nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2019‒11‒11
thirteen papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Voting Expressively By Abhinash Borah
  2. Attacking the weak or the strong? An experiment on the targets of parochial altruism By Varaine, S.; Benslimane, I.; Magni-Berton, R.; Crosetto, P.
  3. Your Vote is (no) Secret! How Low Voter Density Harms Voter Anonymity and Biases Elections in Italy By Mauro Caselli; Paolo Falco
  4. Economic Insecurity and the Rise of the Right By Walter Bossert; Andrew E. Clark; Conchita D'Ambrosio; Anthony Lepinteur
  5. The cancellation effect at the group level By Aslihan Akdeniz; Matthijs van Veelen
  6. Does Affirmative Action in Politics Hinder Performance? Evidence from India By Sabyasachi Das; Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay; Rajas Saroy
  7. Feddersen and Pesendorfer meet Ellsberg By Matthew Ryan
  8. Partisan Bias in Inflation Expectations By Oliver Bachmann; Klaus Gründler; Niklas Potrafke; Ruben Seiberlich
  9. Bond Exchange Offers or Collective Action Clauses? By Ulrich Hege; Pierre Mella-Barral
  10. Benin's stealthy democracide: How Africa's model democracy kills itself bit by bit By Kohnert, Dirk; Preuss, Hans-Joachim
  11. Winning Coalitions in Plurality Voting Democracies By René van den Brink; Dinko Dimitrov; Agnieszka Rusinowska
  12. Inequality and elections in Italian regions By Bloise, Francesco; Chironi, Daniela; Pianta, Mario
  13. Group Size and Political Representation Under Alternate Electoral Systems By Sugat Chaturvedi; Sabyasachi Das

  1. By: Abhinash Borah (Department of Economics, Ashoka University)
    Abstract: We address a common criticism directed towards models of expressive voting that they are ad hoc in nature. To that end, we propose a foundation for expressive behavior that is based on a novel theory of social preferences under risk. Under our proposal, expressive considerations in behavior arise from the particular way in which risky social prospects are assessed by decision makers who want to interpret their choices as moral. To illustrate the scope of our framework, we use it to address some key questions in the literature on expressive voting: why, for expressive considerations, might voters vote against their self-interest in large elections and why might such elections exhibit a moral bias (Feddersen et al. 2009). Speciï¬ cally, we consider an electoral set-up with two alternatives and explain why, when the size of the electorate is large, voters may want to vote for the alternative they deem morally superior even if this alternative happens to be strictly less preferred, in an all-inclusive sense, than the other.
    Keywords: expressive voting, morals, social preferences, decisions under risk, voting against self-interest, moral bias of large elections
    Date: 2019–01
  2. By: Varaine, S.; Benslimane, I.; Magni-Berton, R.; Crosetto, P.
    Abstract: Studies on parochial altruism have insofar focused on the causes leading individuals to attack any out-group on the behalf of one’s group. Yet, we have no clue to understand why parochial altruists target specific groups, such as big firms in some contexts and refugees in other contexts. The present paper introduces an experiment to analyse the conditions under which individuals costly attack strong versus weak out-groups. In our study, 300 participants played a repeated Inter-group Prisonner Dilemma (IPD) involving multiple groups and inter-group differences in resources. The results show that individuals have a basic preference for targeting strong out-groups, but that attacks decrease when the inequality in destructive capacity between groups is high. Besides, individuals target weak out-groups when they are threatening their in-group status. Decisions in the game correlate with participants’ political ideology and social dominance orientation. Overall, the results give clues to understand historical variations in the targets of political violence.
    JEL: C92 D74 H41
    Date: 2019
  3. By: Mauro Caselli; Paolo Falco
    Abstract: Italian voters are assigned to a specific polling station according to their address. After an election, candidates know how many votes they received in each polling station. When the number of voters per polling stations is low and candidates are many, this jeopardises the secrecy of voting and candidates can more easily detect deviations from pre-electoral pledges. Exploiting variation in the number of voters per polling station across cities and over time, combined with rich data on politicians in office in all Italian municipalities between 1989 and 2015, we estimate the effect of voter density on the probability of re-election for local politicians. We find that when the number of voters per polling station is lower (and secrecy is at greater risk), incumbents have a higher probability of re-election. The analysis addresses the potential endogeneity of voter density. The results are stronger in regions with lower social capital and worse institutions.
    Date: 2019
  4. By: Walter Bossert; Andrew E. Clark; Conchita D'Ambrosio; Anthony Lepinteur
    Abstract: Economic insecurity has attracted growing attention in social, academic and policy circles. However, there is no consensus as to its precise definition. Intuitively, economic insecurity is multi-faceted, making any comprehensive formal definition that subsumes all possible aspects extremely challenging. We propose a simplified approach, and characterize a class of individual economic-insecurity measures that are based on the time profile of economic resources. We then apply our economic-insecurity measure to data on political preferences. In US, UK and German panel data, and conditional on current economic resources, economic insecurity is associated with both greater political participation (support for a party or the intention to vote) and notably more support for parties on the right of the political spectrum. We in particular find that economic insecurity predicts greater support for both Donald Trump before the 2016 US Presidential election and the UK leaving the European Union in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
    Keywords: Economic index numbers, Insecurity, Political participation, Conservatism, Right-leaning political parties, Trump, Brexit
    JEL: D63 D72 I32
    Date: 2019–10
  5. By: Aslihan Akdeniz (University of Amsterdam); Matthijs van Veelen (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: Group selection models combine selection pressure at the individual level with selection pressure at the group level (Sober and Wilson, 1998; Traulsen and Nowak, 2006; Wilson and Wilson, 2007; Boyd and Richerson, 2009; Simon, 2010; Simon et al., 2013; Luo, 2014; van Veelen et al., 2014; Luo and Mattingly, 2017). Cooperation can be costly for individuals, but beneficial for the group, and therefore, if individuals are sufficiently much assorted, and cooperators find themselves in groups with disproportionately many other cooperators, cooperation can evolve. The existing literature on group selection generally assumes that competition between groups takes place in a well-mixed population of groups, where any group competes with any other group equally intensely. Competition between groups however might very well occur locally; groups may compete more intensely with nearby than with far-away groups. We show that if competition between groups is indeed local, then the evolution of cooperation can be hindered significantly by the fact that groups with many cooperators will mostly compete against neighbouring groups that are also highly cooperative, and therefore harder to outcompete. The existing empirical method for determining how conducive a group structured population is to the evolution of cooperation also implicitly assumes global between group competition, and therefore gives (possibly very) biased estimates.
    Keywords: Group selection, cancellation effect
    JEL: C73
    Date: 2019–11–01
  6. By: Sabyasachi Das (Department of Economics, Ashoka University); Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay (Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi); Rajas Saroy (Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi)
    Abstract: We examine how performance of elected representatives, as measured by delivery of public goods, is affected by affirmative action in elections, i.e., imposing quota in elections for one population group. We show both theoretically and empirically, using randomized electoral quotas for a caste group (OBCs) in India, that when group identities are salient and group sizes are asymmetric, affirmative action may in fact increase electoral competition and consequently, improve leader’s performance. The result challenges the notion that equity promotion must necessarily come at the cost of “efficiency.†It further justiï¬ es the electoral quota policy in India of targeting the jurisdictions where the group is numerous
    Keywords: Electoral competition, Reservation, Public goods, Gram Panchayat
    Date: 2018–08
  7. By: Matthew Ryan (School of Economics, Auckland University of Technology)
    Abstract: The Condorcet Jury Theorem formalises the “wisdom of crowds”: binary decisions made by majority vote are asymptotically correct as the number of voters tends to infinity. This classical result assumes like-minded, expected utility maximising voters who all share a common prior belief about the right decision. Ellis (2016) shows that when voters have ambiguous prior beliefs – a (closed, convex) set of priors – and follow maxmin expected utility (MEU), such wisdom requires that voters’ beliefs satisfy a “disjoin posteriors” condition: difference private signals lead to posterior sets with disjoint interiors. Both the original theorem and Ellis’s generalisation assume symmetric penalties for wrong decisions. If, as in the jury context, errors attract asymmetric penalties, then it is natural to consider voting rules that raise the hurdle for the decision carrying the heavier penalty for error (such as conviction in jury trials). In a classical model, Feddersen and Pesendorfer (1998) have shown that, paradoxically, raising this hurdle may actually increase the likelihood of the more serious error. In particular, crowds are not wise under the unanimity rule: the probability of the more serious error does not vanish as the crowd size tends to infinity. We show that this “Jury Paradox” persists in the presence of ambiguity, whether or not juror beliefs satisfy Ellis’s “disjoint posteriors” condition. We also characterise the strictly mixed equilibria of this model and study their properties. Such equilibria cannot exist in the absence of ambiguity but may exist for arbitrarily large jury size when ambiguity is present. In addition to “uninformative” strictly mixed equilibria, analogous to those exhibited by Ellis (2016), there may also exist strictly mixed equilibria which are “informative” about voter signals.
    Date: 2019–09
  8. By: Oliver Bachmann; Klaus Gründler; Niklas Potrafke; Ruben Seiberlich
    Abstract: We examine partisan bias in inflation expectations. Our dataset includes inflation expectations of the New York Fed’s Survey of Consumer Expectations over the period June 2013 to June 2018. The results show that inflation expectations were 0.46 percentage points higher in Republican-dominated than in Democratic-dominated US states when Barack Obama was US president. Compared to inflation expectations in Democratic-dominated states, inflation expectations in Republican-dominated states declined by 0.73 percentage points when Donald Trump became president. We employ the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition method to disentangle the extent to which political ideology and other individual characteristics predict inflation expectations: around 25% of the total difference between inflation expectations in Democratic-dominated versus Republican-dominated states is based on how partisans respond to changes in the White House’s occupant (partisan bias). The results also corroborate the belief that voters’ misperceptions of economic conditions decline when the president belongs to the party that voters support.
    Keywords: inflation expectation, partisan bias, political ideology, voters’ perceptions, Blinder-Oaxaca, US president
    JEL: C13 D72 E31 P44
    Date: 2019
  9. By: Ulrich Hege; Pierre Mella-Barral
    Abstract: This paper examines two prominent approaches to design efficient mechanisms for debt renegotiation with dispersed bondholders: debt exchange offers that promise enhanced liquidation rights to a restricted number of tendering bondholders (favored under U.S. law), and collective action clauses that allow to alter core bond terms after a majority vote (favored under U.K. law). We use a dynamic contingent claims model with a debt overhang problem, where both hold-out and hold-in problems are present. We show that the former leads to a more efficient mitigation of the debt overhang problem than the latter. Dispersed debt is desirable, as exchange offers also achieve a larger and more efficient debt reduction relative to debt held by a single creditor.
    Date: 2019
  10. By: Kohnert, Dirk; Preuss, Hans-Joachim
    Abstract: A 'democratic recession' is to be observed, which is not restricted to Sub-Sahara Africa but spreads worldwide since the beginning of the 21st century. Instead of concentrating on the outward appearance of a democratic form of government, greater attention should be paid to good governance and the stealthy erosion of democratic institutions, even in formerly shining examples and African 'model democracies' like Benin and Senegal. It went along with the rise of populist new nationalism and lack of regard of the concerned for the need to defend democracy actively. The lingering process of the decline of democratic institutions is driven by increasingly poor governance and disregard for the rule of law and transparency, which has been especially pronounced in African countries since the early 2000s. On the other hand, recent examples of African social movements that successfully campaigned for a democratic renaissance in Africa and elsewhere are promising indicators of progressive social forces that counteract global trends of the resurgence of right-wing nationalism and autocratic rule.
    Keywords: Benin,Democratization,Senegal,Togo,democratic recession,social movements,governance
    JEL: F35 N47 N97 Z13
    Date: 2019
  11. By: René van den Brink (VU University Amsterdam); Dinko Dimitrov (Saarland University [Saarbrücken]); Agnieszka Rusinowska (CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: We study the issue of assigning weights to players that identify winning coalitions in plurality voting democracies. For this, we consider plurality games which are simple games in partition function form such that in every partition there is at least one winning coalition. Such a game is said to be precisely supportive if it possible to assign weights to players in such a way that a coalition being winning in a partition implies that the combined weight of its members is maximal over all coalitions in the partition. A plurality game is decisive if in every partition there is exactly one winning coalition. We show that decisive plurality games with at most four players, majority games with an arbitrary number of players, and almost symmetric decisive plurality games with an arbitrary number of players are precisely supportive. Complete characterizations of a partition's winning coalitions are provided as well.
    Abstract: Nous étudions la question de l'attribution de pondérations aux acteurs qui identifient les coalitions gagnantes dans les démocraties à la pluralité des suffrages. Pour cela, nous considérons les jeux à la pluralité qui sont de simples jeux sous forme de partition, de telle sorte que dans chaque partition, il existe au moins une coalition gagnante. On dit qu'un tel jeu est justement favorable s'il est possible d'attribuer des pondérations aux joueurs de telle sorte qu'une coalition gagnante dans une partition implique que le poids combiné de ses membres est maximal par rapport à toutes les coalitions de la partition. Un jeu à la pluralité est décisif si dans chaque partition il y a exactement une coalition gagnante. Nous montrons que les jeux à la pluralité décisive avec au plus quatre joueurs, les jeux à la majorité avec un nombre arbitraire de joueurs et les jeux à la pluralité décisive presque symétriques avec un nombre de joueurs arbitraire sont précisément favorables. Des caractérisations complètes des coalitions gagnantes d'une partition sont également fournies.
    Keywords: plurality game,plurality voting,precise support,simple game in partition function form,winning coalition,jeu à la pluralité,vote à la pluralité,soutien précis,jeu simple sous forme de partition,coalition gagnante
    Date: 2019–07
  12. By: Bloise, Francesco; Chironi, Daniela; Pianta, Mario
    Abstract: The evolution of voting in Italy’s general elections from 1994 to 2018 is investigated in this paper at the regional level, exploring the role of inequality, changes in incomes, wealth levels, precarisation of jobs and unemployment. Using a novel regional database combining voting results, incomes of employees and household revenues and wealth, we explore the drivers of non-voting, and of the shares of votes for mainstream parties, Lega and Five Star Movement in total electors. The results of our econometric models show that inequality, lack of wealth and precarisation are closely associated to the regional patterns of Italy’s electoral change. While political, ideological and cultural variables are important factors in Italy’s political upheaval, economic conditions appear to play a key role.
    Keywords: Inequality, elections, Italian regions
    JEL: A13 H5
    Date: 2019
  13. By: Sugat Chaturvedi (Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi); Sabyasachi Das (Department of Economics, Ashoka University)
    Abstract: We examine the effect of group size of minorities on their representation in national government under majoritarian (MR) and proportional (PR) electoral systems. We ï¬ rst establish a robust empirical regularity using an ethnicity-country level panel data comprising 438 ethno-country minority groups across 102 democracies spanning the period 1946–2013. We show that a minority group’s population share has no relation with its absolute representation in the national executive under PR but has an inverted-U shaped relation under MR. The pattern is stable over time and robust to alternate speciï¬ cations. The developmental outcomes for a group proxied using stable nightlight emissions in a group’s settlement area follow the same pattern. We reproduce the main results by two separate identiï¬ cation strategies—(i) instrumenting colony’s voting system by that of the primary colonial ruler and, (ii) comparing the same ethnicity across countries within a continent. We argue that existing theoretical framework with a two group set up is not able to explain this pattern. Our proposed model incorporates the spatial distribution of multiple minority groups in a probabilistic voting model and justiï¬ es these patterns as equilibrium behavior. The data further validate a critical assumption of the model and its additional comparative static results. Our work highlights that electoral systems can have importanteffectsonpowerinequalityacrossminorities, andconsequently, theirwell-being.
    Keywords: Electoral systems, minorities, political representation, settlement patterns
    Date: 2018–08

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