nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2017‒09‒03
eight papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. The swing voter's curse in social networks By Buechel, Berno; Mechtenberg, Lydia
  2. A concept of sincerity for combinatorial voting By Francesco De Sinopoli; Claudia Meroni
  3. Social preferences and political attitudes: An online experiment on a large heterogeneous sample By Rudolf Kerschbamer; Daniel Muller
  4. Public Opinion on Education Policy in Germany By Lergetporer, Philipp; Werner, Katharina; Woessmann, Ludger
  5. The stability of group formation By Gabrielle Demange
  6. International Environmental Agreement and the Timing of Domestic Lobbying By Etienne Farvaque; Norimichi Matsueda
  7. Ordinary Democracy: Reading Resistances to Debt after the Global Financial Crisis with Stanley Cavell's Ordinary Language Philosophy By Lauren Tooker
  8. The Tragedy of Clientelism: Opting Children Out By Ronconi, Lucas; Zarazaga, Rodrigo

  1. By: Buechel, Berno; Mechtenberg, Lydia
    Abstract: We study private communication in social networks prior to a majority vote on two alternative policies. Some (or all) agents receive a private imperfect signal about which policy is correct. They can, but need not, recommend a policy to their neighbors in the social network prior to the vote. We show theoretically and empirically that communication can undermine efficiency of the vote and hence reduce welfare in a common interest setting. Both efficiency and existence of fully informative equilibria in which vote recommendations are always truthfully given and followed hinge on the structure of the communication network. If some voters have distinctly larger audiences than others, their neighbors should not follow their vote recommendation; however, they may do so in equilibrium. We test the model in a lab experiment and find strong support for the comparative-statics and, more generally, for the importance of the network structure for voting behavior.
    Keywords: Strategic Voting; Social Networks; Swing Voter’s Curse; Information Aggregation
    JEL: D72 D83 D85 C91
    Date: 2017–07–10
  2. By: Francesco De Sinopoli (Department of Economics (University of Verona)); Claudia Meroni (Department of Economics (University of Verona))
    Abstract: A basic problem in voting theory is that all the strategy profiles in which nobody is pivotal are Nash equilibria. We study elections where voters decide simultaneously on several binary issues. We extend the concept of conditional sincerity introduced by Alesina and Rosenthal (1996) and propose an intuitive and simple criterion to refine equilibria in which players are not pivotal. This is shown to have a foundation in a refinement of perfection that takes into account the material voting procedure. We prove that in large elections the proposed solution is characterized through a weaker definition of Condorcet winner and always survives sophisticated voting.
    Keywords: Voting theory, multi-issue elections, strategic voting, perfect equilibrium.
    JEL: C72 D72
    Date: 2017–01
  3. By: Rudolf Kerschbamer; Daniel Muller
    Abstract: This paper investigates - in a large heterogeneous sample - the relationship between social preferences on the one hand, and socioeconomic factors and political preferences on the other hand. Socioeconomic factors correlate with social preferences, and social preferences robustly shape political attitudes and voting behavior in a particular way: Selfish subjects are the extremists on one side of the political spectrum - they are more likely to vote for a right-wing party, they are less inclined to favor redistribution and they are more likely to self-assess themselves as right-wing than all the other types. Inequality-averse subjects, altruists and maxi-min sit at the opposite end of the political spectrum, while all the other types behave less systematically and in a less extreme fashion. Overall, our evidence indicates that elicited social preferences are externally valid as a predictor for political attitudes, and that social preferences are fairly stable across contexts and over longer periods of time.
    Keywords: Distributional Preferences, Social Preferences, Equality Equivalence Test, Political Attitudes, Voting Behavior, German Internet Panel
    JEL: C91 D30 D63 D64 D72 H50
    Date: 2017–08–23
  4. By: Lergetporer, Philipp (Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Werner, Katharina (Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Woessmann, Ludger (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
    Abstract: To better understand the political economy constraints of education policy, we have conducted the annual ifo Education Survey in Germany since 2014. This paper summarizes selected key findings on the German publics' preferences for education policies ranging from early childhood education and schools to the apprenticeship system, universities, and lifelong learning. While the emerging picture is complex and multifaceted, some general patterns emerge. The majority of Germans is surprisingly open to education reform and favors clear performance orientation. Survey experiments indicate that information can have substantial effects on public policy preferences. Overall, education policies seem important for respondents' voting behavior.
    Keywords: education policy, public opinion, political economy, survey experiments, Germany
    JEL: I28 D72 H52
    Date: 2017–08
  5. By: Gabrielle Demange (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris)
    Abstract: In a large range of political and economic situations, the formation of coordinated groups is driven by two opposite forces: increasing returns to size on the one hand, the heterogeneity of preferences, which hampers coordination , on the other. An important question is whether competitive pressures, such as described by free mobility and free entry, lead to an efficient and stable organization of the society into possibly several self-sufficient groups. This paper discusses theoretical approaches to this question as well as recent empirical studies.
    Keywords: free mobility, free entry, stability,coalition structures
    Date: 2017–06–01
  6. By: Etienne Farvaque (Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences, University of Lille 1); Norimichi Matsueda (School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University)
    Abstract: We incorporate domestic lobbying activities into a policymaker's decision mak-ing on whether or not to sign a cooperative bilateral environmental agreement and, if not, how much pollution a country emits. There are environmental and industrial lobbyists who attempt to sway the policymaker's decision toward their respectively favored policies. As is usually the case with a common agency model, they present contribution schedules that are tied to resulting policy choices. We focus on the impacts of the timing of lobbying activities. The first type of lobbying occurs on the signing of a cooperative agreement, and the second when each nation chooses its own emission level after the agreement is not signed or one of the signatories reneges on its promise. We compare the outcomes of the four different cases: (i) no lobbying activity; (ii) lobbying conducted at the agreement signing stage; (iii) lob-bying conducted when non-cooperative choice is made; and (iv) lobbying at every occasion. Our results suggest that the timing of lobbying has a critical impact on the signing of a cooperative agreement, and that the lobbying activities can pose a hindrance to the signing of an agreement even when environmental interests are represented by lobby groups in a similarly high proportion as industrial ones.
    Keywords: common agency, compensating equilibrium, environmental agreement, global pollution, lobbying.
    JEL: K23 Q58
    Date: 2017–08
  7. By: Lauren Tooker
    Abstract: This thesis examines resistances to debt in the afterlives of financial crisis in the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) in order to develop a novel account of democratic subjectivity for International Political Economy (IPE). The global financial crisis has transformed debt into a topic of heated public debate, giving rise to new social movements as well as individual political resistances. However, IPE scholars have yet to substantively conceptualise this new democratic politics of debt, despite considerable research on the problems of debt-based models of economic citizenship. I trace this blind spot to the pictures of agency animating the field, before developing a novel conceptual account of democratic subjectivity in finance based on an original application of Stanley Cavell’s ordinary language philosophy in IPE. I then use this account to show how ordinary democratic subjects of debt are opposing debt-based economic citizenship in the UK and the US. To this end, I offer a comparative examination of three prominent tactics of debt resistance: avoiding debt, auditing debt and refusing debt. My central argument is that although contemporary debt resistances are marked by conventional cultural-economic imaginaries of financial capability, transparency and liability, debt’s ‘ordinary democrats’ are reconstructing debt relations as a site of democratic selfhood, exchange and community in finance. In an era marked by an increasingly top-down, managerial politics of finance, I conclude, people’s resistances to debt represent important practices of civic freedom that improve the prospects for democratic financial governance.
    Keywords: economie politique
    Date: 2017–07–19
  8. By: Ronconi, Lucas (Centro de Investigación y Acción Social (CIAS)); Zarazaga, Rodrigo (Centro de Investigación y Acción Social (CIAS))
    Abstract: Governments in new democracies launch social policies with the purported goal of alleviating the effects of poverty among the most vulnerable households, usually low income families with children. However, this goal is can be thwarted by the clientelistic distribution of social policies' benefits because politicians seek to maximize political support and children do not vote. Based on the main Argentine household survey and on personal interviews with 120 brokers, this paper shows that brokers collect information on family size and age composition and allocate temporary public works programs that are in excess demand discriminating against families with children not old enough to vote.
    Keywords: clientelism, household, discrimination, social policy, Latin America, Argentina
    JEL: K40 H53 I38
    Date: 2017–08

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