nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2018‒02‒12
nine papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Analysis of Present Day Election Processes vis-à-vis Elections Through Blockchain Technology By Hegadekatti, Kartik
  2. How do voters respond to information on self-serving elite behaviour? Evidence from a randomized survey experiment in Tanzania By Ivar Kolstad; Arne Wiig
  3. From economic gains to social losses: How stories shape expectations in the case of German municipal finance By Fastenrath, Florian; Orban, Agnes; Trampusch, Christine
  4. Preferences for redistribution in the US, Italy, Norway: An experiment study By Grimalda, Gianluca; Farina, Francesco; Schmidt, Ulrich
  5. The Myopic Stable Set for Social Environments (RM/17/002-revised) By Demuynck, Thomas; Herings, P. Jean-Jacques; Saulle, Riccardo; Seel, Christian
  6. The unstable foundations of political stability in Chad By Daniel Eizenga
  7. Ratchet up or down? An experimental investigation of global public good provision in the United Nations Youth Associations Network By Gallier, Carlo; Kesternich, Martin; Löschel, Andreas; Waichman, Israel
  8. Stealing Shahbag: A Re-legitimization of Islamism in the Aftermath of a Secularist Social Movement By Anupam D. Roy
  9. The closer the better? Institutional distance and information blurring in a political agency model By David Bartolini; Agnese Sacchi; Domenico Scalera; Alberto Zazzaro

  1. By: Hegadekatti, Kartik
    Abstract: Currently, Democracy is realised through representatives elected by the people. These elections are periodic activities. They involve expenditure of big amounts of manpower, money, time and other resources. It is important to note that during an election, the administration and day-to-day lives of people are affected as election activities take centre stage. Present day elections are amenable to influence where Voters can possibly be intimidated to vote against their will. In many instances, the trustworthiness of the election process is itself uncertain. In such a situation, we need an election process that is fair, convenient transparent, and inexpensive. Blockchain technology provides a possibility to attain a highly dependable and certifiable election process. This process is also inexpensive at the same time. This paper deals with examining possibilities of conducting elections through the Blockchain. Blockchain technology is briefly introduced. The procedure that underlies voting through Blockchain is defined. The advantages of such a system are then deliberated. The various points vis-a-vis present day election processes are analysed. The paper concludes by analysing the possible impacts of voting through the Blockchain.
    Keywords: elections, blockchain, voting, democracy, blockchain use cases, republic, bitcoin
    JEL: D72 D74 D81 J18 O33
    Date: 2017–01–24
  2. 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: 2018
  3. By: Fastenrath, Florian; Orban, Agnes; Trampusch, Christine
    Abstract: This paper analyzes how stories shaped treasurers' expectations in municipal swap activities and contributes to the sociological debate on the mechanisms of expectation formation. Employing a deductive variant of process tracing, it synthesizes the literature on expectations in economic decision making with the literature on the diffusion of "ideas", "myths", and "fashions" in organization theory and management studies. The swap story has spread since the mid-1990s among German municipalities. At the heart of this story is the replacement of traditional borrowing with active portfolio optimization; financial instruments known as swaps play a leading role. This paper examines how stories shape expectations. Specifically, it delves into how the swap story, as a solution to the financial woes of local governments, shaped these governments' expectations despite the uncertainty resulting from the instruments' complexity. We argue that the effect of stories on expectations depends on timing. Expectations at an early stage are shaped by economic analyses to reduce uncertainty, while expectations at a later stage are primarily shaped by societal pressures and an established trend. These two distinct mechanisms produce expectations related to economic and social consequences, respectively. Selecting four typical cases, our analysis confirms that stories affected the formation of treasurers' expectations regarding the use of swaps through these different mechanisms.
    Keywords: stories,expectations,financial innovations,economic sociology,financialization,causal mechanisms,Erwartungen,Finanzinnovationen,Wirtschaftssoziologie,Finanzialisierung,kausale Mechanismen
    Date: 2017
  4. By: Grimalda, Gianluca; Farina, Francesco; Schmidt, Ulrich
    Abstract: We examine experimentally individual preferences for redistributions in the US, Italy, and Norway. Twenty-one subjects were assigned initial earnings from a discrete uniform distribution. The source of earnings was manipulated and depended either on luck or on individual relative performance in some tasks. All subjects chose a redistribution rate to be applied to group members' earnings. One choice was then randomly selected to determine final earnings. Four different experimental decisions altered whether subjects' choice applied only to others, thus making self-interest irrelevant (impartial decision), and the degree of information over one's earnings. Norwegian subjects demanded significantly higher levels of redistribution both in the impartial decision and when self-interest offered the most clear-cut prescription, as uncertainty over one's earnings was removed. The demands for redistributions by US and Italian participants were instead similar. Conversely, country differences disappeared in decisions where earnings were uncertain. Contrary to widely held views, no evidence was found that US subjects were more "meritocratic" than others. Italian subjects reacted the most to the source of inequality, decreasing demand for redistribution in Performance treatments compared to Luck treatments. While behaviour of subjects whose earnings were above the median level (the "rich") did not differ significantly across countries, large differences emerged for people below the median level (the "poor") in the fourth decision. Italian "poor" were agreeable to let the "rich" receive a large share of their earnings, particularly so in Performance treatments. Conversely, Norwegians "poor" demanded full earnings equalisation. The behaviour of US subjects fell between these two extremes. This evidence shows the existence of relevant cross-country difference in demand for redistribution and opens new perspectives on what may be considered "fair" or "unfair" inequality in Western countries.
    Keywords: inequality,Redistribution,individual merit,cross-country experiments
    JEL: D63 D71 C92
    Date: 2018
  5. By: Demuynck, Thomas (universite libre de bruxelles); Herings, P. Jean-Jacques (General Economics 1 (Micro)); Saulle, Riccardo (General Economics 1 (Micro)); Seel, Christian (General Economics 1 (Micro))
    Abstract: We introduce a new solution concept for models of coalition formation, called the myopic stable set (MSS). The MSS is defined for a general class of social environments and allows for an infinite state space. An MSS exists and, under minor continuity assumptions, it is also unique. The MSS generalizes and unifies various results from more specific applications. It coincides with the coalition structure core in coalition function form games when this set is non-empty; with the set of stable matchings in the Gale-Shapley matching model; with the set of Pareto optimal allocations in the Shapley-Scarf housing matching model; with the set of pairwise stable networks and closed cycles in models of network formation; with the set of pure strategy Nash equilibria in pseudo-potential games and finite supermodular games; and with the set of mixed strategy Nash equilibria in several classes of two-player games.
    Keywords: Social environments, group formation, stability, Nash equilibrium
    JEL: C70 C71
    Date: 2018–02–01
  6. By: Daniel Eizenga (Sahel Research Group, University of Florida)
    Abstract: Chad has emerged as an important counter-terrorism partner in the Lake Chad Basin and the broader Sahel-Sahara region due to its recent political stability and military contribution to security efforts in these troubled zones. However, a closer look at developments in domestic politics, notably the continued and increasingly severe repression of the political opposition and civil society, suggests that this stability may not be built on solid foundations. This paper considers the role Chad has played in the fight against Boko Haram and other forms of regional violent extremism in an effort to take stock of the current threats the Chadian government faces from external actors. It then investigates growing domestic grievances due to an ongoing fiscal crisis, attacks on civil liberties, and a disrupted electoral calendar which risk escalating and destabilising the current government. The paper argues that the mitigation of these diverse and multi-dimensional security threats, particularly at the domestic level, would benefit from an environment that is more supportive of democratic institutions and the rule of law, thus enhancing the country’s prospects for stability in the short- and long-term.
    Keywords: Boko Haram, Chad, political stability, Sahel, security
    JEL: D74 F5 H56 N47
    Date: 2018–02–07
  7. By: Gallier, Carlo; Kesternich, Martin; Löschel, Andreas; Waichman, Israel
    Abstract: From a current perspective the Paris Agreement is not sufficient to limit the global mean temperature below 2êC above pre-industrial level as intended. The Agreement stipulates that parties review, compare and ratchet up efforts to combat climate change over time. Within this process, commitments heavily depend on what has been already achieved and this status-quo reflects an important reference point serving either as commitment advice or potential threat. We present an experimental study that is specifically designed to incorporate the effect of a status-quo via pre-existing contribution levels under endowment heterogeneity in a game in which participants make voluntary contributions to a public good. Our participants are sampled from the United Nations Youth Associations Network, representing participants from 51 countries. Members from developed and developing countries take decisions against the background of different initial levels of endowments and pre-existing contributions. Our analysis indicates that starting with ambitious pre-existing contribution levels can foster aggregate mitigation levels. Falling behind this status-quo contribution levels by reducing the public good appears to be a strong behavioral barrier. These observations might provide support for the basic structure of the Paris Agreement with Nationally Determined Contributions and the possibility to adjust them, even if a downward revision of national targets may not be precluded.
    Keywords: Paris Agreement,Nationally Determined Contributions,Ratched-up mechanism,International public goods,Online experiment
    JEL: H41 C91 F53 Q58
    Date: 2018
  8. By: Anupam D. Roy (Howard University)
    Abstract: The Shahbag movement emerged in early February of 2013 as a sit-in protest in the Shahbag square of Dhaka city on the demands of capital punishment of war criminals of the 1971 liberation war of Bangladesh. This paper evaluates the movement as case study for the framing tasks theory of social movements and explores how faulty framing of the movement grievances led to counterproductive consequences for the movement constituents. The theoretical analysis is supported by the empirical findings of an original public opinion survey of up to 300 movement participants. Key movement leaders and movement critics were also interviewed through open-ended questions to further inform the survey data. The paper provides a genealogy of the secularist civil society framing tasks and shows how Shahbag, after originating from that frame, eventually shifted away from it under the a politically coopted leadership. As a consequence, the Islamist civil society mobilized a countermovement under the banner of Hefazat-e-Islam, which lead to the re-legitimation of Islamism as a political ideology and reestablished Islamists as an influential interest group.
    Keywords: Social movement theory, Shahbag Movement, Islamism, Bangladesh
    Date: 2018–02
  9. By: David Bartolini (OECD); Agnese Sacchi (Sapienza University of Rome (Italy); GEN (Spain)); Domenico Scalera (University of Sannio (Italy)); Alberto Zazzaro (University of Naples Federico II; CSEF & MoFiR (Italy))
    Abstract: Government accountability increases with voters' proximity to policy-makers. Decentralization reforms implemented in many countries in the last twenty years are based on this principle. We present a political agency model that challenges this view and shows that the effects of increasing proximity may depend on the institutional context. In particular, the presence of rent-seeking politicians and heterogeneity in voters' political awareness produce three distinct optimal levels of decentralization. Furthermore, optimal distance depends on the capacity of rent-seeking incumbents to blur information available to voters. When the incumbent reacts to increasing proximity with more blurring activity, the optimal distance increases. Accordingly, less decentralization is preferable.
    Keywords: government accountability, information, institutional distance, rent-seeking, political awareness
    JEL: D72 D82 D83 H40
    Date: 2018–01

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