nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2018‒07‒30
fifteen papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. The Dimensions of Consensus By Benny Moldovanu; Alex Gershkov; Xianwen Shi
  2. The Blank and the Null: An examination of non-conventional voting choices By Rodrigo Martins
  3. Overcoming the collective action problems facing Chinese workers: lessons from four protests against Walmart By Li, Chunyun; Liu, Mingwei
  4. Confirmation bias and signaling in Downsian elections By Antony Millner; Hélène Ollivier; Leo Simon
  5. Do Campaign Contributions from Farmers Influence Agricultural Policy? Evidence From a 2008 Farm Bill Amendment Vote to Curtail Cotton Subsidies By Scott Callahan
  6. Extensions of the Simpson voting rule to the committee selection setting By Daniela Bubboloni; Mostapha Diss; Michele Gori
  7. Electoral Institutions and Intraparty Cohesion By Konstantinos Matakos; Riikka Savolainen; Orestis Troumpounis; Janne Tukiainen; Dimitrios Xefteris
  8. The Effects of Political Competition on the Generosity of Public-Sector Pension Plans By Sutirtha Bagchi
  9. Majority Voting in a Model of Means Testing By Cardak, Buly A.; Glomm, Gerhard; Ravikumar, B.
  10. Guns, environment and abortion: how single-minded voters shape politicians decisions By Bouton, Laurent; Conconi, Paola; Pino, Francisco J; Zanardi, Maurizio
  11. A Nazi 'Killer' Amendment By Benny Moldovanu; Andreas Kleiner
  12. Conditionality, democracy and institutional weakness: the Euro-crisis trilemma By Featherstone, Kevin
  13. Two classes of weighted values for coalition structures with extensions to level structures By Besner, Manfred
  14. Cooperative organizations and members’ role: A new perspective By George APOSTOLAKIS; Gert VAN DIJK
  15. From Italianization to Germanization : Division of Labor, Economic Rents, and Anti-German Attitudes in South Tyrol By Belmonte, Alessandro; Di Lillo, Armando

  1. By: Benny Moldovanu; Alex Gershkov; Xianwen Shi
    Abstract: We study a multi-dimensional collective decision under incomplete information. Agents have Euclidean preferences and vote by simple majority on each issue (dimension), yielding the coordinate-wise median. Judicious rotations of the orthogonal axes - the issues that are voted upon - lead to welfare improvements. If the agents' types are drawn from a distribution with independent marginals then, under weak conditions, voting on the original issues is not optimal. If, in addition, the marginals are identical, then voting first on the total sum and next on the differences is often welfare superior to voting on the original issues. We also provide various lower bounds on incentive efficiency: in particular, if agents' types are drawn from a log-concave density with symmetric marginals, a second-best voting mechanism attains at least 88% of the first-best efficiency.
    Keywords: multi-dimensional voting , welfare , bundling
    JEL: D82 D71
    Date: 2018–07
  2. By: Rodrigo Martins (CeBER and Faculty of Economics of the University of Coimbra)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the determinants of null and blank voting at the 2011 Portuguese legislative elections. An extensive datasets at the parish level and a fractional regression model estimator are used to estimate both voting alternatives. The results found point to some common explanatory patterns as well as to important differences between the two choices. Evidence also indicates that the performance of the local economy, especially unemployment, is important but only for the explanation of blank variations and in more urban areas, where more sophisticated voters reside. Furthermore, results point to the presence of a relevant degree of persistence in both choices and indicate that past electoral choices influence both voting choices in a way that seems to suggest the existence of protest motives.
    Keywords: Invalid voting; blank ballots; null ballots; Portugal; elections.
    JEL: D72 H7
    Date: 2017–06
  3. By: Li, Chunyun; Liu, Mingwei
    Abstract: In contrast to various structural accounts of collective inaction or short-lived contention of Chinese workers, the authors take an agency-centered approach to explain how the few sustained labor protests during closure bargaining develop against long odds. They suggest that workers’ capacity to resolve collective action problems is essential to understanding why a few contending workers are able to sustain protests whereas many others fail to do so. They argue that workplace representatives and external labor activists are crucial for helping Chinese workers resolve the collective action problems that prevent the formation of sustained labor protests. Their comparative analysis of four protests against Walmart store closures—including one unusually long, one relatively sustained, and two short-lived—shows how presence and strategic capacity of workplace representatives and external labor activists shape protest duration. The authors conclude by discussing lessons learned from these cases of closure bargaining for future development of labor contention in China.
    Keywords: workplace representatives; collective bargaining; labor NGOs; sustain protest; strategic capacity
    JEL: J50
    Date: 2018–06–18
  4. 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
  5. By: Scott Callahan
    Abstract: Farmers in the United States receive billions of dollars per year from federal farm support programs. While the nature of these programs has evolved since the Great Depression, they both persist and expand with the passage of every farm bill. This paper studies the political activities of individual farmers and the political action committees that represent their interests by exploiting a vote to amend the 2008 farm bill that, had it passed, would have curtailed a cotton subsidy program. I find evidence that cotton farmers contribute substantially to campaigns in the House of Representatives. The more a cotton farmer receives in farm subsidies, the more likely they are to make political contributions. Further, there is evidence that cotton farmers contribute substantially to non-local races, and that these contribution patterns closely resemble those of cotton political action committees. Results on the effectiveness of these contributions in influencing legislative outcomes is inconclusive. Key Words: Agricultural Policy, Lobbying, Rent Seeking, Campaign Finance
    JEL: Q18 D72
    Date: 2018
  6. By: Daniela Bubboloni (Università degli Studi di Firenze [Firenze]); Mostapha Diss (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - Université de Lyon - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Michele Gori (Università degli Studi di Firenze [Firenze])
    Abstract: Committee selection rules are procedures selecting sets of candidates of a given size on the basis of the preferences of the voters. There are in the literature two natural extensions of the well-known single-winner Simpson voting rule to the multiwinner setting. The first method gives a ranking of candidates according to their minimum number of wins against the other candidates. Then, if a fixed number k of candidates are to be elected, the k best ranked candidates are chosen as the overall winners. The second method gives a ranking of committees according to the minimum number of wins of committee members against committee nonmembers. Accordingly, the committee of size k with the highest score is chosen as the winner. We propose an in-depth analysis of those committee selection rules, assessing and comparing them with respect to several desirable properties among which unanimity, fixed majority, non-imposition, stability, local stability, Condorcet consistency, some kinds of monotonicity, resolvability and consensus committee. We also investigate the probability that the two methods are resolute and suffer the reversal bias, the Condorcet loser paradox and the leaving member paradox. We compare the results obtained with the ones related to further well-known committee selection rules. The probability assumption on which our results are based is the widely used Impartial Anonymous Culture.
    Keywords: Multiwinner Elections, Committee Selection Rule, Simpson Voting Rule, Paradoxes, Probability
    Date: 2018
  7. By: Konstantinos Matakos; Riikka Savolainen; Orestis Troumpounis; Janne Tukiainen; Dimitrios Xefteris
    Abstract: We study parties' optimal ideological cohesion across electoral rules, when the following trade-off is present: A more heterogenous set of candidates is electorally appealing (catch-all party), yet, it serves policy-related goals less efficiently. When the rule becomes more disproportional, thus inducing a more favorable seat allocation for the winner, the first effect is amplified, incentivizing parties to be less cohesive. We provide empirical support using a unique data-set that records candidates' ideological positions in Finnish municipal elections. Exploiting an exogenous change of electoral rule disproportionality at different population thresholds, we identify the causal effect of electoral rules on parties' cohesion.
    Keywords: Electoral systems; ideological heterogeneity; party cohesion; policy-motivated parties; proportional representation; regression discontinuity design
    JEL: C21 C72 D02 D72
    Date: 2018–07
  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 increase the generosity of public pensions and simultaneously, to not fund them fully, in order to keep taxes low. I examine the relationship between political competition and generosity of public pensions using a panel dataset for 3,000 municipal plans from Pennsylvania for the period 2003–2013. I find that as the level of political competition in a municipality increases, pension plans become more generous but this relationship holds true only for plans run by municipal governments. A one standard deviation increase in the level of political competition is associated with an increase in the generosity of municipal plans by about 3 percent ($426–507/retiree/year) with no effect on plans run by municipal authorities. The effects of political competition are driven by municipalities that have a higher proportion of uninformed voters and are absent for defined contribution plans.
    Keywords: Public-sector pensions; Political competition; Generosity of benefits; Defined benefit pensions; Defined contribution pensions
    JEL: H75 J45
    Date: 2018–07
  9. By: Cardak, Buly A. (College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce La Trobe Business School); Glomm, Gerhard; Ravikumar, B. (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)
    Abstract: We study a model of endogenous means testing where households differ in their income and where the in-kind transfer received by each household declines linearly with income. Majority voting determines the two dimensions of public policy: the size of the welfare program and the means-testing rate. We establish the existence of a sequential majority voting equilibrium, when the households vote first on the size of the program and then on the means-testing rate. We show that the means-testing rate increases with the size of the program but the fraction and the identity of the households receiving the transfers are independent of the program size.
    Keywords: Sequential majority voting; Means testing; Political support; Targeting
    JEL: D70 D72 H20
    Date: 2018–06–01
  10. By: Bouton, Laurent; Conconi, Paola; Pino, Francisco J; Zanardi, Maurizio
    Abstract: We study how electoral incentives affect policy choices on secondary issues, which only minorities of voters care intensely about. We develop a model in which office and policy motivated politicians choose to support or oppose regulations on these issues. We derive conditions under which politicians flip-flop, voting according to their policy preferences at the beginning of their terms, but in line with the preferences of single-issue minorities as they approach re-election. To assess the evidence, we study U.S. senators' votes on gun control, environment, and reproductive rights. In line with our model's predictions, election proximity has a pro-gun effect on Democratic senators and a proenvironment effect on Republican senators. These effects only arise for non-retiring senators, who represent states where the single-issue minority is of intermediate size. Also in line with our theory, election proximity has no impact on senators' decisions on reproductive rights, because of the presence of single-issue minorities on both sides.
    Keywords: electoral incentives; environment; gun control; reproductive rights
    JEL: D72 I18 Q00
    Date: 2018–03–01
  11. By: Benny Moldovanu; Andreas Kleiner
    Abstract: We study killer amendments under various informational regimes and postulated voter behavior. In particular, the success chances of killer amendments are shown to differ across several well-known binary, sequential voting procedures. In light of this theory, we describe a remarkable instance of a motion-proposing and agenda-setting strategy by the Nazi party, NSDAP, during the Weimar Republic. Their purpose was to kill a motion of toleration of the new 1928 Government, and they were supported by their fiercest enemies on the far left, the communist party. The combined killer strategy was bound to be successful, but it ultimately failed because of another agenda-setting counter-move undertaken by the Reichstag president.
    Keywords: sequential voting, killer amendment, agenda-setting
    JEL: D72 N4
    Date: 2018–07
  12. By: Featherstone, Kevin
    Abstract: The sovereign debt crises of the eurozone have raised a set of systemic challenges for the European Union (EU) that questions the credibility and legitimacy of its governance across two levels, European and domestic. The challenges are both instrumental and normative. The critical case in these respects is Greece: in 2015, it needed a third bail-out, but it also launched a political confrontation with the EU following the election of a leftist-led government. The political drama made the enduring challenges even more acute. Firstly, there were (and are) questions of leadership. How could the eurozone provide leadership and lever domestic reform to keep Greece inside the euro? Was there the political will to do so, at either the European or national levels? Further, there was the institutional challenge that stems from the juxtaposition of complex and disparate leadership at the EU level with low-quality institutions for policy delivery domestically. Beyond the structural conditions, there are normative questions of the terms of the rescue, but also issues of the accountability and legitimacy of the decision-making process. What can elections decide in a state under an adjustment programme? Together, these challenges pose a conundrum that is existential in nature for the EU: a trilemma in which the external leadership of reforms via conditionality confronts national democratic choice and the operational deficiencies of weak domestic institutions...
    JEL: J1
    Date: 2016–09–01
  13. By: Besner, Manfred
    Abstract: In this paper we introduce two new classes of weighted values for coalition structures with related extensions to level structures. The values of both classes coincide on given player sets with Harsanyi payoffs and match therefore adapted standard axioms for TU-values which are satisfied by these values. Characterizing elements of the values from the new classes are a new weighted proportionality within components property and a null player out property, but on different reduced games for each class. The values from the first class, we call them weighted Shapley alliance coalition structure values (weighted Shapley alliance levels values), satisfy the null player out property on usual reduced games. By contrast, the values from the second class, named as weighted Shapley collaboration coalition structure values (weighted Shapley collaboration levels values) have this property on new reduced games where a component decomposes in components of lower levels (these are singletons in a coalition structure) if one player of this component is removed from the game. The first class contains the Owen value (Shapley levels value) and the second class includes a new extension of the Shapley value to coalition structures (level structures) as a special case.
    Keywords: Cooperative game · Weighted Shapley coalition structure values · Weighted Shapley levels values · Weighted proportionality within components · Dividends
    JEL: C70 C71
    Date: 2018–07–04
  14. By: George APOSTOLAKIS (Nyenrode Business Universiteit, Department of Economics, University of Crete); Gert VAN DIJK (Department of Social Sciences, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands; TIAS School for Business and Society, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands; Centre for Entrepreneurship, Governance & Stewardship, Nyenrode Business Universiteit, Breukelen, The Netherlands.)
    Abstract: The theoretical structure and management of a cooperative organization have not changed much during the last decades. Most importantly, the role of the members’ council in corporate governance remains neglected in the contemporary cooperative literature. In this paper, we offer a new perspective on how cooperative organizations can cope with future challenges by re-establishing the role of the members’ council and the members in cooperative organizations
    Keywords: cooperative models; members’ council; random selection; deliberative democracy
    JEL: P13 D23 D72 L30 L31
    Date: 2018–04
  15. By: Belmonte, Alessandro (IMT Lucca & University of Warwick); Di Lillo, Armando (IMT Lucca)
    Abstract: Do frictions in the labour market prompt salience in the ethnic con ict and induce a shift in voting towards extremist political platforms in a privileged minority group? We address this question by exploiting a natural experiment of history that occurred in the late 1960s in South Tyrol, a northernmost and predominantly German-speaking region of Italy. During the 1930s, the region underwent a massive process of Italianization that strengthened markedly entry barriers into public oces for the German- relative to the Italian-speaking population. The resulting ethnic division of labour was brought back to question by a new reform package that aimed at redistributing jobs in the public administration sector proportionally to the numerosity of each language group. Following the announcement of the reform, we document : (i) a general increase in anti-German attitudes in the Italian group ; (ii) an intensi cation of anti-German attitudes in municipalities where Italians were fewer ; and (iii) where Italians were more specialized as public officers. We interpret this result as evidence of the salience of ethnic con ict when institutional changes induce competition between ethnic groups and put at risk historically-established economic rents of a privileged group.
    Date: 2018

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