nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2019‒04‒22
fourteen papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Informal Elections with Dispersed Information By Mehmet Ekmekci; Stephan Lauermann
  2. Securing personal freedom through institutions – the role of electoral democracy and judicial independence By Berggren, Niclas; Gutmann, Jerg
  3. The Logic of Fear: Populism and Media Coverage of Immigrant Crimes By Mathieu Couttenier; Sophie Hatte; Mathias Thoenig; Stephanos Vlachos
  4. Silver or Lead? Why Violence and Corruption Limit Women's Representation By Norris, Pippa
  5. From finance to fascism: The real effect of Germany’s 1931 banking crisis By Sebastian Doerr; Stefan Gissler; José-Luis Peydró; Hans-Joachim Voth
  6. Inequality, macroeconomic performance and political polarization: An empirical analysis By Proaño Acosta, Christian; Peña, Juan Carlos; Saalfeld, Thomas
  7. Legislative and Multilateral Bargaining By Eraslan, Hulya; Evdokimov, Kirill S.
  8. Setting new behavioural standards: Sustainabilty pledges and how conformity impacts their outreach By Koessler, Ann-Kathrin
  9. Immigration and electoral support for the far-left and the far-right By Anthony Edo; Yvonne Giesing; Jonathan Öztunc; Panu Poutvaara
  10. Why Won’t You Listen to Me? Measuring Receptiveness to Opposing Views By Minson, Julia; Chen, Frances S.; Tinsley, Catherine H.
  11. Political settlements and the delivery of maternal health services in rural Uganda By Badru Bukenya; Frederick Golooba-Mutebi
  12. Do 40-Year-Old Facts Still Matter? Long-Run Effects of Federal Oversight under the Voting Rights Act By Ang, Desmond
  13. Rethinking elite commitment to social protection in Ghana: Insights from an adapted political settlements approach By Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai
  14. Social protection in an electorally competitive environment (1): The politics of Productive Social Safety Nets (PSSN) in Tanzania By Thabit Jacob; Rasmus Hundsbaek Pedersen

  1. By: Mehmet Ekmekci; Stephan Lauermann
    Abstract: We study a model of information transmission through an informal election. Partially informed senders send binary messages to a receiver, and the receiver chooses a policy after observing the number of messages sent. Our leading example is protests in which the citizens' participation choices are their messages, and there may be positive costs or benefits of participation. A policy maker infers information from the aggregate turnout. However, the presence of activists who obtain direct benefits from participation adds noise to turnout. We show that the interplay between noise and costs leads to strategic substitution and strategic complementarity effects in the participation decisions, and we characterize their implications for the informativeness of protests. When there is no noise, information aggregates and the outcome is efficient. Our findings contrast with existing work, which shows that for many informal election scenarios with costless participation, a bias of the policy maker may prohibit any information transmission.
    Keywords: Voting, Information Aggregation
    JEL: C70 D80
    Date: 2019–04
  2. By: Berggren, Niclas; Gutmann, Jerg
    Abstract: Personal freedom is highly valued by many and a central element of liberal political philosophy. Although personal freedom is frequently associated with electoral democracy, developments in countries such as Hungary, Poland, Turkey and Russia, where elected populist leaders with authoritarian tendencies rule, suggest that electoral democracy may not be the envisaged unequivocal guarantor of freedom. Instead, an independent judicial system, insulated from everyday politics, might provide a firmer foundation. We investigate empirically how electoral democracy and judicial independence relate to personal freedom, as quantified by the new Human Freedom Index. Our findings reveal that while judicial independence is positively and robustly related to personal freedom in all its forms, electoral democracy displays a robust relationship with two out of seven types of personal freedom only (freedom of association, assembly and civil society as well as freedom of expression and information). These are types of freedom associated with democracy itself, but democracy seems unable to protect freedom in other dimensions. When we study interaction effects and make use of more refined indicators of the political system in place, we find that countries without elections or with only one political party benefit more from judicial independence than both democracies and multi-party systems without free elections. A number of robustness checks confirm these findings. Hence, it seems as if personal freedom has institutional correlates in the form of both democracy and judicial independence, with the latter safeguarding freedom more consistently and more strongly.
    Keywords: Freedom,democracy,judicial independence,political economy,institutions
    JEL: D63 D72 D78 K36 P48
    Date: 2019
  3. By: Mathieu Couttenier (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, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR); Sophie Hatte (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); Mathias Thoenig (UNIL - Université de Lausanne, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR); Stephanos Vlachos (University of Vienna [Vienna])
    Abstract: We study how news coverage of immigrant criminality impacted municipality-level votes in the November 2009 "minaret ban" referendum in Switzerland. The campaign, successfully led by the populist Swiss People's Party, played aggressively on fears of Muslim immigration and linked Islam with terrorism and violence. We combine an exhaustive violent crime detection dataset with detailed information on crime coverage from 12 newspapers. The data allow us to quantify the extent of pre-vote media bias in the coverage of migrant criminality. We then estimate a theory-based voting equation in the cross-section of municipalities. Exploiting random variations in crime occurrences, we find a first-order, positive effect of news coverage on political support for the minaret ban. Counterfactual simulations show that, under a law forbidding newspapers to disclose a perpetrator's nationality, the vote in favor of the ban would have decreased by 5 percentage points (from 57.6% to 52.6%).
    Keywords: Media,Violent crime,Immigration,Vote,Populism
    Date: 2019
  4. By: Norris, Pippa (Harvard Kennedy School)
    Abstract: Monitors report that many elections around the world are flawed by problems of corruption and violence--sometimes both. These malpractices are deeply troubling for electoral integrity and liberal democracy. Do they also serve as critical barriers to women's representation in elected office and thus the achievement of gender equality in parliaments around the world? Part I in this paper sets out the theoretical arguments and reviews what is known from qualitative studies. Part II then considers sources of quantitative evidence, selecting systematic cross-national and time-series indices from the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) project. Part III analyzes the impact of corruption and violence on the proportion of women in elected office worldwide, controlling for factors such as levels of democracy and development, electoral laws and gender quotas. Part IV confirms that both legislative corruption and political killings serve as significant constraints on women's election, with important implications for achieving the twin goals of electoral integrity and gender equality in parliamentary representation.
    Date: 2019
  5. By: Sebastian Doerr; Stefan Gissler; José-Luis Peydró; Hans-Joachim Voth
    Abstract: Do financial crises radicalize voters? We analyze a canonical case – Germany during the Great Depression. After a severe banking crisis in 1931, caused by foreign shocks and political inaction, radical voting increased sharply in the following year. Democracy collapsed six months later. We collect new data on pre-crisis bank-firm connections and show that banking distress led to markedly more radical voting, both through economic and non-economic channels. Firms linked to two large banks that failed experienced a bank-driven fall in lending, which caused reductions in their wage bill and a fall in city-level incomes. This in turn increased Nazi Party support between 1930 and 1932/33, especially in cities with a history of anti-Semitism. While both failing banks had a large negative economic impact, only exposure to the bank led by a Jewish chairman strongly predicts Nazi voting. Local exposure to the banking crisis simultaneously led to a decline in Jewish-gentile marriages and is associated with more deportations and attacks on synagogues after 1933.
    Keywords: Financial crises, banking, Great Depression, democracy, anti-Semitism
    JEL: E44 G01 G21 N20 P16
    Date: 2018–03
  6. By: Proaño Acosta, Christian; Peña, Juan Carlos; Saalfeld, Thomas
    Abstract: This paper investigates the macroeconomic and social determinants of voting behavior, and especially of political polarization, for 20 advanced countries using annual data ranging from 1970 to 2016 and covering 291 parliamentary elections. Using a panel estimation approach and rolling regressions we find empirical evidence supporting that a) traditionally established mainstream parties (center-left, center, and center-right) are penalized for poor economic performance; b) far-left (populist and radical parties) parties benefit from increasing unemployment rates; c) greater income inequality has increased the electoral support for far-right parties, particularly in recent times. Further, we do not find empirical support for the notion that social and economic globalization has led to an increase of popularity of far-right parties. These results have wide reaching implications for the current political situation in the Western world.
    Keywords: Income Inequality,Political Polarization,Globalization,Economic Voting Behavior
    JEL: E12 E24 E32 E44
    Date: 2019
  7. By: Eraslan, Hulya (Rice U); Evdokimov, Kirill S. (Rice U)
    Abstract: This survey of the theoretical literature on legislative and multilateral bargaining begins with the seminal work of Baron and Ferejohn (1989). The survey then encompasses the extensions to bargaining among asymmetric players in terms of bargaining power, voting weights, and time and risk preferences; spatial bargaining; bargaining over a stochastic surplus; bargaining over public goods; legislative bargaining with alternative bargaining protocols in which players make demands, compete for recognition, or make counter-proposals; and legislative bargaining with cheap talk communication.
    Date: 2019
  8. By: Koessler, Ann-Kathrin
    Abstract: Sustainability pledges are en vogue. In the business sector, but also in climate negotiations, pledges are used to signal actors’ intention to act pro-environmentally. Laboratory experiments testify to the potential effectiveness of these public declarations. Previous work has examined under which conditions subsequent trust and cooperation can flourish. In this study, I postulate that also conformity is an important determinant for the effectiveness of pledges. In specific, I examine what role social influence plays in the decision to pledge. In a public good game, subjects can make prior play a pledge to contribute to the public good in the socially optimal way. Across treatment conditions, I vary the way in which the pledges are elicited. Hence, the degree of social influence on pledge making is manipulated and its impact can be examined. I find that when individuals are aware that the majority of other subjects decided to pledge, they are likely to conform and also make the pledge. The emergence of such a critical mass can be stimulated when the elicitation of pledges is based on previous contribution behavior. Overall, this commitment nudge is effective. Both socially-oriented and previously not socially-oriented subjects modify their behavior after the pledge.
    Keywords: voluntary approaches,environmental policy,pledge,social dilemma,public good,commitment,conformism
    JEL: A13 C72 C91 H41
    Date: 2019
  9. By: Anthony Edo; Yvonne Giesing; Jonathan Öztunc; Panu Poutvaara
    Abstract: Immigration is one of the most divisive political issues in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and several other Western countries. We estimate the impact of immigration on voting for far-left and far-right candidates in France, using panel data on presidential elections from 1988 to 2017. To derive causal estimates, we instrument more recent immigration flows by settlement patterns in 1968. We find that immigration increases support for far-right candidates. This is driven by low-educated immigrants from non-Western countries. We also find that immigration has a weak negative effect on support for far-left candidates, which could be explained by a reduced support for redistribution. We corroborate our analysis with a multinomial choice analysis using survey data.
    Date: 2019
  10. By: Minson, Julia (Harvard Kennedy School); Chen, Frances S. (University of British Columbia); Tinsley, Catherine H. (Georgetown University)
    Abstract: We develop an 18-item self-report measure of receptiveness to opposing views. Studies 1a and 1b present the scale and report measures of internal, convergent, and discriminant validity. The scale consists of four factors, and is distinct from related measures. In Study 2, more receptive individuals (as measured by our scale) were more willing to consume information from US Senators representing the opposing party. In Study 3, more receptive individuals reported less mind wandering when viewing a speech with which they disagreed. In Study 4, more receptive individuals evaluated supporting and opposing policy arguments more impartially. In Study 5, more receptive liberal voters were more likely to watch President Trump’s inaugural address, evaluated the address in a more balanced manner, and were willing to consider a more heterogeneous selection of relevant news coverage. We discuss the scale as a tool to investigate the role of receptiveness for conflict, decision making, and collaboration.
    Date: 2018–09
  11. By: Badru Bukenya; Frederick Golooba-Mutebi
    Abstract: Technical questions, such as systems development and management; governance, the role of service users in financing and decision-making and resource availability, have long dominated research on healthcare provision in developing countries. The importance of the broader political context, specifically the way power is organised and exercised and the extent to which it meets the acceptance of a country’s ruling elites, or, more specifically, the prevailing political settlement, is usually disregarded (DFID, 2010:22). This ESID-commissioned research explored whether, and the extent to which, ‘the balance or distribution of power between contending social groups and classes, on which [the Ugandan] state is based’ (di John and Putzel, 2009:4) matters with regard to government capacity for delivering maternal health services. Findings indicate that within Uganda’s weak-dominant political settlement, sub-national level settlements exert a profound effect on the capacity and commitment of local government to deliver services. Since the mid-2000s, the health sector in Uganda has been governed for political ends, rather than geared towards higher levels of performance. This has undermined any system-wide efforts to improve service delivery. Case study material from two otherwise very similar districts, Ssembabule and Lyantonde, which record very different levels of progress in reducing maternal mortality, illuminates this argument. At the district level, good performance is driven by developmental coalitions of local politicians, bureaucrats, health sector professionals and civil society organisations with the capacity and commitment to devise and enforce innovative approaches to governing the sector.
    Date: 2019
  12. By: Ang, Desmond (Harvard Kennedy School)
    Abstract: In 2013, the Supreme Court struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act that mandated federal oversight of election laws in discriminatory jurisdictions, prompting a spate of controversial new voting rules. Utilizing difference-in-differences to examine the Act's 1975 revision, I provide the first estimates of the effects of "preclearance" oversight. I find that preclearance increased long-run voter turnout by 4-8 percentage points, due to lasting gains in minority participation. Surprisingly, Democratic support dropped sharply in areas subject to oversight. Using historical survey and newspaper data, I provide evidence that this was the result of political backlash among racially conservative whites.
    Date: 2018–10
  13. By: Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai
    Abstract: This paper explores the political economy drivers of Ghana’s flagship cash transfer programme, Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP). In contrast to existing accounts of the LEAP as a domestically driven cash transfer scheme, the evidence here shows that donor pressures, leveraged through financing, played a more prominent role than the paradigmatic ideas of domestic political elites in shaping the adoption of the LEAP. Despite the recent discovery of oil and the country’s subsequent ascension to middle-income status, donors remain important players in the Ghanaian political economy, given their dominance in the investment component of government’s budget and the resultant inability of political elites to generate the rents that are so badly needed for meeting various redistributive demands without donor financing. However, once the LEAP was adopted, domestic political calculations and the incentives generated by Ghana’s political settlement dynamics took centre stage in shaping the actual implementation of the programme, especially around questions of targeting and geographical coverage, and the prioritisation of reforms with more visible impact that could be leveraged upon to win competitive elections. These findings suggest that an adapted political settlements framework that goes beyond domestic political calculus, and which explicitly incorporates the influence of ideational and transnational factors, can greatly improve our understanding of the political economy drivers of social protection in Africa.
    Date: 2018
  14. By: Thabit Jacob; Rasmus Hundsbaek Pedersen
    Abstract: Social protection has become a more important part of social service delivery in Tanzania over the last couple of decades. This paper analyses the politics behind the making and implementation of the Productive Social Safety Nets (PSSN), a cash transfer scheme that became part of a broader, existing scheme aimed at poverty reduction and rural development, TASAF I-III. We trace the interrelationship between the domestic policy process and the shifting influence of transnational ideas. We argue that the introduction of TASAF and later PSSN was strongly influenced by international trends, driven by a policy coalition of bureaucrats and development partners, but that it was sanctioned by the country’s political elites, who at times used the programmes for electoral purposes. This happened for instance by influencing the scale and speed of PSSN’s implementation prior to the national elections in 2015, despite a tradition of scepticism towards cash transfers within the ruling CCM party. Recently, President John Magufuli’s more productivist ethos, emphasising the importance of work, poses a threat to the programmes’ continuation. This may also reduce the targeting of the poorest of the poor, which constitutes a major element of PSSN as we know it.
    Date: 2018

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