nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2017‒04‒30
eleven papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Electoral fraud and voter turnout: An experimental study By Vardan Baghdasaryan; Giovanna Iannantuoni; Valeria Maggian
  2. Voting and Contributing While the Group is Watching By Emeric Henry; Charles Louis-Sidois
  3. Is Western Democracy Backsliding? Diagnosing the Risks By Norris, Pippa
  4. Image Concerns and the Political Economy of Publicly Provided Private Goods By Wagener, Andreas; Lausen, Tobias
  5. A Dynamic Model of Electoral Competition with Costly Policy Changes By Hans Gersbach; Philippe Muller; Oriol Tejada
  6. Voter Turnout and Fiscal Policy By Raphael Godefroy; Emeric Henry
  7. Partners in advocacy for financial reforms: After the financial crisis, MEPs and civil society groups countered financial lobby efforts to stymie re-regulation By Lisa Kastner
  8. Public good provision and social loss under polarization By Ramón José Torregrosa Montaner
  9. Formation of coalition structures as a non-cooperative game By Dmitry Levando
  10. How firms (partially) organize their environment : Meta-organizations in the oil and gas industry By Héloïse Berkowitz; Hervé Dumez
  11. Social protection, electoral competition, and political branding in Malawi By Sam Hamer; Jeremy Seekings

  1. By: Vardan Baghdasaryan (American University of Armenia and Affiliate Fellow at CERGE-EI, Prague.); Giovanna Iannantuoni (University of Milano-Bicocca); Valeria Maggian (Univ Lyon, CNRS, GATE L-SE UMR 5824, F-69130 Ecully, France)
    Abstract: In this paper we experimentally investigate the consequences of electoral fraud on voter turnout. The experiment is based on a strategic binary voting model where voters decide whether to cast a costly vote in favour of their preferred candidate or to abstain. The minority candidate can illicitly influence the electoral process by applying ballot-box stuffing. In the experiment we implement two different framings: we compare voter turnout in a neutral environment and with framed instructions to explicitly replicate elections. This approach enables to both test the model's predictions and to estimate the framing effects of voting and fraud. Comparison of experimental results with theoretical predictions reveals over-voting, which is exacerbated when fraud occurs. Turnout increases as predicted with moderate level of fraud while, with higher electoral fraud, voters fail to recognize that the existence of a relatively larger number of "agents" voting with certainty considerably decreases the benefits of voting. Importantly, framing matters, as revealed by the higher turnout of those in the majority group, against which the fraud is applied.
    Keywords: Laboratory experiment, Framing, Voting, Electoral fraud, Ballot box stuffng and Voter turnout
    JEL: D72 C52 C91 C92
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Emeric Henry (Département d'économie); Charles Louis-Sidois (Département d'économie)
    Abstract: Members of groups and organizations often have to decide on rules that regulate their contributions to common tasks. They typically differ in their propensity to contribute and often care about the image they project, in particular want to be perceived by other group members as being high contributors. In such environments we study the interaction between the way members vote on rules and their subsequent contribution decisions. We show that multiple norms can emerge. We draw surprising policy implications, on the effect of group size, of supermajority rules and of the observability of actions.
    Date: 2015–10
  3. By: Norris, Pippa (Harvard University)
    Abstract: The predominantly sunny end-of-history optimism about democratic progress, evident in the late-1980s and early-1990s following the fall of the Berlin Wall, has turned rapidly into a more pessimistic zeitgeist. What helps us to understand whether we have reached an inflection point--and whether even long-established European and American democracies are in danger of backsliding? This essay draws on Juan Linz and Alfred Stepan's Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation which theorizes that consolidation occurs when three conditions are met: Culturally, the overwhelming majority of people believe that democracy is the best form of government, so that any further reforms reflect these values and principles. Constitutionally, all the major actors and organs of the state reflect democratic norms and practices. Behaviorally, no significant groups actively seek to overthrow the regime or secede from the state. Evidence throws new light on the contemporary state of each of Linz and Stepan's conditions in Western democracies. Culturally the data suggests that, when compared with their parents and grandparents, Millennials in Anglo-American democracies express weaker support for democratic values, but this is not a consistent pattern across Western democracies and post-industrial societies. It is also a life-cycle rather than a generational effect. Constitutionally, trends from estimates by Freedom House and related indicators provide no evidence that the quality of institutions protecting political rights and civil liberties deteriorated across Western democracies from 1972 to end-2016. Most losses occurred under hybrid regimes. Behaviorally, the most serious contemporary threats to Western liberal democracies arise from twin forces that each, in different ways, seek to undermine the regime: sporadic and random terrorist attacks on domestic soil, which damage feelings of security, and the rise of populist-authoritarian forces, which feed parasitically upon these fears.
    Date: 2017–03
  4. By: Wagener, Andreas (University of Hannover); Lausen, Tobias (University of Hannover)
    Abstract: Governments often provide their citizens with goods and services that are also supplied in markets: education, housing, nutritional assistance, etc. We analyze the political economy of the public provision of private goods when individuals care about their social image. We show that image concerns motivate richer individuals to vote for the public provision of goods they themselves buy in markets, the reason being that a higher provision level attracts more individuals to the public system, enhancing the social exclusivity of market purchases. In effect, majority voting may lead to a public provision that only a minority of citizens use. Users in the public system may enjoy better provision than users in the private system. We characterize the coalitions that can prevail in a political equilibrium.
    Keywords: In-kind provision; status preferences; majority voting;
    JEL: H42 D72
    Date: 2017–03–25
  5. By: Hans Gersbach (ETH Zurich, Switzerland); Philippe Muller (ETH Zurich, Switzerland); Oriol Tejada (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
    Abstract: We consider an infinite-horizon model of elections where policy changes are costly for citizens and parties. The so-called costs of change increase with the extent of the policy shift and make policy history-dependent. First, we provide a detailed description of the equilibrium dynamics and analyze how policies are influenced by history, costs of change, party polarization, and the incumbent's ability. We show that policies converge to a stochastic alternation between two states and that in the long run costs of change have a moderating effect on policies. Second, we analyze welfare as a function of the marginal cost of change. If the initial level of policy polarization is low, welfare is highest for intermediate marginal costs of change. Moreover, any positive level of costs of change will benefit society if the future is sufficiently valuable. If the initial level of policy polarization is high, however, welfare will be highest for low or zero costs of change.
    Keywords: democracy; dynamic elections; political polarization; costs of change; Markov perfect equilibrium
    JEL: C72 C73 D72 D78
    Date: 2017–04
  6. By: Raphael Godefroy (Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques); Emeric Henry (Département d'économie)
    Abstract: In this paper, we examine whether shocks in voting costs can impact elected representatives' quality, defined as the capacity to fund projects at the lowest cost. Using data on French municipalities and local variations in seasonal infections incidence as a shock on voting cost, we estimate that higher incidence lowers voter turnout, increases subsidies obtained by a municipality, decreases harmful financial decisions, and increases the municipality's investment in infrastructure. We present a model where these predictions would hold, in particular for municipalities with a high base level of turnout.
    Keywords: Turnout; Public finance
    Date: 2016–10
  7. By: Lisa Kastner (Centre d'études européennes de Sciences Po)
    Abstract: Financial reforms in response to the 2008 crisis were subject to intense lobbying. Many believe that financial industry groups entirely ‘captured’ this regulatory process and tilted legislation towards their preferences. Drawing on her winning thesis at the 2016 PADEMIA Research Awards, Lisa Kastner shows that in the aftermath of the crisis, when the public paid attention to the financial reforms, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) worked closely together with civil society groups to bring about reforms despite the opposition of the financial industry.
    Keywords: Financial reforms; Crisis; Lobbying; Financial industry groups
    Date: 2016
  8. By: Ramón José Torregrosa Montaner (Universidad de Salamanca)
    Abstract: This paper considers a population divided into two significantly-sized groups regarding the preferences its members have about a single public good. The public good equilibrium amount is that of the majority group in such a way that it is far from the Pareto-efficient one. This allows us to characterize a social loss function, which depends on the inter-group heterogeneity and the relative size of each group, parameters which also compound the degree of polarization. Our main conclusion is that, in general, higher levels of polarization do not imply higher social losses. This happens whenever the higher polarization is associated with higher inter-group heterogeneity, and the change in the amount of the public good in equilibrium implied is low enough.
    Keywords: Public good, majority voting equilibrium, polarization
    JEL: D79 H41
    Date: 2017–03
  9. By: Dmitry Levando (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: Traditionally social sciences are interested in structuring people in multiple groups based on their individual preferences. This paper suggests an approach to this problem in the framework of a non-cooperative game theory. Definition of a suggested game includes a family of nested simultaneous non-cooperative finite games with intra- and inter-coalition externalities. In this family, games differ by the size of maximum coalition, partitions and by coalition structure formation rules. A result of every game consists of partition of players into coalitions and a payoff profile for every player. Every game in the family has an equilibrium in mixed strategies with possibly more than one coalition. The results of the game differ from those conventionally discussed in cooperative game theory, e.g. the Shapley value, strong Nash, coalition-proof equilibrium, core, kernel, nucleolus. We discuss the following applications of the new game: cooperation as an allocation in one coalition, Bayesian game, stochastic games and construction of a non-cooperative criterion of coalition structure stability for studying focal points
    Keywords: Non-cooperative Games; Nash equilibrium; Shapley value; strong equilibrium; core
    JEL: C71 C72 C73
    Date: 2017–02
  10. By: Héloïse Berkowitz (i3-CRG - Centre de recherche en gestion i3 - Polytechnique - X - Université Paris-Saclay - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Hervé Dumez (i3-CRG - Centre de recherche en gestion i3 - Polytechnique - X - Université Paris-Saclay - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: In this paper, we investigate how firms collectively organize their environment. Past literature mostly focused on networks and institutions and has overlooked the role of meta-organizations in this process. Based on the case study of the oil and gas industry, we develop an abductive grounded theory model of meta-organizations as collective partial organizations. Our study shows that firms – complete organizations – organize their environment through the setting up of many meta-organizations – partial and thin organizations, which leads to a growing organizational complexity. This complexity results from the organizational creativity of firms when they are confronted to three decision situations. Finally, we highlight the importance of membership in MOs, analyze the various implications of its completeness or incompleteness for legitimacy, and discuss the emergent concept of outreach strategies which we argue to be central for thin organizations.
    Abstract: Cet article étudie la façon dont les firmes organisent collectivement leur environnement. La littérature a tendance à étudier cette question sous l’angle des réseaux et des institutions et s’est relativement peu intéressée au rôle des méta-organisations dans ce processus. A partir d’une étude de cas du secteur pétrolier et gazier, nous développement un modèle de méta-organisations comme organisations partielles support de l’action collective entre organisations. Notre article montre que les firmes—des organisations complètes—organisent collectivement leur environnement en mettant en place de nombreuses méta-organisations—des organisations partielles et légères—ce qui produit de la complexité organisationnelle. Cette complexité résulte de la créativité organisationnelle dont les firmes font preuve en étant confrontées à trois situations de décision. Enfin, nous éclairons l’importance des stratégies d’appartenance dans les méta-organisations, leurs implications en terme de légitimité, et l’émergence du concept de stratégie de sensibilisation.
    Keywords: Partial organization,meta-organization,collective strategy,oil and gas,abductive,outreach,Organisation partielle, méta-organisation, stratégie collective, industrie pétrolière
    Date: 2015–10
  11. By: Sam Hamer; Jeremy Seekings
    Abstract: Competitive elections in many parts of Africa generate powerful incentives to presidential candidates (and to a lesser extent political parties) to brand themselves in ways that transcend regional or ethnic loyalties. In Malawi, Joyce Banda—President from 2012 to 2014—sought to distinguish herself from her competitors by branding herself and her new People’s Party as the champions of social protection for women, children, and the poor. Some of the conditions that favoured Banda’s adoption of a social protection brand were specific to the political context in Malawi. Elsewhere in East and Southern Africa, presidential candidates and parties have generally denounced ‘handouts’ and avoided the social protection brand. In practice, her rhetorical embrace of social protection and ‘handouts’ was not matched by delivery during her two years in office. Banda’s defeat in the 2014 Malawi election, although caused partly by other factors, suggests that there are limits to the efficacy of social protection branding. Nonetheless, the fact that she has used this brand at all suggests that social protection has grown in political significance, as an expression of pro-poor priorities.
    Date: 2017

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