nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2017‒12‒18
twenty papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Confirmation bias and signaling in Downsian elections By Antony Millner; Hélène Ollivier; Leo Simon
  2. Supra National, National and Regional Dimensions of Voter Turnout in European Parliament Elections By Nadia Fiorino; Nicola Pontarollo; Roberto Ricciuti
  3. Consensus in the 2015 Provincial Parliament Election in Styria, Austria: Voting Rules,Outcomes, and the Condorcet Paradox By Andreas Darmann; Julia Grundner; Christian Klamler
  4. How do voters respond to information on self-serving elite behaviour? Evidence from a randomized survey experiment in Tanzania By Ivar Kolstad; Arne Wiig
  5. Echo Chambers: Voter-to-Voter Communication and Political Competition By Monica Anna Giovanniello
  6. On the Optimal Majority Rule By Compte, Olivier; Jehiel, Philippe
  7. Collective Action in Games as in Life: Experimental Evidence from Canal Cleaning in Haiti By Abbie Turiansky
  8. Prize allocation and incentives in team contests By Crutzen, Benoît SY; Flamand, Sabine; Sahuguet, Nicolas
  9. A Note on the Possible Advantage of Size Flexibility in Committees By BEN-YASHAR, Ruth; NITZAN, Shmuel
  10. Turning against the union? The impact of the crisis on the Eurosceptic vote in the 2014 European Parliament elections By Hobolt, Sara B.; de Vries, Catherine E.
  11. Do Individual Heterogeneity and Spatial Correlation Matter? An Innovative Approach to the Characterisation of the European Political Space By Giovanna, Iannantuoni; Elena, Manzoni; Francesca, Rossi;
  12. Decentralization and Accountability in Authoritarian Regimes: Evidence from Rural China By Pesqué-Cela, Vanesa
  13. Escalation in Dynamic Conflict: On Beliefs and Selection By Kai A. Konrad; Florian Morath
  14. Did the Egyptian protests lead to change? Evidence from Egypt's first free Presidential elections By Nelly El-Mallakh
  15. Aggregation in Networks By Nizar Allouch
  16. Still Europeanised? Greek Foreign Policy During the Eurozone Crisis By Chryssogelos, Angelos
  17. Eternal Peace in the Tug-of-War? By Samuel Häfner; Kai A. Konrad
  18. Robust Voting under Uncertainty By NAKADA, Satoshi; NITZAN, Shmuel; UI, Takashi
  19. Implications of multilateral tariff bindings on the formation of preferential trade agreements and quest for global free trade By Nken, Moïse; Yildiz, Halis Murat
  20. Nudging with heterogeneity in terms of environmental sensitivity : a public goods experiment in networks. By Benjamin Ouvrard; Anne Stenger

  1. By: Antony Millner (LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science); Hélène Ollivier (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Leo Simon (University of California [Berkeley])
    Abstract: How do voters' behavioural biases affect political outcomes? We study this question in a model of Downsian electoral competition in which office-motivated candidates have private information about the benefits of policies, and voters may infer candidates' information from their electoral platforms. If voters are Bayesian, candidates have strategic incentives to `anti-pander' { they choose platforms that are more extreme than is justified by their private beliefs. However, anti-pandering incentives are ameliorated if voters'inferences are subject to confirmation bias. Voter confirmation bias can thus counteract distortions due to the strategic interaction between candidates, potentially leading to welfare improvements. Indeed, we show that all observers, whether biased or Bayesian, would like the representative voter in our model to exhibit more confirmation bias than they do themselves.
    Keywords: JEL Codes: D72,signaling,electoral competition,pandering,D91 Keywords: Confirmation bias
    Date: 2017–11–09
  2. By: Nadia Fiorino (University of L'Aquila); Nicola Pontarollo (European Commission – JRC); Roberto Ricciuti (University of Verona and CESifo)
    Abstract: We argue that the decision to vote in European Parliamentary (EP) elections lies at the intersection of three political dimensions: one related to the attitude of citizens towards the European Union, one to the characteristics of the national political system, and the third associated with socio-economic variables observed by voters at the local level. This paper investigates this intersection by analyzing the last four EP elections in the EU-14, for 164 regions. We test a multilevel model. The results indicate a significant role of compulsory voting, domestic political cleavages, labor market conditions and trust in the EU. No evidence is found that GDP per capita affects turnout. Finally, the oldest segment of population seems more prone to vote than the youngest.
    Keywords: European Parliamentary elections, voter turnout, subnational variation, multilevel model
    JEL: O4 O53 C21 C23
    Date: 2017–11
  3. By: Andreas Darmann (University of Graz, Austria); Julia Grundner (University of Graz, Austria); Christian Klamler (University of Graz, Austria)
    Abstract: Theoretical differences between different voting rules have been well-studied, and several paradoxical situations are known. For instance, the use of different voting rules not only can lead to different winners for the same preference profile, but also might the winner under one voting rule be the loser under another voting rule. Also, cyclic collective preferences – as in Condorcet cycles – can make it impossible to determine the winner of an election under a specific voting rule in use. Based on data collected in an online-survey in connection with the 2015 parliament election in the Austrian federal state of Styria, we provide an empirical analysis of whether different voting rules yield different outcomes in real-world elections, and whether paradoxical situations show up in real-world data. For our findings, we generate statistical confidence levels by the use of a nonparametric bootstrap.
    Keywords: Election; Voting rules; Empirical study; Condorcet
    JEL: D71 D72
    Date: 2017–12
  4. By: Ivar Kolstad; Arne Wiig
    Abstract: Does self-serving elite behaviour make citizens more politically active? This paper presents the results of a randomized field experiment where voters in Tanzania were given information about elite use of tax havens. Information provided in a neutral form had no effect on voting intentions. Information phrased in more morally charged terms led to a reduction in voting intentions. Additional evidence suggests that rather than increase the perceived importance of voting, charged information tends to undermine confidence in political institutions and the social contract. The effects are particularly pronounced among the less well off, indicating that increased transparency in the absence of perceived agency may not improve democratic accountability.
    Date: 2016
  5. By: Monica Anna Giovanniello
    Abstract: I investigate, in a model of informative campaign advertising, how the ability of voters to strategically communicate with each other shapes the advertising strategies of two competing parties. Two main results are put forward. First, information does not travel among voters biased toward different parties even if they are ideologically close â âecho chambersâ arise endogenously. Second, whenever the probability of interaction among like-minded voters is low (low homophily), parties tailor their advertising on their opponentâs supporters rather than on swing or core states voters.
    JEL: D72 D83 M37 P16
    Date: 2017–11–21
  6. By: Compte, Olivier; Jehiel, Philippe
    Abstract: We develop a simple model that rationalizes why less stringent majority rules are preferable to unanimity in large committees. Proposals are randomly generated and the running proposal is adopted whenever it is approved by a sufficiently large share of voters. Unanimity induces excessive delays while too weak majority requirements induce the adoption of suboptimal proposals. The optimal majority rule balances these two inefficiencies: it requires the approval by a share equal to the probability (assumed to be constant across proposals) that a given member gets more than the average welfare associated with the running proposal. Various extensions are considered.
    Date: 2017–12
  7. By: Abbie Turiansky
    Abstract: This paper explores the impact of farmers’ exposure to a collective action dilemma in a framed public goods game on their real-world contributions to a public good. Farmers who were randomly selected to play the public goods games were 47% more likely than the control group to volunteer to clean shared irrigation canals.
    Keywords: Haiti, public goods, framed field experiments, behavioral economic nudges
    JEL: F Z
  8. By: Crutzen, Benoît SY; Flamand, Sabine; Sahuguet, Nicolas
    Abstract: We study a contest between teams that compete for multiple indivisible prizes. Team output is a CES function of all the team members' efforts. We use a generalized Tullock contest success function to allocate prizes between teams. We study how different intra-team prize allocation rules impact team output. We consider an egalitarian rule that gives all members the same chance of receiving a prize, and a list rule that sets ex-ante the order in which members receive a prize. The convexity of the cost of effort function and the complementarity of individual efforts determine which rule maximizes team output and success. Our results speak to many real world situations, such as elections, contests for the allocation of local public goods and the internal organization of firms.
    Date: 2017–12
  9. By: BEN-YASHAR, Ruth; NITZAN, Shmuel
    Abstract: This note analyzes the possible advantage of size flexibility in decision-making bodies facing an uncertain dichotomous choice. We find that under constant size variability, application of the unanimity rule might be more desirable than the simple majority rule, yielding higher average performance. In contrast, and as is well known, the latter rule is always the superior one, given a fixed number of decision makers with identical decisional competence.
    Keywords: obligatory or flexible committee size, unanimity rule, simple majority rule
    JEL: D7
    Date: 2017–12
  10. By: Hobolt, Sara B.; de Vries, Catherine E.
    Abstract: The 2014 European Parliament elections were held against the backdrop of the worst economic crisis in post-war Europe. The elections saw an unprecedented surge in support for Eurosceptic parties. This raises the question of whether the crisis, and the EU's response to it, can explain the rise of Eurosceptic parties. Our analysis of the 2014 European Election Study demonstrates that the degree to which individuals were adversely affected by the crisis and their discontent with the EU's handling of the crisis are major factors in explaining defection from mainstream pro-European to Eurosceptic parties in these elections. This suggests that far from being second-order national elections concerned only with domestic politics, European issues had a significant impact on vote choices.
    Keywords: Elections; European Parliament; Crisis; Economic voting; Euroscepticism
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2016–12–01
  11. By: Giovanna, Iannantuoni; Elena, Manzoni; Francesca, Rossi;
    Abstract: In this paper we refine the interpretation of the European two-dimensional political space and the investigation of its determinants compared to the approach commonly adopted in the spatial voting literature. Specifically, we take into account heterogeneity and cross-correlation among legislators by explicitly including into the model a spatial effect which, in turn, relies on new sets of linguistic, geographical, institutional and cultural metrics. We confirm that the first dimension of the European political space is mainly explained by the Members of European Parliament's ideological position on a left-right scale. We also find that correlation across legislators plays a significant role in explaining the first dimension when their pairwise distance is defined according to an individualism index, which turns out to be closely related to left-right ideology positioning. Even more interestingly, we show that "space" intended in a broad economic sense plays an important role in interpreting the second dimension of the political spectrum. The most relevant metric that induces spatial effects along the second dimension is based on an institutional index. Moreover, we also find that the second dimension is influenced by the gender composition of the political parties.
    Keywords: European political space, spatial autoregressions, NOMINATE, proximity matrices, economic distances
    JEL: D72 C21
    Date: 2017–12–06
  12. By: Pesqué-Cela, Vanesa (School of Finance and Management, SOAS University of London & Stockholm China Economic Research Institute)
    Abstract: Can political decentralization and the introduction of local elections improve government accountability and public goods provision in a non-democratic regime like China? Political decentralization reforms in China have only been implemented at the village level, and have been implemented unevenly across villages. Villages differ substantially in terms of the quality of their elections and the amount of power given to (or taken away from) their popularly elected village committees. In light of these differences, this paper investigates the relationship between political decentralization processes and government performance in the rural Chinese context, by addressing the question of whether democratically elected village committees are more responsive to villagers’ demands for better infrastructure in their communities, when given the power to govern. To explain differences among villages in terms of whether and how much they invest in new infrastructure, a tobit model of village-financed investment is estimated using cross-sectional survey data collected from over 100 villages. Results from the regression analysis indicate that variation in the degree of political decentralization is positively associated with variation in the level of public goods investment across villages: villages governed by democratically elected village committees tend to invest more in new infrastructures. These results are robust to the endogeneity between governance and public goods provision. Our findings from rural China illustrate the potential and limitations of political decentralization reforms to enhance government accountability in non-democratic regimes. In some communities, they have improved government performance, but in many others they have failed to make elected local governments accountable to citizens because they have failed to devolve authority and resources to them in the first place. The challenge thus is not only to make decentralization work but, more fundamentally, to make decentralization happen.
    Keywords: Decentralization; accountability; public goods provision; China
    JEL: H41 H70
    Date: 2017–12–01
  13. By: Kai A. Konrad; Florian Morath
    Abstract: We study a dynamic multi-stage contest that resolves in each stage only with a given probability. Assuming that there is unobservable heterogeneity in intrinsic motivations we derive properties of the equilibrium efforts across the different stages. Whereas in the corresponding complete information benchmark equilibrium efforts are stable across the stages, uncertainty about the type distribution of possible opponents generates learning. We identify reasons for dynamic adjustments of efforts caused by belief formation and updating and by selection of certain types into continuing conflict. A corresponding experimental setup provides evidence for escalation of efforts in later stages, for type heterogeneity, for belief formation and belief updating, and for selfselection. Overall, our results suggest the importance of an appropriate benchmark model when testing predictions on behavior in conflict or related strategic interactions.
    Keywords: Dynamic conflict, lottery contest, heterogeneity, incomplete information, uncertainty, escalation, beliefs, selection, learning, experiment
    JEL: C90 D72 D74 D83
    Date: 2017–08
  14. By: Nelly El-Mallakh (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: Did the Egyptian protests lead to political change? I examine the effects of the first and second waves of Egyptian protests that started in 2011, on voting outcomes during Egypt's first free Presidential elections that took place between May and June 2012. I geocoded the “martyrs” - demonstrators who died during the protests - using unique information from the Statistical Database of the Egyptian Revolution and exploited the variation in districts' exposure to the Egyptian protests. Using official elections' results collected from the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) and controlling for districts' characteristics using Census data, I find suggestive evidence that higher exposure to protests' intensity leads to a higher share of votes for former regime candidates, both during the first and second rounds of Egypt's first presidential elections after the uprisings. From the period of euphoria following the toppling of Mubarak to the sobering realities of the political transition process, I find that protests led to a conservative backlash, alongside negative economic expectations, general dissatisfaction with government performance, decreasing levels of trust towards public institutions, and increasing recognition of limitations on civil and political liberties.
    Keywords: Egyptian protests,Presidential elections,voting outcomes,martyrs
    Date: 2017–10
  15. By: Nizar Allouch
    Abstract: In this paper, we show that a concept of aggregation can hold in network games. Breaking up large networks into smaller pieces, which can be replaced by representative players, leads to a coarse-grained description of strategic interactions. This method of summarizing complex strategic interactions by simple ones can be applied to compute Nash equilibria. We also provide an application to public goods in networks to show the usefulness of our results. In particular, we highlight network architectures that cannot prevent free-riding in public good network games. Finally, we show that aggregation enhances the stability of a Nash equilibrium.
    Keywords: aggregation; modular decomposition; network games; public goods; stability
    JEL: C72 D31 D85 H41
    Date: 2017–12
  16. By: Chryssogelos, Angelos
    Abstract: This working paper examines tendencies in Greek foreign policy during the Eurozone crisis. Existing analyses of the impact of the crisis on Greek foreign policy have focused primarily on its fiscal/economic effects. Here I shift the focus to the question whether the Europeanisation of Greek foreign policy has been affected by the crisis. Given that the EU has been the main strategic anchor of Greek foreign policy since the late-1990s, and that the Eurozone crisis put into question the overall alignment of Greece with Europe, the question of foreign policy Europeanization under conditions of a major crisis of EU governance remains surprisingly understudied. Apart from the mainstream foreign policy Europeanization literature, I also draw on critical works that view Europeanization as a process that de-politicizes state-society relations in Europe and insulates policymakers from public scrutiny. In this framework, I conceptualize the Eurozone crisis as a factor of re-politicization, opening policymaking (incl. in foreign policy) to contestation by mobilized political communities. I apply this conceptualization to the study of Greece’s Balkan and energy security policy between 2010 and 2015. The findings point to contradictory effects of the crisis on Greek foreign policy. Pro-EU governments in this period largely maintained the EU framework as their reference, but sought to project more forcefully national interests within it to demonstrate the usefulness of the EU for Greek goals and deflect public pressure. An anti-austerity coalition that came to power in early 2015 sought more forcefully to re-politicize some aspects of Greek foreign policy as part of its efforts to ‘renegotiate’ Greece’s relationship with the Eurozone. At the same time however, the overall image of Europeanized Greek foreign policy remained largely unaltered under the Syriza-ANEL coalition, and continuity was even more emphatic after it signed a new bailout agreement with the EU in the summer of 2015. The overall image then is one of continuity that however emerged out of a period of contestation that revealed deep tensions in what had always been an imperfect and instrumental embedding of Greek foreign policy in the EU framework. A de-Europeanization and re-politicization effect in 2010-15 crisis gave place to a renewed foreign policy practice within the EU framework, one however that is even more transparently than during the pre-crisis era the outcome of instrumental and national interest calculations. Europe remains the most effective and most readily available tool of Greek foreign policy, albeit one burdened with even more contradictions than in the past.
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2017–11
  17. By: Samuel Häfner; Kai A. Konrad
    Abstract: The tug-of-war between single players is known to have a non-cooperative Markov-perfect equilibrium in which both players expend zero efforts and neither player drives the Markov process to one of the terminal states. We show that these peaceful outcomes vanish if the single players are replaced by teams with team members permanently assigned to the different Markov states and interacting pairwise in an all-pay auction. The reason for this phenomenon is that the members of the teams can externalize future effort costs while the single players cannot. Our analysis also highlights the impact of the discount factor on the expected trajectory of the tug-of-war, the dynamics of the expected efforts, and the degree of rent dissipation.
    Keywords: Contests, Teams, Tug-of-War
    JEL: D74 D72
    Date: 2016–10–18
  18. By: NAKADA, Satoshi; NITZAN, Shmuel; UI, Takashi
    Abstract: This paper proposes normative consequentialist criteria for voting rules under Knightian uncertainty about individual preferences to characterize a weighted majority rule (WMR). The criteria stress the significance of responsiveness, i.e., the probability that the social outcome coincides with the realized individual preferences. A voting rule is said to be robust if, for any probability distribution of preferences, responsiveness of at least one individual is greater than one-half. Our main result establishes that a voting rule is robust if and only if it is a WMR without ties. This characterization of a WMR avoiding the worst possible outcomes complements the well-known characterization of a WMR achieving the optimal outcomes, i.e., efficiency regarding responsiveness.
    Keywords: majority rule, weighted majority rule, responsiveness, Knightian uncertainty
    JEL: D71 D81
    Date: 2017–12
  19. By: Nken, Moïse; Yildiz, Halis Murat
    Abstract: Using an endogenous preferential trade agreement (PTA) formation model under all possible multilaterally negotiated bound tariff rates, we examine the effects of multilateral trade liberalization on the role of PTAs in achieving global free trade. We first show that, when countries are completely symmetric, no country has an incentive to unilaterally deviate (free ride) from free trade network while exclusion incentives arise when bound tariffs are sufficiently low. Due to the relatively flexible nature of the FTA formation, such exclusion incentives go unexercised and free trade always obtains as the coalition-proof Nash equilibrium (CPNE) of the FTA game. However, such flexibility does not exist under the CU game and thus countries are able to exercise the exclusion incentive and free trade fails to be CPNE when the bound tariff rates are sufficiently low. We then consider a scenario where countries are asymmetric with respect to their comparative advantage. The country with a weaker comparative advantage has an incentive to free ride on trade liberalization of the other two countries and lower bound tariff rates disciplines this incentive via limiting the ability to set optimal tariffs. As a result, multilateral free trade is more likely to be a CPNE as the multilateral negotiated bound tariff rates decline. This result provides support for the idea that multilateral trade liberalization acts as a complement to the FTA formation in achieving global free trade.
    Keywords: Bound Tariff Rates, Coalition proof Nash equilibrium, Free Trade Agreement, Customs Union, Exclusion Incentive, Free Riding Incentive.
    JEL: F1 F11 F13 F15
    Date: 2017–12–07
  20. By: Benjamin Ouvrard; Anne Stenger
    Abstract: We propose an experiment to test whether the reaction to a nudge implemented in a network depends on the network structure and on the sensitivity of individuals to the environment. After having elicited the sensitivity of subjects to environmental matters, the subjects played a public goods game in a network. The first ten periods served as a baseline. A nudge (announcement of the socially optimal level of investment) was then implemented both under complete information (the content of the nudge takes individuals’ position into account) and under incomplete information (the nudge cannot rely on individuals’ positions). Nudge implementation induces a higher coordination on the social optimum in the circle network for the most sensitive subjects. In the star network, the targeted nudge induces a decrease in the level of investments for the least sensitive subjects. Thus, nudge implementation should target specific individuals in specific network structures.
    Keywords: environmental sensitivity; inequity aversion; networks; nudge; public goods experiment.
    JEL: C72 C91 H41 Q50
    Date: 2017

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