    Date: 2016
  8. By: Darren Grant (Department of Economics and International Business, Sam Houston State University)
    Abstract: Texas primary and runoff elections provide an ideal test of the ballot order hypothesis, because ballot order is randomized within each county and there are many counties and contests to analyze. Doing so for all statewide offices contested in the 2014 Democratic and Republican primaries and runoffs yields precise estimates of the ballot order effect across twenty-four different contests. Except for a few high-profile, high-information races, the ballot order effect is large, especially in down-ballot races and judicial positions. In these, going from last to first on the ballot raises a candidate’s vote share by nearly ten percentage points.
    Keywords: Voting; Ballot order; Behavioral economics
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2016–05
  9. By: Daniel Treisman
    Abstract: In this paper, I review the main trends in voting in national elections in Russia since 1991, discuss the evidence of manipulation or falsification by the authorities, and use statistical techniques to examine the determinants of voting trends.
    Date: 2016–05
  10. By: Solferino, Nazaria; Taurino, SerenaFiona; Tessitore, M.Elisabetta
    Abstract: Cooperation is usually stronger towards in-group members, because giving an upright signal about themselves implies higher possibilities of reciprocity among members with the same social identity. We examine the case where collaboration between two groups is a mandatory condition to achieve success in a particular project, but in the first one, the social identity is quite strong. We show that the existence of a small share of prosocial players in the first group can create a sort of "imitation effect" so that each new member puts more effort in cooperating with the outsiders. On the other side, to avoid free-riding effort should be conditional to the other's commitment. This way to boost cooperation is usually more efficient than a coercive strategy in the presence of significant sized majorities or feelings of resentments. Our analysis suggests that it is appropriate, under some circumstances, to stimulate a multicultural paradigm devoted to value and manage diversity through an acculturation process emphasizing adaptation, interdependence, and mutual appreciation of different cultures.
    Keywords: Cooperation, Dynamical Analysis, Groups, Identity.
    JEL: C61 C71 D71
    Date: 2016–05–13
  11. By: Facchini, Giovanni; Frattini, Tommaso; Signorotto, Cora
    Abstract: We investigate how media exposure affects elected representatives' response to preferences on immigration and trade policy. Using a novel dataset spanning the period 1986-2004, in which we match individual opinion surveys with congressmen roll call votes, we find that greater exposure to media coverage tends to increase a politician's accountability when it comes to migration policy making, while we find no effect for trade policy. Our results thus suggest that more information on the behavior of elected officials affects decisions only when the policy issue is perceived to be salient by the electorate.
    Keywords: Media exposure; political economy; Public Opinion; Roll Call Votes
    JEL: F22 H89
    Date: 2016–05
  12. By: Robin Mansell
    Abstract: This article examines prevailing institutional norms that are visible in international policy discourse concerning the goals of investing in digital technologies. An analysis of policy discourse associated with the World Summit on the Information Society shows how, despite the use of terms such as “open” and “participatory,” the practice of information and communication technology project implementation displays evidence of failures to empower local people. The discussion is framed by the lessons about asymmetrical institutionalized power from theories concerned with the dynamics of techno-economic change contrasted with the prevailing market-led technology diffusion perspective. The context for the article is the experience of contributing to a high-level policy report for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s 2013 review of progress toward knowledge societies. Examples drawn from digital technology applications are used to illustrate the asymmetrical power relations embedded in these developments.
    JEL: L91 L96
    Date: 2014–11
  13. By: Cuicui Chen; Richard J. Zeckhauser
    Abstract: A central authority, possessing tax and expenditure responsibilities, can readily provide an efficient level of a public good. Climate change mitigation lacks a central authority. Thus, voluntary arrangements must replace coercive arrangements; significant under-provision must be expected. Potential contributors have strong incentives to free ride or ride cheaply. The players – the many nations of the world – are quite disparate. They thus frame negotiations from their own standpoints, making stalemate likely. Moreover, the focal-point solution where contributions are proportional to benefits clashes with the disproportionate cheap-riding incentives of little players. Our proposed solution, the Cheap-Riding Efficient Equilibrium (CREE), defines the relative contributions of players of differing size (or preference intensity) to reflect cheap riding incentives, yet still achieves Pareto optimality. CREE establishes the Alliance/Nash Equilibrium as a base point. From that point it proceeds to the Pareto frontier by applying the principles of the Lindahl Equilibrium (a focal point) or the Nash Bargaining Solution (a standard approach). We test the Alliance Equilibrium model using nations' Intended Nationally Determined Contributions at the Paris Climate Change Conference. As hypothesized, larger nations made much larger pledges in proportion to their Gross National Incomes. We apply our theory to examine the Nordhaus Climate Club proposal.
    JEL: C72 F53 H87
    Date: 2016–05
  14. By: Loukas Balafoutas; Brent J. Davis; Matthias Sutter
    Abstract: Affirmative action rules are often implemented to promote women on labor markets. Little is known, however, about how and whether such rules emerge endogenously in groups of potentially affected subjects. We experimentally investigate whether subjects vote for affirmative action rules, against, or abstain. If approved by the vote, a quota rule is implemented that favors women in one treatment, but members of an artificially created group based on random color assignment in another treatment. We find that quota rules based on gender are implemented frequently and do not affect the performance of men and women in a contest. Quota rules based on an arbitrary criterion, however, are less often approved and lead to strong individual reactions of advantaged and disadvantaged group members and to efficiency losses. These results show that the effects of affirmative action policies largely depend on whether these policies are viewed favorably within the affected groups.
    Keywords: Affirmative action, competition, discrimination, experiment, voting
    JEL: C91 C92 D03
    Date: 2016–04
  15. By: Yi Che; Yi Lu; Justin R. Pierce; Peter K. Schott; Zhigang Tao
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of trade liberalization on U.S. Congressional elections. We find that U.S. counties subject to greater competition from China via a change in U.S. trade policy exhibit relative increases in turnout, the share of votes cast for Democrats and the probability that the county is represented by a Democrat. We find that these changes are consistent with Democrats in office during the period examined being more likely than Republicans to support legislation limiting import competition or favoring economic assistance.
    JEL: D72 F13 F16
    Date: 2016–04
  16. By: Strømland, Eirik (Department of Economics, University of Bergen); Tjøtta, Sigve (Department of Economics, University of Bergen); Torsvik, Gaute (Department of Economics, University of Oslo)
    Abstract: Are humans intuitively cooperative, or do we need to deliberate in order to be generous to others? The Social Heuristics Hypothesis (SHH) proposes that fast instinctive decision making promotes cooperation in social dilemmas. In this paper, we conduct a novel time-pressure experiment to shed light on the cognitive underpinnings of cooperation. Although we find no evidence for a time-pressure effect when considering all subjects, our results, together with a re-analysis of independent data, indicate that a single factor – payoff comprehension – accounts for some studies failure to replicate the finding that fast and intuitive decision making promotes cooperation. Given payoff comprehension, the SHH predicts behavior well. We believe this finding provides a unifying interpretation of the conflicting results in the literature.
    Keywords: Cooperation; Intuition; Dual-Process; Public Goods Game
    JEL: C72 C91 C92 D03
    Date: 2016–04–25
  17. By: Francesco Fallucchi (School of Economics, University of East Anglia); Elke Renner (School of Economics, University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: We experimentally investigate how reputational concerns affect behavior in repeated Tullock contests by comparing expenditures of participants interacting in fixed groups with the expenditures of participants interacting with randomly changing opponents. When participants receive full information about the choices and earnings of all contestants at the end of each contest we find no difference between contest expenditures in fixed and randomly changing groups. However, when participants only observe their own earnings at the end of each contest they are significantly more aggressive when they interact in fixed groups. This result can be explained by a dominance or status seeking motive.
    Keywords: Contests, experiments, matching protocol, information feedback
    Date: 2016–05

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