nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2018‒03‒12
sixteen papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Opening Hours of Polling Stations and Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Natural Experiment By Niklas Potrafke; Felix Rösel
  2. Voters' Response to Public Policies: Evidence from a Natural Experiment By Francesco Drago; Roberto Galbiati; Francesco Sobbrio
  3. How the Republic of Venice chose its Doge: Lot-based elections and supermajority rule By M. Cristina Molinari
  4. Decentralization and electoral swings. By Ignacio Lago; André Blais
  5. Growth, inequality, and party support: Valence and positional economic voting. By Ruth Dassonneville; Michael S. Lewis-Beck
  6. Public Goods Provision with Rent-Extracting Administrators By Tobias Cagala; Ulrich Glogowsky; Veronika Grimm; Johannes Rincke
  7. Are Biased Media Bad for Democracy? By Wolton, Stephane
  8. Instrumental Variables and Causal Mechanisms: Unpacking the Effect of Trade on Workers and Voters By Christian Dippel; Robert Gold; Stephan Heblich; Rodrigo Pinto
  9. Minority Groups and Success in Election Primaries By Epstein, Gil S.; Heizler, Odelia
  10. Whom can you trust? Reputation and Cooperation in Networks By Maia King;
  11. Neutral candidates in approval and disapproval vote By González, Stéphane; Laruelle, Annick; Solal, Philippe
  12. Simulated geo-coordinates as a tool for map-based regional analysis By Groß, Marcus; Rendtel, Ulrich; Schmid, Timo; Bömermann, Hartmut; Erfurth, Kerstin
  13. Banker My Neighbour: Matching and Financial Intermediation in Savings Groups By Cassidy, Rachel; Fafchamps, Marcel
  14. From conformity to reactance: Contingent role of network centrality in consumer-to-consumer influence By Pabitra Chatterjee; Barthelemy Chollet; Olivier Trendel
  15. Nudges in network By Benjamin Ouvrard; Anne Stenger
  16. A Network Approach to Public Goods By Elliott, M.; Golub, B.

  1. By: Niklas Potrafke; Felix Rösel
    Abstract: Voter turnout has declined in many countries, raising the question of whether electoral institutions increase voter turnout. We exploit an electoral reform in the Austrian state of Burgenland as a natural experiment to identify the causal effect of polling station opening hours on voter turnout. The results show that a 10 percent increase in opening hours increased voter turnout by some 0.5 to 0.9 percentage points. The reform also influenced party vote shares. The vote share of the conservative party decreased in the course of the reform, while the vote shares of the other three main parties increased. Conservative voters tend to have an especially strict sense of civic duty and would have participated in the election in any event. Simulations indicate that parliamentary majorities in previous elections would have changed under extended opening hours in favor of the social democratic party. The opening hours of polling stations probably play a more important role in political strategies than recognized to date.
    Keywords: Voter turnout; party vote shares; opening hours of polling stations; causal effects; natural experiment; Austria.
    JEL: D72 D02 Z18
    Date: 2018
  2. By: Francesco Drago; Roberto Galbiati; Francesco Sobbrio
    Abstract: We study voters’ response to public policies. We exploit a natural experiment arising from the Italian 2006 collective pardon that created idiosyncratic incentives to recidivate across released individuals and municipalities. We show that municipalities where resident pardoned individuals had a higher incentive to recidivate experienced a higher recidivism rate. Moreover, in these municipalities: i) newspapers were more likely to report crime news involving pardoned individuals; ii) voters held worse beliefs on the incumbent national government’s ability to control crime and iii) with respect to the previous elections, the incumbent national government experienced a worse electoral performance in the April 2008 elections relative to the opposition coalition. Our findings indicate that voters keep politicians accountable by conditioning their vote on the observed effects of their policies.
    Keywords: accountability, retrospective voting, natural experiment, crime, recidivism, media
    JEL: D72 K42
    Date: 2017
  3. By: M. Cristina Molinari (Department of Economics, University Of Venice Cà Foscari)
    Abstract: We study a family of voting rules inspired by the peculiar protocol used for over 500 years by the Republic of Venice to elect its Doge. Such lot-based indirect elections have two main features: a pool of delegates is chosen by lot out of a general assembly, and then they vote in a single winner election with qualified majority. Under the assumption that the assembly is divided in two factions, we characterise the win probability of the minority and study how it varies with the electoral college size and the winning threshold. We argue that these features promoted a more equitable allocation of political representation and thus may have contributed to the political stability of the Republic of Venice.
    Keywords: Voting, minorities' protection, probabilistic proportional representation
    JEL: D72 N44 C6
    Date: 2018
  4. By: Ignacio Lago; André Blais
    Abstract: We explore how the uniformity of electoral swings in the district vote within countries is affected by the level of economic and political decentralization. We rely on district-level data from OECD countries in two consecutive elections before and after the Great Recession to show that as regional governments exert more influence over the central government, districts deviate less from the overall pattern of change in support of the national incumbent party. The causal mechanism accounting for the effect of decentralization on dynamic nationalization is examined with individual panel data from national elections in Canada and Spain.
    Keywords: Decentralization, dynamic nationalization, electoral swing, Great Recession.
    JEL: D72 H77
    Date: 2018–02
  5. By: Ruth Dassonneville; Michael S. Lewis-Beck
    Abstract: Economic growth helps governments get reelected. But does growth, as a valence issue, exhaust the possibilities for the economic vote? What about the impact of inequality, as as a positional economic issue? Can rising economic inequality make or break a government, independent of the country’s growth trajectory? We show, via an examination of 310 elections in established democracies, across time and space, that growth and inequality both matter for incumbent government support. Somewhat surprisingly, we find that both left-wing and right-wing incumbents are held accountable for changes in inequality. While these effects appear unaltered by structural factors such as federalism or the electoral system, their impact seems to depend, to some extent, on whether the country is going through economic hard times.
    Keywords: Economic voting; growth; inequality; valence; positional economic voting; social welfare spending.
    JEL: D63 D72 H77
    Date: 2018–02
  6. By: Tobias Cagala; Ulrich Glogowsky; Veronika Grimm; Johannes Rincke
    Abstract: This paper studies public goods provision in an experiment in which contributors repeatedly interact with rent-extracting administrators. Our main result is that the presence of an administrator reduces contributions but only because rent extraction lowers the MPCR. Analysing the dynamic interactions between the contributors and the administrator, we demonstrate that rent-extraction and cooperation shocks trigger short-run adjustments in the agents’ behaviour. However, shocks do not have permanent effects. This explains the long-run resilience of cooperation to rent extraction. We also show that cooperative attitudes and trust are traits that explain permanent differences in the short-run volatility of public goods provision.
    Keywords: cooperation, rent extraction, corruption, trustworthiness, public goods, public trust game, panel vector autoregressive model
    JEL: C32 C91 C92 H41
    Date: 2017
  7. By: Wolton, Stephane
    Abstract: This paper assesses the normative and positive claims regarding the consequences of biased media using a political agency framework with a strategic voter, polarized politicians, and news providers. My model predicts that voters are always better informed with unbiased than biased outlets even when the latter have opposite ideological preferences. However, biased media may improve voter welfare. Contrary to several scholars' fear, partisan news providers are not always bad for democracy. My theoretical findings also have important implications for empirical analyses of the electoral consequences of changes in the media environment. Left-wing and right-wing biased outlets have heterogeneous effects on electoral outcomes which need to be properly accounted for. Existing empirical studies are unlikely to measure the consequences of biased media as researchers never observe and can rarely approximate the adequate counterfactual: elections with unbiased news outlets.
    Keywords: biased news, counterfactual, welfare, information
    JEL: D72 D78 D82
    Date: 2017–02–26
  8. By: Christian Dippel; Robert Gold; Stephan Heblich; Rodrigo Pinto
    Abstract: This paper shows that import exposure affects voting behavior because it affects local labor markets. We develop a new framework for mediation analysis where one instrumental variable is sufficient to identify three causal effects. Using German data from 1987–2009, we find that import exposure increases the support of nationalist parties and causes labor market turmoil. The voting response to import exposure can entirely be explained by the labor market adjustments to import exposure. Individual-level data corroborate our findings. Our novel estimation framework is applicable to a broad range of empirical studies interested in the causal mechanisms behind causal effects.
    Keywords: instrumental variables, causal mediation analysis, import exposure, voting, local labor markets
    JEL: C36 D72 J20
    Date: 2017
  9. By: Epstein, Gil S.; Heizler, Odelia
    Abstract: In this paper, we focus on the effect of belonging to one or more minority groups on the probability of success in primary elections. Using a unique dataset of candidates in Israeli primaries, we find that while being a new immigrant, a woman or a Muslim decreases the chances of electoral success, candidates who belong to two minority groups have an advantage in the race. In some cases of candidates belonging to two minority groups, their chances of success are not only higher than for a candidate from one minority group, but also than for a candidate from the majority.
    Keywords: primary elections,success,minority groups,majority groups
    Date: 2018
  10. By: Maia King (Queen Mary University of London (PhD candidate), University of Oxford);
    Abstract: Community enforcement is an important device for sustaining efficiency in some repeated games of cooperation. We investigate cooperation when information about players' reputations spreads to their future partners through links in a social network that connects them. We nd that information supports cooperation by increasing trust between players, and obtain the `radius of trust': an endogenous network listing the potentially cooperative relationships between pairs of players in a community. We identify two aspects of trust, which relate to the network structure in different ways. Where trust depends on the shadow of punishment, players are trusted if others can communicate about them. This is linked to 2-connectedness of the network and the length of cycles within it. Where trust relates to knowledge of a player's type, players are trusting if they are more likely to receive information through their network connections. Both aspects of trust are linked to new centrality measures that we construct from the probabilities of node-to-node information transmission in networks, for which we provide a novel and simple method of calculation.
    Keywords: Cooperation, community enforcement, information transmission, networks, im-perfect private monitoring, repeated games, reputation, trust
    JEL: C73 D83 D85 L14 Z13
    Date: 2017–12–12
  11. By: González, Stéphane; Laruelle, Annick; Solal, Philippe
    Abstract: In this article, the question is to select the “best” candidates within a set of candidates when voters cast approval-disapproval ternary ballots. That is, three options are offered to voters: casting a vote “in favor”, a “neutral” vote or a vote “against” each candidate. We first review desirable properties that a rule aggregating approval-disapproval ternary ballots should satisfy. We check whether the rules that have been proposed in the literature satisfy them. Then, we provide comparable axiomatizations of three rules: one is the lexicographical extension of the Approval rule for binary ballots; the second is the lexicographical extension of the Disapproval rule for binary ballots; and the third rule eliminates candidates with more opponents and fewer supporters than other candidates.
    Keywords: approval, disapproval, voting, compromise, condorcet, principle
    JEL: D71 D72
    Date: 2017–11–24
  12. By: Groß, Marcus; Rendtel, Ulrich; Schmid, Timo; Bömermann, Hartmut; Erfurth, Kerstin
    Abstract: Map-based regional analysis is interested to detect areas with a large concentration of certain populations. Here kernel density estimates (KDE) offer advantages over classical choropleth maps. However, kernel density estimation needs exact geo-coordinates. In a recent paper Groß et al. (2017) have proposed a measurement error model which uses local aggregates for kernel density estimation. Their algorithm simulates "exact" geo-coordinates which reflect the information on the aggregates. In this article we suggest two extensions of this approach. First, we consider boundary constraints, which are usually ignored in the KDE framework. This concerns not only the outer limits of a municipality but also unsettled regions within a city like parks, lakes and industrial areas. Without a boundary correction standard KDEs underestimate the density in the vicinity of boundaries. Here we propose a modification of the original algorithm which uses rescaled kernel functions. Regional maps often display local percentages, for example, voters for a special party among all voters in each voting district. Here we derive a smooth representation of percentages which is based on the ratio of two densities. Again, the original algorithm is modified to cope with the estimation of a ratio of two densities. Our empirical examples refer to voting results from Berlin. It is shown that the proposed methodology reveals a lot of regional insight which is not produced by standard choropleth maps.
    Keywords: Regional Analysis,Choropleths,Kernel Density Estimation,Geo-Coordinates,Open data
    Date: 2018
  13. By: Cassidy, Rachel; Fafchamps, Marcel
    Abstract: Efforts to promote financial inclusion have largely focused on microcredit and microsaving separately, and less so on promoting financial intermediation across poor borrowers and savers. Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) and other Self-Help Groups have features of both a borrowing and a commitment savings technology, potentially enabling savers and borrowers to meet each other's needs. Intermediation may however be impeded by limited liability and imperfect information. To investigate this, we use a large-scale survey of mature VSLA groups in rural Malawi to analyse how members sort across groups. Wefindthat present-biased members tend to group with time-consistent members, suggesting that the former may be gaining a commitment savings technology by lending to the latter. In contrast, members of the same occupation sort into groups together, suggesting unrealised intermediation possibilities between farming and non-farming households. This has implications for the design of such groups.
    Keywords: commitment savings; financial inclusion; Microfinance; savings groups
    JEL: O1 O12 O16
    Date: 2018–02
  14. By: Pabitra Chatterjee; Barthelemy Chollet (GEM - Grenoble Ecole de Management - Grenoble École de Management (GEM), IREGE - Institut de Recherche en Gestion et en Economie - USMB [Université de Savoie] [Université de Chambéry] - Université Savoie Mont Blanc); Olivier Trendel (MKT - Marketing - Grenoble École de Management (GEM))
    Abstract: Central consumers in a group often are influential, because their social prominence commands conformity from other members. Yet, there can be another contradictory effect of centrality, such that other members regard it as a threat to their attitudinal freedom and express reactance instead of conformity. Whether a group member conforms or reacts to the evaluation of a more central member might depend on the strength of their relationship, which determines the social cost of disagreeing. We provide evidence of such an interaction between centrality and relational strength with an experiment where participants with preexisting affective ties of varying strengths taste a snack in groups (Study 1) and a field study where participants connected by instrumental ties consume a complex service (Study 2). A scenario-based experiment manipulating centrality and strength of ties provides further evidence that reactance underlies the observed effects (Study 3).
    Keywords: Consumer-to-consumer influence, Centrality, Shared consumption, Tie strength
    Date: 2017
  15. By: Benjamin Ouvrard (UMR INRA – AgroParisTech, Laboratoire d’Economie Forestière, 54042 Nancy Cedex, France); Anne Stenger (UMR INRA – AgroParisTech, Laboratoire d’Economie Forestière, 54042 Nancy Cedex, France; Department of Economics, BETA-CNRS, University of Strasbourg, 61, avenue de la Forêt Noire 67085 Strasbourg Cedex)
    Abstract: This paper presents a model of voluntary contributions for a local public good, with individuals in a fixed network (complete, circle, line and star), based on the model of Bramoulle and Kranton (2007). We first characterize the equilibrium conditions in the absence of external incentives. We then consider the introduction of an informational nudge (announcement of the socially optimal contribution), both under complete and incomplete information regarding individuals' positions in the network. We show that, regardless of the regulator's level of information, an informational nudge may induce higher levels of aggregate contributions in circle and complete networks, and reduces strategic uncertainty, as long as individuals' sensitivity to the nudge (or their interest in the public good that is provided) is high enough. However, in star and line networks, the level of information available to the contributions or reduce strategic uncertainty. Our main conclusion is therefore that a nudge policy should target specific individuals in specific networks. Moreover, we consider a "second best" nudge for line networks under incomplete information because the socially efficient profile of contributions may be complex to implement in such a situation.
    Keywords: nudge; network, local public goods, information disclosure
    JEL: C72 D83 H41
    Date: 2017–02
  16. By: Elliott, M.; Golub, B.
    Abstract: Suppose agents can exert costly effort that creates nonrival, heterogeneous benefits for each other. At each possible outcome, a weighted, directed network describing marginal externalities is defined. We show that Pareto efficient outcomes are those at which the largest eigenvalue of the network is 1. An important set of efficient solutions - Lindahl outcomes - are characterized by contributions being proportional to agents' eigenvector centralities in the network. The outcomes we focus on are motivated by negotiations. We apply the results to identify who is essential for Pareto improvements, how to efficiently subdivide negotiations, and whom to optimally add to a team.
    Date: 2018–02–07

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