nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2019‒07‒22
fifteen papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber
McNeese State University

  1. Why do local institutions matter? The political economy of decentralization By Andrea Colombo
  2. A Theory on Media Bias and Elections By Junze Sun; Arthur Schram; Randolph Sloof
  3. Veto Power in Standing Committees: An Experimental Study By Salvatore Nunnari
  4. Open or Closed? How List Type Affects Electoral Performance, Candidate Selection, and Campaign Effort By Hangartner, Dominik; Ruiz, Nelson A.; Tukiainen, Janne
  5. A Mathematical Analysis of an Election System Proposed by Gottlob Frege By Paul Harrenstein; Marie-Louise Lackner; Martin Lackner
  6. Cheap Talk and Coordination in the Lab and in the Field: Collective Commercialization in Senegal By Fo Kodjo Dzinyefa Aflagah; Tanguy Bernard; Angelino Viceisza
  7. The Condorcet Efficiency of the Preference Approval Voting and the Probability of Selecting the Condorcet Loser By Eric Kamwa
  8. Joint use of the mean and median for multi criteria decision support: the 3MCD method By Ruffin-Benoît Ngoie; Eric Kamwa; Berthold Ulungu
  9. On the Likelihood of the Borda Effect: The Overall Probabilities for General Weighted Scoring Rules and Scoring Runoff Rules By Eric Kamwa
  10. Preferences and strategic behavior in public goods games By Gilles, Grandjean; Mathieu, Lefebvre; Marco, Mantovani
  11. Transition énergétique et sociétale : l'enjeu du « faire- ensemble » sur nos territoires By Bernard Lemoult; Samuel Aubin
  12. Contribution and bribe: lobbying in presence of incumbent and bureaucrat By Marco Catola
  13. The Role of Electoral Incentives for Policy Innovation: Evidence from the U.S. Welfare Reform By Bernecker, Andreas; Boyer, Pierre; Gathmann, Christina
  14. Circular economy as a performative concept based on a rational utopia By Joel Ntsonde; Franck Aggeri
  15. 2019: The year for a fresh start in Europe?! By Hüther, Michael

  1. By: Andrea Colombo
    Abstract: In the past decades, decentralization has become increasingly important in both developing and developed countries. Based on the standard decentralization theorem, policy makers believe that local governments are closer to citizens and know more about local contexts and needs than the national governments. Consequently, they can design policies leading to a more efficient allocation of public goods. Moreover, when accompanied by empowerment of local decision-makers, decentralization is supposed to make local politicians more accountable to voters in a way that national politicians are not. Yet, the effective implementation of decentralization policies may heavily rely on local institutions. This thesis contributes to a rising literature analyzing the political economics of decentralization, that is the extent to which local political dynamics may reinforce or jeopardies decentralization reforms, ultimately affecting the citizens' well-being. I consider three countries that have devolved power to local politicians to a different extent, and tackle three obstacles that may undermine the beneficial effects of decentralization reforms: first, strong political competition at the local level; second, the need for coordinating the provision of a local public good; the interaction between political competition and coordination needs on accountability and eventually the quality of a local public good. Political competition may hinder the beneficial effects of decentralization on stability in a post-war country like Burundi. After a long-lasting and devastating civil war, in 2010 Burundi organized the first local elections, with the hope of establishing political stability through democratic means. However, together with two co-authors, I show that such political decentralization partly failed. We use a unique dataset and geographic fixed effects to show that violence was higher in municipalities characterized by fierce political competition and acute polarization between demobilized rebel groups. The former protagonists of the civil war used the elections as another stage to engage in a stiff struggle for power, and used “specialists of violence” to illicitly steer the electoral outcome.Political dynamics may undermine the coordinated management of the local sewerage networks in Brazil. I use geospatial data to proxy for the scope of coordination between neighboring municipalities: municipalities that are close “enough” are those more exposed to the spreading of water-borne diseases, which ultimately justifies cross-boundary coordination of local sanitation networks. By exploiting a Regression Discontinuity Design in close municipal elections, I show that political alignment between neighboring mayors may lead to lower access to sanitation networks of households. I argue that mayors co-managing a public good have a stronger incentive to monitor each other and ensure effective coordination when they come from different political parties, essentially because of political competition. Mayors from the same party would tend instead to be more lenient to each other, ultimately undermining the quality of the local public good co-provided.Finally, I study the effect of decentralization on the accountability of local politicians co-managing local police in Belgium. In 2005, one of the regions of Belgium introduced the direct election of mayors, while in the rest of the country mayors remained appointed by the local city councils. Together with a co-author, I exploit this reform to show that crime incidence in municipalities affected by the reform decreased faster than anywhere else in the country. We argue that the direct election of mayors increase the accountability of mayors and their incentives to fight criminality. However, we find that the effects of the reform decrease when an increasingly larger number of neighboring mayors has to coordinate the local police. The need to coordinate the local police blur accountability, mitigating the effects of the reform. To conclude, the overarching message of the thesis is that local institutions matter for the implementation of decentralization policies. Policy-makers redesigning the distribution of power between levels of government need to take into account pre-existing political and institutional dynamics that could jeopardize their policy initiatives. In particular, policy-makers could envision decentralization “at different speeds”, enabling local actors to identify objectives of development together with the right tools to pursue them, and finally decentralize accordingly.
    Keywords: decentralization; regression discontinuity design; difference-in-differences; geographical fixed effect; Brazil; Belgium; Burundi; conflict; accountability; coordination
    Date: 2019–10–05
  2. By: Junze Sun (Amsterdam School of Economics); Arthur Schram (Amsterdam School of Economics); Randolph Sloof (Amsterdam School of Economics)
    Abstract: We develop a tractable theory to study the impact of biased media on election outcomes, voter turnout and welfare. News released by media allows voters to infer the relative appeal of the two candidates, and the closeness of elections. In large elections, the former determines the election outcome, whereas the latter drives voter turnout. With a single media outlet, a rise in media bias affects the election outcome in a non-monotonic way, and reduces voter welfare by decreasing the probability of electing the efficient candidate and increasing aggregate turnout costs. Introducing extra media outlets can systematically shift the election outcome and voter turnout in either direction, but it weakly improves voter welfare. The impact of other ways to strengthen media competition – such as increased polarization and prevention of collusion – critically depends on whether media have commitment power; if not, they can worsen information transmission and voter welfare.
    Keywords: media bias, voting, Poisson games, media competition, commitment
    JEL: D72 D82 D83
    Date: 2019–07–16
  3. By: Salvatore Nunnari
    Abstract: Many voting bodies grant one or several of their members a veto right, that is, the right to block decisions even when a proposal has secured the necessary majority. The existence of veto power raises two concerns: first, it increases the possibility of status quo inertia; second, although it only grants the power to block decisions, it could allow veto members to impose their ideal decision on the rest of the committee. While these concerns have been investigated from the perspective of ad hoc committees, which bargain on a single policy, most committees are standing and bargain over a sequence of policies while an endogenous status quo is in place. In this paper, I present the results of a laboratory experiment designed to study the consequences of veto power in these committees. I show that (i) non-veto players are substantially less willing to support the expropriation of other non-veto players when dynamic incentives are strong and (ii) veto power substantially reduces proposal power; nonetheless, (iii) the allocation to the veto player displays a ratchet effect, and (iv) committees with a veto player have more status quo inertia and inequality of outcomes than committees without a veto player. I relate these results to the theoretical literature on the impact of veto power in standing committees. JEL Classiffications: C72, C73, C78, C92, D71, D72, D78 Keywords: Legislative Bargaining; Endogenous Status Quo; Veto Power; Laboratory Experiments; Status Quo Inertia; Policy Capture; Redistribution; Inequality
    Date: 2019
  4. By: Hangartner, Dominik; Ruiz, Nelson A.; Tukiainen, Janne
    Abstract: What effect does using open (as opposed to closed) lists in proportional representation elections have on party performance and the quality of candidate selection? We provide novel evidence by studying local elections in Colombia, where parties have discretion to field either open or closed lists. Using panel data covering the 1,100 Colombian municipalities for the 2003–2015 period, we leverage within-party, within-municipality, and over-time variation to identify the effect of ballot structure. We find that the adoption of open list dramatically increases parties’ vote and seat shares. Semi-structured interviews with a representative sample of candidates reveal that parties that use closed list struggle to attract high-quality candidates and to incentivize them to campaign. Consistent with these mechanisms, our statistical analyses confirm that open-list candidates are more experienced, more engaged in their constituencies and campaigns, and less likely to have committed election fraud in the past.
    Keywords: Electoral Systems, Ballot Structure, Closed vs Open Party List, Political Selection, Local public finance and provision of public services, C23, D72,
    Date: 2019
  5. By: Paul Harrenstein; Marie-Louise Lackner; Martin Lackner
    Abstract: We provide a mathematical analysis of an election system proposed by the eminent logician Gottlob Frege (1848--1925). His proposal was written presumably in 1918, was (re)discovered around the turn of the millennium, and published for the first time in the original German in 2000. A remarkable feature of Frege's proposal is its concern for the representation of minorities and its sensitivity to past election results. Frege's proposal is based on some highly original and relevant ideas; his core idea is that the votes of unelected candidates are carried over to the next election. All candidates thus accumulate votes over time and eventually each candidate is elected at some point. We provide a mathematical formulation of Frege's election system and investigate how well it achieves its aim of a fair representation of all political opinions in a community over time. We can prove that this goal is fulfilled remarkably well. However, we also show that, in other aspects, it falls short of Frege's high ambition that no voter's vote be lost. We propose a slight modification of his voting rule, the modified Frege method, that remedies these shortcomings. We analyse both methods from the perspective of modern social choice and apportionment theory, and can show that they are novel contributions with noteworthy proportionality properties over time.
    Date: 2019–07
  6. By: Fo Kodjo Dzinyefa Aflagah; Tanguy Bernard; Angelino Viceisza
    Abstract: Coordination is central to social interactions. Theory and conventional lab experiments suggest that cheap talk/communication can enhance coordination under certain conditions. Two aspects that remain underexplored are (1) the interaction between the number of players (group size) and communication and (2) how existing findings might play out in the field. We address both of these by studying a typical naturally-occurring setting that requires coordination; that is, one where members of agricultural cooperatives seek to jointly sell their output. Combining artefactual/lab-in-the-field experiments (LFEs), natural field experiments (RCTs), surveys, and cooperative records, we find that (1) revealing farmers' intended sales (i.e., cheap talk/communication) yields enhanced collective commercialization (i.e., coordination), particularly in larger groups; (2) such cheap talk may lead to higher incomes for small-scale farmers; (3) participants transfer learning from the LFEs thus affecting subsequent behavior in the RCTs (i.e., the day-to-day environment). Our results contribute to existing literature by highlighting the potential for cheap-talk institutions to (1) boost coordination, particularly in settings with greater strategic uncertainty (e.g., larger farmer cooperatives), and (2) promote collective entrepreneurship and development.
    JEL: C92 C93 D7 L26 O12 P32 Q13
    Date: 2019–07
  7. By: Eric Kamwa (LC2S - Laboratoire caribéen de sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UA - Université des Antilles)
    Abstract: Under Approval Voting (AV), each voter just distinguishes the candidates he approves of from those appearing as unacceptable. The Preference Approval Voting (PAV) is a hybrid version of the approval voting first introduced by Brams and Sanver (2009). Under PAV, each voter ranks all the candidates and then indicates the ones he approves. In this paper, we provide analytical representations for the probability that PAV elects the Condorcet winner when she exists in three-candidate elections with large electorates. We also provide analytical representations for the probability that PAV elects the Condorcet loser. We perform our analysis by assuming the assumption of the Extended Impartial Culture. This analysis allows us to measure at which extend, PAV performs better than AV both on the propensity of electing the Condorcet loser and on that of the non-election of the Condorcet loser.
    Keywords: Probability,Condorcet,Extended Impartial Culture,Ranking,Approval Voting
    Date: 2019
  8. By: Ruffin-Benoît Ngoie (Université pédagogique nationale - Université Pédagogique Nationale); Eric Kamwa (LC2S - Laboratoire caribéen de sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UA - Université des Antilles); Berthold Ulungu (Institut Supérieur des Techniques Appliquées, Section Mécanique)
    Abstract: Most multicriteria aggregation functions are designed in a mono-decision-maker context. Using them for multi-decision-maker problems requires a prior transformation of the individual data of each decision-maker into a collective datum. Recently a method for the aggregation of data in the context of social choices has been introduced by Ngoie et al. (2015a): The Mean-Median Compromise Method (MMCM). In this paper, we suggest an adaptation of the MMCM to multi-criteria multi-decision-maker problems: the Mean and Median for Multi-Criteria Decision (3MCD). We also examine some properties of this rule.
    Keywords: Preference aggregation,Decision,Majority Judgment,Mean,Median,Multi-Criteria Decision
    Date: 2019
  9. By: Eric Kamwa (LC2S - Laboratoire caribéen de sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UA - Université des Antilles)
    Abstract: The Borda Effect, first introduced by Colman and Poutney (1978), occurs in a preference aggregation process using the Plurality rule if given the (unique) winner there is at least one loser that is preferred to the winner by a majority of the electorate. Colman and Poutney (1978) distinguished two forms of the Borda Effect:-the Weak Borda Effect describing a situation under which the unique winner of the Plurality rule is majority dominated by only one loser; and-the Strong Borda Effect under which the Plurality winner is majority dominated by each of the losers. The Strong Borda Effect is well documented in the literature as the Strong Borda Paradox. Colman and Poutney (1978) showed that the probability of the Weak Borda Effect is not negligible; they only focused on the Plurality rule. In this note, we extend the work of Colman and Poutney (1978) by providing in three-candidate elections, the representations for the limiting probabilities of the (Weak) Borda Effect for the whole family of the scoring rules and scoring runoff rules. We highlight that there is a relation between the (Weak) Borda Effect and the Condorcet efficiency. We perform our analysis under the Impartial Culture and the Impartial Anonymous Culture which are two well-known assumptions often used for such a study.
    Date: 2019–06
  10. By: Gilles, Grandjean; Mathieu, Lefebvre; Marco, Mantovani
    Abstract: We analyze experimentally behavior in a finitely repeated public goods game. One of the main results of the literature is that contributions are initially high, and gradually decrease over time. Two explanations of this pattern have been developed: (i) the population is composed of free-riders, who never contribute, and conditional cooperators, who contribute if others do so as well; (ii) strategic players contribute to sustain mutually beneficial future cooperation, but reduce their contributions as the end of the game approaches. This paper contributes to bridging the gap between these views. We analyze preferences and strategic ability in one design by manipulating group composition to form homogeneous groups on both dimensions. Our results highlight the interaction between the two: groups that sustain high levels of cooperation are composed of members who share a common inclination toward cooperation and have the strategic abilities to recognize and reap the benefits of enduring cooperation.
    Keywords: Voluntary contribution, conditional cooperation, free riding, strategic sophistication.
    JEL: H41 C73 C92
    Date: 2018–12–19
  11. By: Bernard Lemoult (IMT Atlantique - IMT Atlantique Bretagne-Pays de la Loire); Samuel Aubin (Collège des transitions sociétales)
    Abstract: In order to succeed energy and social turnaround in an ever more complex world (Morin, 2015), it is necessary to involve as many actors as possible and to draw on collective intelligence. However, actors are numerous, and local governments are in charge of implementing with national ministries the territorial action plans focused on climate, air and energy. Regions have been appointed as leaders of regional energy policies. At the same time, energy professional unions are taking action at the level of micro regions to accompany the energy-climate action plans of groups of cities. Eventually, many other actors are involved : energy suppliers, professional unions, chambers of commerce, unions, local governments, NGOs, education providers, not for profit organizations, etc. As a result, all actors have to share common objectives and build up an energy turnaround community, which needs an enhancement of cooperation skills. The part played by Higher Education institutions can be a key success factor for several reasons. It is the case of the Mine of IMT Atlantic (formerly known as École des Mines de Nantes) which layed the-scientific, organizational and governance policy foundations of a territorial and cooperative action-research project. How to develop those turnaround communities and third parties groups to move from local logics of action to a system wide and inclusive way of thinking through a form of action research project? Acting all together is the challenge of the TES program, now officially notified as a cooperative action research project on social and energy turnaround. Acting together mainly draws on collective action engineering (Moisdon, 1984), implemented at territory level (Mottet, 2015).
    Abstract: Pour « réussir » la transition énergétique et sociétale, dans un monde de plus en plus complexe (Morin, 2015), il est commun d'appeler à la mobilisation du plus grand nombre d'acteurs et mobiliser l'intelligence collective. Or, les acteurs sont nombreux. Les intercommunalités sont en charge de la mise en oeuvre des Plans Climat Air Énergie Territoriaux (PCAET), en articulation avec les services de l'État. Les régions ont été désignées comme « chef de file de la politique énergétique régionale ». Dans le même temps, les syndicats d'énergie s'organisent à l'échelle départementale pour assurer leurs missions traditionnelles de gestion de réseau et de plus en plus pour accompagner les intercommunalités dans leurs démarches énergie-climat. Enfin, une multitude d'autres intervenants (opérateurs énergétiques, entreprises, fédérations pro-fessionnelles, chambres consulaires, syndicats, collectivités, ONG, organismes de formation, associations…) sont également concernés. Chacun va donc devoir faire « cause commune » et construire une véritable communauté régionale d'acteurs de la transition énergétique, ce qui suppose un renforcement des capacités de coopération. Pour répondre à ces enjeux, le rôle des établissements d'enseignement et de recherche peut être important, et ce à plusieurs titres. C'est ici le cas d'IMT Atlantique, anciennement École des mines de Nantes, qui a créé les conditions scientifiques, organisationnelles et politiques (au sens gouvernance du terme) d'une recherche-action territoriale et partenariale. Comment créer des « lieux de transition », des « espaces tiers », pour passer d'une logique et d'une pratique de pré-carré, à un imaginaire plus systémique, solidaire et coopératif au travers d'une forme de recherche-action ? C'est tout l'enjeu du « faire ensemble » qu'explore le programme TES, désormais affichée comme action-recherche partenariale sur les questions de Transition Énergétique et Sociétale. Faire ensemble relève en particulier d'une ingénierie de l'action collective (Moisdon, 1984), appliquée au niveau d'un territoire (Mottet, 2015).
    Keywords: action research,turnaround,social,collective,territory,cooperation,Collective intelligence,intelligence collective,action-recherche,transition,sociétal,collectif,territoire
    Date: 2018–12–01
  12. By: Marco Catola
    Abstract: This paper discusses the effects on the quality of the decision of the introduction of a watchdog bureaucrat who provides policy recommendations that are costly to be ignored. Through a simple model, it is shown that, if both the politician and the bureaucrat are sensitive to the pressure of an interest group, the positive impact of bureaucrats is very small, even though not null. Moreover, by characterising the conditions that allow this effect, it is shown that if the bureaucrat's recommendation is too binding, the decision power moves from the politician to the bureaucrat, producing a reduction in accountability without any improvement in the quality of the decision.
    Keywords: lobbying, interest group, decision making process, bureaucracy
    JEL: D72 D73
    Date: 2019–07–01
  13. By: Bernecker, Andreas; Boyer, Pierre; Gathmann, Christina
    Abstract: This paper shows that electoral incentives matter for the decision to implement novel policies. Our empirical setting is the period prior to and following the U.S. welfare reform in 1996, which marked the most dramatic shift in social policy since the New Deal. Our findings indicate that governors with strong electoral support are less likely to experiment than governors with little support. Yet, governors who cannot be reelected actually experiment more than governors striving for reelection. These findings are robust to controlling for ideology, preferences for redistribution, the state legislature, and cross-state learning.
    Keywords: Electoral incentives; Policy innovation; Spillovers; Welfare reform
    JEL: D72 D78 H75 I38
    Date: 2019–05
  14. By: Joel Ntsonde (CGS i3 - Centre de Gestion Scientifique i3 - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris - PSL - PSL Research University - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Franck Aggeri (CGS i3 - Centre de Gestion Scientifique i3 - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris - PSL - PSL Research University - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: The concept of Circular Economy has attracted increasing attention from scholars in the last ten years as a new paradigm to reconcile economic value creation with environmental frugality. Hitherto, researchers have mostly tried to found this concept on scientific grounds or analyzed how organizations are trying to implement it. But few works have studied the reasons why Circular Economy gets such a momentum and fosters collective action within society. The question we raise in this paper is: what mechanisms underpin the collective dynamic currently shaped by Circular Economy? To answer this question, we have analyzed the mechanisms through which organizations commit to Circular Economy. We conducted a qualitative study to explore a group of heterogeneous organizations which are involved in Circular Economy projects in the building and furniture sectors in Paris region. We show that Circular Economy has been built and works as a rational utopia (Metzger, 2001) which has the ability to wield performative effects (Callon, 2007). By performative effects, we analyze how this rational utopia is concretely mobilized in the course of action to provide cognitive resources for collective action, and particularly to materialize idealized visions into projects and commitments. Eventually we propose a framework conceptualizing the organizational processes through which the underlying rational utopia of Circular Economy becomes performative and materializes.
    Date: 2019–07–04
  15. By: Hüther, Michael
    Abstract: The good news is that Europe will not be dominated by populist parties. For big tent parties, i.e. the conservative EPP and the social democratic PES, however, results still aren't rosy - they are looking at heavy losses, including the loss of their joint majority. From now on you need at least three parties to get most votes, handing either the Greens or the Liberals the role of king maker. But decision making in the European Parliament has always been characterized by often-changing majorities based more on factual debates and less on voting according to party discipline. The debate will probably become a bit more pluralistic but not fundamentally different from the current situation. As regards policy priorities, climate and environment are expected to be even more centre stage; security policy, ranging from migration-related topics to the fight against terrorism will remain high on the agenda, as will the reform of the Eurozone, incl. financial policy and the rule of law.
    Date: 2019

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