nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2017‒07‒30
thirteen papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Two conditions for the application of Lorenz curve and Gini coefficient to voting and allocated seats By Colignatus, Thomas
  3. New media and politics: An assessment of 2016 South African local government elections By Joshua Ebere Chukwuere; Chijioke Francis Onyebukwa
  5. Who Are Nonvoters? By Lyn Ragsdale; Jerrold G. Rusk
  6. Does Gerrymandering Violate the Fourteenth Amendment? Insight from the Median Voter Theorem By Craig McLaren
  7. Between-Group Contests over Group-Specific Public Goods with Within-Group Fragmentation By Dasgupta, Indraneel; Neogi, Ranajoy Guha
  8. The Effects of Political Competition on the Funding of Public-Sector Pension Plans By Sutirtha Bagchi
  9. Attentuation of Free Riding in Environmental Valuation : Evidence from Field Experiment: Contingent Valuation Method By Kitessa, Rahel Jigi
  10. Reviving Multilateral Security Dialogue in the MENA: Finding the Hard, but Possible, Compromise By Emilliano Alessandri
  11. The Medieval Roots of Inclusive Institutions: From the Norman Conquest of England to the Great Reform Act By Charles Angelucci; Simone Meraglia; Nico Voigtländer
  12. The Wave of Jihadist Insurgency in West Africa: Global Ideology, Local Context, Individual Motivations By Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim
  13. Information Acquisition and Use by Networked Players By Myatt, David P; Wallace, Chris

  1. By: Colignatus, Thomas
    Abstract: The Lorenz curve and Gini coefficient are applied here to measure and graph disproportionality in outcomes for multiseat elections held in 2017. The discussion compares Proportional Representation (PR) in Holland (PR Gini 3.6%) with District Representation (DR) in France (41.6%), UK (15.6%) and Northern Ireland (NI) (36.7%). In France the first preferences of voters for political parties show from the first round in the two rounds run-off election. In UK and NI the first preferences of voters are masked because of strategic voting in the single round First Past the Post system. Thus the PR Gini values for UK and NI must be treated with caution. Some statements in the voting literature hold that the Lorenz and Gini statistics are complex to construct and calculate for voting. Instead, it appears that the application is actually straightforward. These statistics appear to enlighten the difference between PR and DR, and they highlight the disproportionality in the latter. Two conditions are advised to enhance the usefulness of the statistics and the comparability of results: (1) Order the political parties on the ratio (rather than the difference) of the share of seats to the share of votes, (2) Use turnout as the denominator for the shares, and thus include the invalid and wasted vote (no seats received) as a party of their own. The discussion also touches upon the consequences of disproportionality by DR. Quite likely Brexit derives from the UK system of DR and the discontent about (mis-) representation. Likely voting theorists from countries with DR have a bias towards DR and they are less familiar with the better democratic qualities of PR.
    Keywords: General Economics, Social Choice, Social Welfare, Election, Majority Rule, Parliament, Legislative, Party System, Representation, Proportion, District, Voting, Seat, Equity, Inequality, Lorenz, Gini coefficient, Voting Paradox, Arrow's Impossibility Theorem
    JEL: A10 D63 D71 D72
    Date: 2017–07–21
  2. By: Aleksandar Savanovi? (the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Banja Luka,)
    Abstract: In this paper we are trying to describe one of the classical problem of political theory: which decision can be created by majority rule. For our purpose we can define democracy as a method of creation of political decisions in a political society. Essence of this method is so called ?majority rule? which is applied on different levels of political process. The classical definition of democracy is ?rule of the people by the people?. Under the majority rule, we have not governance of all individuals, but, obviously, only one part of the people that is ?majority?. So, there is some kind of gap between the ideal type and essence of democracy as rule of the people, and de facto situation when the power is in the hands of majority. The standard solution for this problem we can find in the tradition of contractualism. In this model of creation of political community we have two levels of ?transferring? of power [rights]. First is so called the social contract: ?the constitutional phase? within which we create a basic rules, the fundamental tenets of our society [the constitution]. For this step we have the unanimity-request: the logical necessity for the social contract is the consent of all. Second is ?the post-constitutional phase? [J.Buchanan] where we create executive body to makes decision on the day-to-day level, and legislative body to provide a framework [the legal order] for that. If the legislative body makes the laws which are compatible by the constitution, these laws have ?implied? consent of all. Within this ?post-constitutive? or ?executive? phase, we cannot insist to unanimity because that will be inconsistent with our decision to leave the state of nature and go-in the political society: by the social contract we create the state as an agency for regulation of conflict, misunderstandings etc between members. From this theoretical concept it is obvious and clear for which kind of decision the majority rule can be used: only for decisions from the post-constitutional phase. If we try to solve some conflict which is in the sphere of constitution by using the majority rule, we have situation of tyranny of majority.
    Keywords: Democracy, tyranny of majority, The social contract
    JEL: K10
    Date: 2017–05
  3. By: Joshua Ebere Chukwuere (North West University); Chijioke Francis Onyebukwa (North West University)
    Abstract: In recent times, the role of media in politics has increased significantly. With the inception of the new form of media communication, the interaction between the importance of media and politicization remain complementary. During the 2016 South African Local Government Elections, the new media featured as one of the prominent medium of political interaction between various political stakeholders across the country. This paper argues that the role of new media facilitated political interaction across the political terrain of the country during the election. It also argues that political actors increased their use of new media not only to advance their political ideas but also to receive feedbacks from the electorates. Therefore, this paper identifies that the new media created an interactive forum linking the political parties, Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the electorates. In other words, this medium increased existing interaction within the South African political environment particularly during the just concluded 2016 Local Government Elections.
    Keywords: Local Government Elections, new media, politics, South Africa
    Date: 2017–07
  4. By: Mirza Ashfaq Ahmed (University of Gujrat)
    Abstract: In political realm, the political-specific brand equity is gaining growing attention. This effort is to develop a political-specific measurement model to get insight regarding the voter?s behavior, voter choices, voting intentions and to generate more valid and reliable results. The literature from the relevant domains including Marketing, Politics, and Behavioral sciences has been reviewed to develop a good understanding and insight into relevant published material and the trends that have emerged there from to review the types of measures. Based on the reviewed measures and their literally proven chronological cause-effect relationships, a conceptual model of voter based brand equity has been proposed. Following questions are hypothesized: (1) what is the contribution of political socialization process in the development of social identity and emotional response? (2) Do the social identity and emotional response positively influence the party trust and party commitment? (3) Do the party trust and party commitment positively influence the voting intentions of the voters? (4) Does the party loyalty have moderating role among the structural relationships of the model constructs? The results indicate that to improve the voting intentions political parties have to engage themselves in the political socialization process.
    Keywords: Political Marketing, Socialization Process, Voting Intentions, Party Politics
    JEL: M00 M00
    Date: 2017–07
  5. By: Lyn Ragsdale (Rice University); Jerrold G. Rusk (Rice University)
    Abstract: This paper examines the motivations of individuals who do not vote in American elections from 1968 through 2012. Existing research portrays American nonvoters as a large monolith of people who lack psychological involvement in politics, do not have adequate personal resources to participate, have insufficient social networks to be engaged, or are not sufficiently mobilized by candidates and campaigns. Instead, our paper maintains that uncertainty in the national campaign context ?the economic, mass communication, legal, and international environments--drives individual citizens? decisions about whether to vote. When there is high uncertainty in the national campaign context, people are more likely to vote. When there is low uncertainty in the national campaign context, citizens are less likely to vote. The paper further develops a theoretical distinction between the external uncertainty found in the national campaign context and the internal uncertainty citizens feel about which candidate will adequately address the external uncertainty. In considering this internal uncertainty, four types of nonvoters emerge as they respond differently to the lack of clarity. First, the politically ignorant non-voters do not follow the campaign or the candidates so avoid internal uncertainty about them. Second, the indifferent follow the campaign and the candidates, but see no differences between the candidates, leaving internal uncertainty about them. Third, the dissatisfied know a good deal about the campaign context and the candidates but see one or more candidates negatively. They too do not vote because internal uncertainty about the candidates remains unresolved. Finally, the personal hardship nonvoters pay attention to the campaign and the candidates but do not vote because of personal hardship associated with unemployment. The paper first considers broad differences between voters and nonvoters in their knowledge of politics and attitudes toward elections. It then estimates a model of nonvoting across the time period. Finally, it considers in greater detail the four different types of nonvoters, who they are, and what motivates them not to participate. The study finds that at the presidential level, there are considerable numbers of dissatisfied nonvoters who do not vote because they have negative views of one or both candidates. At the midterm level, nonvoters are more likely to be politically indifferent, not having clear-cut views of one or both candidates.
    Keywords: elections, participation, uncertainty
    Date: 2017–05
  6. By: Craig McLaren (Department of Economics, University of California Riverside)
    Abstract: This paper argues that “gerrymandering†understood here to mean the intentional redrawing of legislative district boundaries to benefit a given party, robs opposition voters of implicit bargaining power.. Using the Median Voter Theorem and statistical examples, this paper argues that the presence of minority voters in a legislative district influences the majority party’s choice of candidate, whenever minority voters are present in sufficient number to pose a credible challenge. When, through gerrymandering, lawmakers insure that minority voters cannot mount such a challenge, they deny such voters equal protection under the law.
    Keywords: Election, Election Law, Voter Protection, Voting, Voting Law, Gill vs. Whitford, gerrymandering, median voter theorem
    Date: 2017–07
  7. By: Dasgupta, Indraneel (Indian Statistical Institute); Neogi, Ranajoy Guha (Indian Statistical Institute)
    Abstract: We model a contest between two groups of equal population size over the division of a group-specific public good. Each group is fragmented into sub-groups. Each sub-group allocates effort between production and contestation. There is perfect coordination within sub-groups, but sub-groups cannot coordinate with one another. All sub-groups choose effort allocations simultaneously. We find that aggregate rent-seeking rises, social welfare falls, and both communities are worse off when the dominant sub-groups within both communities increase their population shares relative to the respective average sub-group population. Any unilateral increase in fragmentation within a group reduces conflict and makes its opponent better off. The fragmenting community itself may however be better off as well, even though its share of the public good falls. Thus, a reduced share of public good provisioning cannot be used to infer a negative welfare implication for the losing community.
    Keywords: contest, group-specific public good, local public good, ethnic conflict, within-group fragmentation
    JEL: D72 D74 O10 O20
    Date: 2017–07
  8. By: Sutirtha Bagchi (Department of Economics, Villanova School of Business, Villanova University)
    Abstract: In politically competitive jurisdictions, there can be strong electoral incentives to underfund public pensions in order to keep current taxes low. I examine this hypothesis using panel data for 2,000 municipal pension plans from Pennsylvania. The results suggest that as a municipality becomes more politically competitive, it tends to have pension plans that are less funded. The effects of political competition are driven by municipalities that have a higher proportion of less informed voters and are absent for pension plans offered by municipal authorities. The negative relationship between political competition and funding status is present for state pensions as well.
    Keywords: Public-sector pensions; political competition; unfunded liabilities; actuarial funded ratio
    JEL: H75 J45
    Date: 2017–07
  9. By: Kitessa, Rahel Jigi (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research)
    Abstract: Standard economic theory suggests that agents make decision based on the outcomes. Subsequently, environmental valuation using contingent valuation method (CVM) assumes the agent’s valuation of a given environmental good is based on the (expected) results. However, Bulte et al. (2005) found that causes in addition to outcomes matter in valuation. I extended this notion to contribute to design of CVM that attenuate free riding, thus remove the downward bias of method. I used field experiment and tested if designing a scenario that reinforce responsibility in decision making (valuation), attenuates free riding. I do so by eliciting contributions to a reforestation program among farmers in an environmentally valuable area, the Bale eco-Region in Ethiopia, by including or omitting explicit information that one of the main forest related activities the respondents engage in, logging, is among the most important causes of local forest degradation. I find that explicitly stating that logging is one of the main causes of deforestation increases our respondents’ willingness to pay. More interestingly, I find that this “responsibility effect” is sufficiently strong to eliminate free rider behavior. When the information about the cause of deforestation is in place, the respondents’ willingness to pay for the reforestation project is not significantly different if they are informed of other forest protection projects, or not.
    Keywords: valuation of environment; incentive compatible valuation techniques; conservation; field experiment; forestry; public goods
    JEL: C93 D04 H41 O13 Q51 Q23
    Date: 2017
  10. By: Emilliano Alessandri
    Abstract: While possible, prospects for repairing existing fractures through multilateral dialogue and compromise have become elusive as crises in the region persist. There are quite a few unfavorable conditions hindering the emergence of some form of multilateral security process: areas of hot conflict have widened in recent years making violence almost endemic in the region, in countries like Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya; the Middle East peace process is in a stalemate and already thin trust between the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships is all but gone as both have become more contested among respective constituencies and less respected abroad; in some countries, the social contract seems to be breaking after a failed Arab Spring, challenging government authority even in places like Tunisia where a fragile democratic transition audaciously continues despite growing socio-economic discontent and a deteriorating security situation; some other MENA states have become weaker as a result of chronic violence and dysfunctional governance; while non-Arab states, from Turkey to Iran, have seen an opportunity to expand their clout in a Middle East in flux, even if themselves under great pressure, extra-regional actors have never appeared more divided about the course to follow, or more distracted by other priorities.
    Date: 2017–04
  11. By: Charles Angelucci; Simone Meraglia; Nico Voigtländer
    Abstract: The representation of merchant interests in parliaments played a crucial role in constraining monarchs’ power and expanding the protection of property rights. We study the process that led to the inclusion of merchant representatives in the English Parliament, using a novel comprehensive dataset for 550 medieval English towns (boroughs). Our analysis begins with the Norman Conquest in 1066 – an event of enormous political change that resulted in largely homogeneous formal institutions across England. From this starting point, we document a two-step process: First, monitoring issues and asymmetric information led to inefficiencies in the king’s tax collection, especially with the onset of the Commercial Revolution in the 12th century. This gave rise to mutually beneficial agreements (Farm Grants), whereby medieval merchant towns obtained the right of self-administered tax collection and law enforcement. Second, we show that Farm Grants were stepping stones towards representation in the English Parliament after its creation in 1295: local autonomy meant that subsequently, extra-ordinary taxation (e.g., to finance wars) had to be negotiated with towns – and the efficient institution to do so was Parliament. We show that royal boroughs with trade-favoring geography were much more likely to be represented in Parliament, and that this relationship worked through Farm Grants. We also show that medieval self-governance had important long-term consequences and interacted with nationwide institutional changes. Boroughs with medieval Farm Grants had persistently more inclusive local elections of public officials and MPs, they raised troops to support the parliamentarians during the CivilWar in 1642, and they supported the Great Reform Act of 1832, which resulted in the extension of the franchise.
    JEL: D02 D73 N43 P14 P16
    Date: 2017–07
  12. By: Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim (Sahel Research Group, University of Florida)
    Abstract: The recent rise of jihadist movements in West Africa, including Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and its affiliates in the Sahel-Saharan region, has puzzled many observers. The easy spread of the jihadist ideology, the jihadist movements’ success in massively recruiting followers among local populations as well as their ability to conquer and administer territories, are unprecedented in the region’s contemporary history. This paper sheds light on the factors and processes that contribute to the emergence of these movements. It argues that the phenomenon of jihadist insurgencies in West Africa emerges as a result of a series of processes at the global, local, and individual level. At the global level, there is the formation and dissemination of the global ideology of jihadism, conceptualised by Muslim activists and scholars based on a particular understanding of Islam and the challenges that are facing contemporary Muslim societies. At the local level, the appropriation of jihadist ideologies by “Muslim activists” who then use it to formulate a discourse which taps into local social and political demands in order to mobilise followers, is key. For a wide range of reasons, certain regions of Africa have experienced weakened state capacity and increased local conflict, and it is in these areas that jihadist insurgencies have emerged. At the individual level, the process by which African individuals decide to enrol in jihadist groups include ideological, situational, and strategic motivations, and these have all been facilitated by deteriorating conditions of life in marginalised areas.
    Keywords: Islamism, jihadism, Sahara-Sahel, terrorism, West Africa
    JEL: D74 F5 H56 N47
    Date: 2017–07–28
  13. By: Myatt, David P (London Business School); Wallace, Chris (University of Leicester)
    Abstract: In an asymmetric coordination (or anti-coordination) game, players acquire and use signals about a payoff-relevant fundamental from multiple costly information sources. Some sources have greater clarity than others, and generate signals that are more correlated and so more public. Players wish to take actions close to the fundamental but also close to (or far away from) others’ actions. This paper studies how asymmetries in the game, represented as the weights that link players to neighbours on a network, affect how they use and acquire information. Relatively centrally located players (in the sense of Bonacich, when applied to the dependence of players’ payoffs upon the actions of others) acquire fewer signals from relatively clear information sources; they acquire less information in total; and they place more emphasis on relatively public signals
    Keywords: Networks ; Bonacich Centrality ; Information Acquisition and Use ; Public and Private Information JEL classification numbers: C72 ; D83 ; D85
    Date: 2017

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