nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2019‒12‒09
eighteen papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Democracy, State Capacity and Public Finance By Easaw, Joshy; Leppälä, Samuli
  2. Voting contagion: Modeling and analysis of a century of U.S. presidential elections By Braha, Dan; de Aguiar, Marcus A. M.
  3. Mobilized to Take a Vanguard Role: Communist Party Members’ Participation in the Community Building Campaign By Yu, Ang; Tang, Chengzuo
  4. Proportionality and the Limits of Welfarism By Dominik Peters; Piotr Skowron
  5. Group cooperation against an incumbent By Guillaume Cheikbossian
  6. Power Sharing at the Local Level: Evidence on Opting-In for Non-Citizen Voting Rights By Stutzer, Alois; Slotwinski, Michaela
  7. Diversifying the Donor Pool: Did Seattle's Democracy Vouchers Program Reshape Participation in Municipal Campaign Finance? By McCabe, Brian J; Heerwig, Jennifer A.
  8. Vote buying in the US Congress By Matter, Ulrich; Roberti, Paolo; Slotwinski, Michaela
  9. The Formation of Social Groups under Status Concern By Staab, Manuel
  10. Civil society participation in the Scottish marine planning process and the role of Environmental Non-Governmental Organisations By Brooker, Esther; Hopkins, Charlotte Rachael; Devenport, Emilie; Greenhill, Lucy; Duncan, Calum
  11. The Origins of Common Identity: Evidence from Alsace-Lorraine By Sirus Dehdari; Kai Gehring
  12. Workplace Unionism, Collective Bargaining and Skill Formation: New Results from Mixed Methods By Berton, Fabio; Carreri, Anna; Devicienti, Francesco; Ricci, Andrea
  13. Nudge, Boost, or Design? Limitations of behaviorally informed policy under social interaction By Reijula, Samuli; Kuorikoski, Jaakko; Ehrig, Timo; Katsikopoulos, Konstantinos; Sunder, Shyam
  14. Media competition, information provision and political participation:Evidence from French local newspapers and elections, 1944–2014 By Julia Cage
  15. The share of manipulable outcomes in social choice problem By Boris Tsvelikhovskiy
  16. Myths of multipolarity: the sources of Brazilian overexpansion By Schenoni, Luis L.; Belém Lopes, Dawisson; Casarões, Guilherme
  17. Building the Glass House: Transparency and Civic Capital across Italian municipalities By Giuseppe Albanese; Emma Galli; Ilde Rizzo; Carla Scaglioni
  18. Ecologically sustainable but unjust? Negotiating equity and authority in common-pool marine resource management By Wehner, Nicholas; Klain, Sarah C.; Beveridge, Rachelle; Bennett, Nathan

  1. By: Easaw, Joshy (Cardiff Business School); Leppälä, Samuli (Cardiff Business School)
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to consider the determinants of state capacity investments and public finance in societies with different intensities of democracy. Specifically, we consider the implications of political (dis)parity between the political parties as well as voter groups for state capacity investments, public goods provision, preferential tax policies between the elites and citizens, and the ability of the incumbent government to accrue political rents. The paper provides a unified framework to study the direct and indirect effects of democracy by combining state capacity investment and probabilistic voting. Paradoxically, while stronger electoral contestability leads to higher public good provision and lower political rents, it deteriorates the incumbent’s incentive to invest in state capacity. Similarly, when increased political inclusivity between the voters leads to higher public good provision and lower political rents, it will have a negative effect on state capacity. Conversely, if the effect of inclusivity on state capacity investment is positive, then public good provision will decline.
    Keywords: democracy, state-capacity investment, electoral bias, political inclusivity, political rents, public goods provision
    JEL: D72 H10
    Date: 2019–12
  2. By: Braha, Dan; de Aguiar, Marcus A. M.
    Abstract: Social influence plays an important role in human behavior and decisions. Sources of influence can be divided as external, which are independent of social context, or as originating from peers, such as family and friends. An important question is how to disentangle the social contagion by peers from external influences. While a variety of experimental and observational studies provided insight into this problem, identifying the extent of contagion based on large-scale observational data with an unknown network structure remains largely unexplored. By bridging the gap between the large-scale complex systems perspective of collective human dynamics and the detailed approach of social sciences, we present a parsimonious model of social influence, and apply it to a central topic in political science--elections and voting behavior. We provide an analytical expression of the county vote-share distribution, which is in excellent agreement with almost a century of observed U.S. presidential election data. Analyzing the social influence topography over this period reveals an abrupt phase transition from low to high levels of social contagion, and robust differences among regions. These results suggest that social contagion effects are becoming more instrumental in shaping large-scale collective political behavior, with implications on democratic electoral processes and policies.
    Date: 2018–01–02
  3. By: Yu, Ang; Tang, Chengzuo
    Abstract: In the community building campaign launched at the beginning of this century in urban China, the transfer of welfare responsibility to communities and democratization at the grassroots level both have featured prominently. Participation on the part of community residents as volunteers and voters are indispensable to the success of these initiatives. Therefore, grassroots state agents are eager to solicit involvement from those susceptible to their mobilization, including Communist Party members. In this article, we intend to investigate the role of Party members in community volunteering and voting and its differentiation across various social groups and neighborhood contexts. Drawing on nationally representative data, we find that Party members indeed have a stronger propensity to participate than the non- member residents. The effect of Party membership is statistically significant on volunteering but not on voting, and more distinguishable among employed than retired residents. In danwei neighborhoods, the direction of Party membership’s influence is reversed. These findings shed some light on the targets, emphasis, channels and constraints of Party-state’s grassroots mobilization in its quest of maintaining legitimacy in a cost-effective way.
    Date: 2018–10–07
  4. By: Dominik Peters; Piotr Skowron
    Abstract: We study two influential voting rules proposed in the 1890s by Phragm\'en and Thiele, which elect a committee or parliament of k candidates which proportionally represents the voters. Voters provide their preferences by approving an arbitrary number of candidates. Previous work has proposed proportionality axioms satisfied by Thiele's rule (now known as Proportional Approval Voting, PAV) but not by Phragm\'en's rule. By proposing two new proportionality axioms (laminar proportionality and priceability) satisfied by Phragm\'en but not Thiele, we show that the two rules achieve two distinct forms of proportional representation. Phragm\'en's rule ensures that all voters have a similar amount of influence on the committee, and Thiele's rule ensures a fair utility distribution. Thiele's rule is a welfarist voting rule (one that maximizes a function of voter utilities). We show that no welfarist rule can satisfy our new axioms, and we prove that no such rule can satisfy the core. Conversely, some welfarist fairness properties cannot be guaranteed by Phragm\'en-type rules. This formalizes the difference between the two types of proportionality. We then introduce an attractive committee rule which satisfies a property intermediate between the core and extended justified representation (EJR). It satisfies laminar proportionality, priceability, and is computable in polynomial time. We show that our new rule provides a logarithmic approximation to the core. On the other hand, PAV provides a factor-2 approximation to the core, and this factor is optimal for rules that are fair in the sense of the Pigou--Dalton principle.
    Date: 2019–11
  5. By: Guillaume Cheikbossian (CEE-M - Centre d'Economie de l'Environnement - Montpellier - FRE2010 - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - UM - Université de Montpellier - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier)
    Abstract: In this paper, I study the ability of group members to cooperate against an incumbent in a repeated rent-seeking game and where group members and the incumbent have di¤erent valuations of the prize. I rst consider that group members use Nash Reversion Strategies (NRS) to support cooperative behavior and show that full cooperation within the group is more easily sustained as a Stationary Subgame Perfect (Nash) Equilibrium (SSPE) as either group size, or the heterogeneity in the valuation of the prize, increases. In turn, I show that full cooperation within the challenger group can also be sustained as a Weakly Renegotiation-Proof Equilibrium (WRPE). Yet, an increase in group size makes it more di¢ cult to sustain within-group cooperation but an increase in the relative valuation of the prize by group members still facilitates group cooperation.
    Keywords: Renegotiation,Collective Action,Group Cooperation,Repeated Game,Trigger Strategies
    Date: 2019
  6. By: Stutzer, Alois (University of Basel); Slotwinski, Michaela (University of Basel)
    Abstract: The enfranchisement of foreigners is likely one of the most controversial frontiers of institutional change in developed democracies, which are experiencing an increasing number of non-citizen residents. We study the conditions under which citizens are willing to share power. To this end, we exploit the unique setting of the Swiss canton of Grisons, where municipalities are free to decide on the introduction of non-citizen voting rights at the local level (a so called opting-in regime). Consistent with the power dilution hypothesis, we find that enfranchisement is less likely the larger the share of resident foreigners. Moreover, municipalities with a large language/cultural minority are less likely to formally involve foreigners. In contrast, municipality mergers seem to act as an institutional catalyst, promoting democratic reforms. A supplementary panel analysis on electoral support for an opting-in regime in the canton of Zurich also backs the power dilution hypothesis, showing that a larger share of foreigners reduces support for a regime change.
    Keywords: non-citizen voting rights; opting-in; power sharing; democratization
    JEL: D72 D78 J15
    Date: 2019–11–13
  7. By: McCabe, Brian J; Heerwig, Jennifer A.
    Abstract: In this paper, we evaluate whether an innovative new campaign finance program in Seattle, Washington shifted the composition of campaign donors in local elections. In 2015, voters in Seattle approved the creation of the Democracy Voucher program with the intent of broadening representation in the campaign finance system and expanding participation from marginalized communities. Every registered voter in Seattle was provided with four, twenty-five-dollar vouchers that they could, in turn, assign to the local candidate(s) of their choice. Through an analysis of the inaugural implementation of the program in 2017, we investigate whether this innovative public financing system increased participation, broadened involvement from underrepresented groups and led to a donor pool that was more representative of the electorate. Compared to cash donors in the municipal election, we report that voucher users are less likely to be high-income and more likely to come from poor neighborhoods. While older residents are over-represented among voucher users, there is little difference in the racial composition of cash donors and voucher users. Our analysis confirms that the Democracy Voucher program successfully moved the donor pool in a more egalitarian direction, although it remains demographically unrepresentative of the electorate. The lessons from Seattle’s inaugural implementation offer key insights for other municipalities considering public financing policies, and these lessons have the potential to reshape the national policy debate about the influence of political money.
    Date: 2018–05–16
  8. By: Matter, Ulrich; Roberti, Paolo; Slotwinski, Michaela
    Abstract: We assess the influence of moneyed interests on legislative decisions. Our theory predicts that the vote outcome distribution and donation flows in a legislature feature a discontinuity at the approval threshold of bills if special interest groups are involved in vote buying. Testing the theoretical predictions based on two decades of roll-call voting in the U.S. House, we identify the link between narrowly passed bills and well-timed campaign contributions. Several pieces of evidence substantiate our main finding, suggesting that moneyed interests exert remarkably effective control over the passage of contested bills.
    Keywords: legislative voting,campaign finance,special interest groups,lobbying,forensic economics
    JEL: D72 D78
    Date: 2019
  9. By: Staab, Manuel
    Abstract: I study the interaction of two forces in the formation of social groups: the preference for high quality peers and the desire for status among one's peers. I present a characterization of fundamental properties of equilibrium group structures in a perfect information, simultaneous move game when group membership is priced uniformly and cannot directly depend on type. While equilibrium groups generally exhibit some form of assortative matching between individual type and peer quality, the presence of status concern reduces the potential degree of sorting and acts as a force for greater homogeneity across groups. I analyse the effect of status concern for the provision of groups under different market structures and particularly focus on the implications for segregation and social exclusion. I find that status concern reduces the potential for and benefit from segregation - both for a social planner and a monopolist - but the interaction of preference for rank and status can make the exclusion of some agents a second-best outcome.
    Keywords: peer effects, status concern, public goods, network effects
    JEL: D62 D71 H41 L10
    Date: 2019–11
  10. By: Brooker, Esther; Hopkins, Charlotte Rachael; Devenport, Emilie; Greenhill, Lucy; Duncan, Calum
    Abstract: Sustainable development principles are based on the fundamental recognition of humans as an integral part of the ecosystem. Participation of civil society should therefore be central to marine planning processes and enabling ecosystem-based management, and development of mechanisms for effective participation is critical. To date, little attention has been given to the role of Environmental Non-Governmental Organisations (ENGOs) in public participation. In this paper, the results of two workshops, which involved various stakeholders and addressed public participation in marine planning, are reported and discussed in the context of the Scottish marine planning process. ENGOs’ role in communicating complex policies, representing members’ interests and contributing towards participatory governance in marine planning is highlighted. Innovative outreach methods are still required by decision-makers to translate technical information, integrate local knowledge, improve public representation and conserve resources. This could include collaboration with ENGOs to help promote public participation in decision-making processes.
    Date: 2019–01–10
  11. By: Sirus Dehdari; Kai Gehring
    Abstract: The quasi-exogenous division of the French regions Alsace and Lorraine after the Franco-Prussian War allows us to provide evidence about group identity formation within historically homogeneous regions. We use several measures of stated and revealed preferences at the municipal-level in a geographical regression discontinuity design. More nation-state repression is associated with a strengthening of regional identity in the short, medium, and long run. We explain this in a model and document that the establishment of regionalist organizations is a key mechanism to strengthen identity. A relatively stronger regional compared to national identity is associated with preferences for more regional decision-making.
    Keywords: group identity, nation-building, repression, assimilation, regional identity, border regions, Alsace-Lorraine
    JEL: D91 H70 N40 Z19
    Date: 2019
  12. By: Berton, Fabio (University of Turin); Carreri, Anna (University of Verona); Devicienti, Francesco (University of Turin); Ricci, Andrea (INAPP – Institute for Public Policy Analysis)
    Abstract: Among the steps to improve a country's competitiveness, several commentators and international institutions include a general emphasis on deregulation and decentralization of industrial relations. In this paper, we contribute to this debate by studying whether and how firm-level unionism and collective agreements affect workplace training, a key ingredient to competitiveness. Theory provides inconclusive predictions on the various channels and processes through which firm-level industrial relations may affect workplace training. Quantitative and qualitative analyses, when used in isolation, have also proved insufficient for an adequate account of the various factors at play. This is where our paper mostly contributes. In the spirit of opening the "black box" of firm-level unionism and collective bargaining, we mix together quantitative and qualitative strategies. Our results suggest that workplace unionism, and especially decentralized collective agreements, favor workplace training in subtler and often more dynamic ways than commonly understood.
    Keywords: workplace training, industrial relations, firm-level bargaining, Italy
    JEL: J24 J52
    Date: 2019–10
  13. By: Reijula, Samuli; Kuorikoski, Jaakko; Ehrig, Timo; Katsikopoulos, Konstantinos; Sunder, Shyam
    Abstract: Nudge and boost are two competing approaches to applying the psychology of reasoning and decision making to improve policy. Whereas nudges rely on manipulation of choice architecture to steer people towards better choices, the objective of boosts is to develop good decision-making competences. Proponents of both approaches claim capacity to enhance social welfare through better individual decisions. We suggest that such efforts should involve a more careful analysis of how individual and social welfare are related in the policy context. First, individual rationality is not always sufficient or necessary for improving collective outcomes. Second, collective outcomes of complex social interactions among individuals are largely ignored by the focus of both nudge and boost on individual decisions. We suggest that the design of mechanisms and social norms can sometimes lead to better collective outcomes than nudge and boost, and present conditions under which the three approaches (nudge, boost, and design) can be expected to enhance social welfare.
    Date: 2018–03–20
  14. By: Julia Cage (Département d'économie)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of increased media competition on the quantity and quality of news provided and, ultimately, on political participation. I build a new county-level panel dataset of local newspaper presence, newspapers' number of journalists, costs and revenues and political turnout in France, from 1944 to 2014. I estimate the effect of newspaper entry by comparing counties that experience entry to similar counties in the same years that do not. Both sets of counties exhibit similar trends prior to entry, but those with entry experience substantial declines in the average number of journalists. An increased number of newspapers is also associated with fewer articles and less hard news provision. Newspaper entry, and the associated decline in information provision, is ultimately found to decrease voter turnout at local elections. Exploiting the long time span covered by my data, I discuss a number of mechanisms that may drive these empirical findings. First, I examine the relationship between increased competition and media capture in the aftermath of WW2, when newspapers were biased and the advertising market was underdeveloped. I then show that in the recent period the effects are stronger in counties with more homogeneous populations, as predicted by a vertical product differentiation framework, whereas there is little impact in counties with more heterogeneous populations.
    Keywords: Media Competition; Newspaper Content; Size of the newsroom; Hard News; Soft News; Political Participation; Media Capture; Governance
    JEL: D72 L11 L13 L82
    Date: 2019–11
  15. By: Boris Tsvelikhovskiy
    Abstract: The paper is devoted to study of manipulability of scoring voting rules. We present a conjectural list of inequalities, which are satisfied by a profile if and only if it is manipulable by a coalition $Coal_{\mathcal{A}_k}$ (of members of electorate who prefer $A_k$ over the winner). The conjecture is verified for all positional rules with $m=4$ alternatives and for general $m$ with mild restrictions on the weights. In particular, it is established for the plurality and anti-plurality rule (any $m$) and the Borda count ($m\leq 6$ candidates). The shares of manipulable outcomes for plurality, anti-plurality and Borda count in case of $m=4$ alternatives are presented and the Python code for carrying out the computation in case of Borda count is provided. We also study a specific type of manipulation (SM), which includes not only the fact of manipulability but the manipulability which leads to the winning of the desired alternative. The shares of SM results for plurality, anti-plurality, Borda and Coombs' procedures in case of $m=3$ alternatives are computed.
    Date: 2019–11
  16. By: Schenoni, Luis L.; Belém Lopes, Dawisson; Casarões, Guilherme
    Abstract: We provide a framework to analyze the foreign policy overexpansion of so-called emerging powers during the early 21st century. To do so, we look at the Brazilian case and how domestic actors colluded to foster the myth of an impending multipolarity, which served as the ideological basis for an unsustainable surge in that state’s international ambition. After reviewing the literature that analyzes the phenomenon of overexpansion in world politics, we proceed in four steps. First, we describe the evolution of the “multipolarity myth” in elite discourse and public opinion polls. Second, we trace how specific interest groups logrolled to foster and capitalize on the myth. Third, we document the increase of the diplomatic budget, Presidential trips abroad, state-backed investments overseas, participation in UN peace operations, and other indicators of expansion. Fourth, we use the synthetic control method, a statistical technique, to infer the extent of overexpansion by comparing Brazil with a plausible counterfactual – i.e. a weighted basket of countries with similar characteristics, yet unaffected by the myth. Although our focus is on Brazil, this framework might help understand other unsuccessful emerging powers who have recently experienced similar overexpansion crises.
    Keywords: Brazil; BRICS; overexpansion; multipolarity; myth
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2019–01–01
  17. By: Giuseppe Albanese (Banca d'Italia, sede di Catanzaro); Emma Galli (Università di Roma "La Sapienza"); Ilde Rizzo (Università di Catania); Carla Scaglioni (Università Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria)
    Abstract: Our paper explores one particular channel through which social capital affects political outcomes, that is transparency. Citizens who share social values are more inclined to get information via transparency and monitor public activity. Thus, we first investigate whether social capital affects the transparency of public action, using a new dimension of the quality of institutions that has not investigated so far; then, we verify if transparency affects the relationship between social capital and the accountability of politicians. We find that civic capital positively affects transparency, suggesting that the quality of the social environment provides an incentive for public agents to become more transparent and therefore more accountable. Our results are robust to different samples and endogeneity concerns.
    Keywords: Transparency, civic capital, political accountability, local governments
    JEL: K2 K4 H3 Z1
    Date: 2019–11
  18. By: Wehner, Nicholas (OCTO (Open Communications for The Ocean)); Klain, Sarah C.; Beveridge, Rachelle; Bennett, Nathan
    Abstract: Under appropriate conditions, community-based fisheries management can support sound resource stewardship, with positive social and environmental outcomes. Evaluating indigenous peoples’ involvement in commercial sea cucumber and geoduck fisheries on the central coast of British Columbia, Canada, we found that the current social-ecological system configuration is relatively ecologically sustainable according to stock assessments. However, the current system also results in perceived inequities in decision-making processes, harvesting allocations, and socioeconomic benefits. As a result, local coastal resource managers envision a transformation of sea cucumber and geoduck fisheries governance and management institutions. We assessed the potential robustness of the proposed institutions using Elinor Ostrom’s common-pool resource design principles. Grounded in the region’s legal, political, and historical context, our analysis suggests that greater local involvement in these invertebrate fisheries and their management could provide more benefits to local communities than the status quo while maintaining an ecologically sustainable resource. Our research highlights the importance of explicitly addressing historical context and equity considerations in social-ecological system analyses and when renegotiating the institutions governing common-pool resources.
    Date: 2018–07–10

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