nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2020‒02‒24
fourteen papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Social embeddedness in stakeholder networks and legislators' policy preferences: The case of German livestock policy By Grunenberg, Michael; Henning, Christian H. C. A.
  2. An assessment of land reform policy processes in Sierra Leone: A network based approach By Kanu, Edmond Augustine; Henning, Christian H. C. A.
  3. Dynamic effects of enforcement on cooperation By Roberto Galbiati; Emeric Henry; Nicolas Jacquemet
  4. Historical institutions and electoral outcomes the case of India after decolonization By Shree Saha
  5. Bargaining over Mandatory Spending and Entitlements By Marina Azzimonti; Laura Karpuska; Gabriel Mihalache
  6. “One Man, One Vote” Part 1: Electoral Justice in the U.S. Electoral College: Banzhaf and Shapley/Shubik versus May By de Mouzon, Olivier; Laurent, Thibault; Le Breton, Michel; Moyouwou, Issofa
  7. Civic legacies of wartime governance By Justino Patricia; Stojetz Wolfgang
  8. The Effect of Financial Constraints on In-Group Bias: Evidence from Rice Farmers in Thailand By Boonmanunt, Suparee; Meier, Stephan
  9. In and Out of the Unit: Social Ties and Insurgent Cohesion in Civil War By Anastasia Shesterinina
  10. Cooperation in a Fragmented Society: Experimental Evidence on Syrian Refugees and Natives in Lebanon By Drouvelis, Michalis; Malaeb, Bilal; Vlassopoulos, Michael; Wahba, Jackline
  11. Stable and Efficient Structures in Multigroup Network Formation By Shadi Mohagheghi; Jingying Ma; Francesco Bullo
  12. Objective Social Choice: Using Auxiliary Information to Improve Voting Outcomes By Silviu Pitis; Michael R. Zhang
  13. Interaction indices for multichoice games By Mustapha Ridaoui; Michel Grabisch; Christophe Labreuche
  14. Information disclosure in group contests with endogenous entry By Luke Boosey; Philip Brookins; Dmitry Ryvkin

  1. By: Grunenberg, Michael; Henning, Christian H. C. A.
    Abstract: In a world of increasing complexity, politicians have only limited information about the relationship of policies and the outcomes. They often make use of simplified heuristics, i.e. policy beliefs. Hence, an influence opportunity for interest groups occurs: informational lobbying. It complements classic lobbying strategies, e.g. vote buying or campaign spending. Providing expert knowledge allows interest groups to influence legislators towards the preferred policy position. Aside from so-called "approved votes", German parliamentarians generally follow parliamentary group's discipline. Thus, experts' role within parliamentary groups is crucial. They deal with key issues and represent the parliamentary group in the committees. Furthermore, they work out the group's positions on these specific issues. They are the starting point for interest groups to disseminate their information and hence influence the legislators' positions. An exemplary field of complexity is the agricultural sector. In particular, livestock production is challenged by questions of sustainability, i.e. public expectations towards animal welfare, producers and consumers' welfare as well as ecological consequences. Importance of animal welfare is demonstrated by the ongoing debate about piglet castration or husbandry system standards. This raises two questions: First, to what extend are stakeholders able to gain direct access to politicians? Second, how can they use this structure to influence policy decisions? Using a social network approach, we first investigate the structure of three networks: exchange of expert knowledge, political support and informal social ties. In particular, we put emphasis on the connection between parliamentary actors and other stakeholders from society, i.e. interest groups. This refers to the first question. Second, we apply a model of political exchange using information and lobbying networks. Following Henning et al. (2019), this model not only includes political exchange, but also belief updating. Moreover, it considers direct as well as indirect ties. This analysis step serves to answer the second question.
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Kanu, Edmond Augustine; Henning, Christian H. C. A.
    Abstract: A predominantly agrarian country where land is one of the most important productive assets, land reform remains one of the most important but contentious policy issues in Sierra Leone. Despite several failed attempts to reform the country's current land property rights and administrative arrangements, an assessment of these failed policy formulation policy processes have not been undertaken. In this paper, we use data collected during an elite network survey conducted in Sierra Leone in 2018 to quantitatively evaluate the recent land reform policy efforts that culminated into the 2015 National Land Policy. Specifically, we combine a belief formation model and a legislative decision-making model to quantify the knowledge-based power of the various stakeholders within the policy formulation process and the extent to which this power influences the policy beliefs of policy makers and other key stakeholders in the process formulation process. Our results indicate that the main policy beliefs, as it relates to reform or maintaining the current status quo, do not significantly change as a result of the exchange of expert information. This is because key stakeholders largely rely on their own control and only update their policy beliefs to a very limited extent after communications. Our results also indicate that the policy network structure in Sierra Leone facilitates consensus building, a process that might lead to increased ownership of policy programs by local stakeholders.
    Keywords: land reform,land grabbing,informational exchange,political support,stakeholder influence
    Date: 2019
  3. By: Roberto Galbiati (EconomiX - UPN - Université Paris Nanterre - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Emeric Henry (ECON - Département d'économie (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Nicolas Jacquemet (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: In situations where social payoffs are not aligned with private incentives, enforcement with fines can be a way to sustain cooperation. In this paper we show, by the means of a lab experiment , that past fines can have an effect on current behavior even when no longer in force. We document two mechanisms: a) past fines affect directly individuals' future propensity to cooperate; b) when fines for non cooperation are in place in the past, individuals experience higher levels of cooperation from partners and, consistent with indirect reciprocity motives, are in turn nicer towards others once these fines have been removed. This second mechanism is empirically prevalent and, in contrast with the first, induces a snowball effect of past enforcement. Our results can inform the design of costly enforcement policies.
    Keywords: experiments,Laws,social values,cooperation,learning,spillovers,persistence of institutions,repeated games
    Date: 2018–12
  4. By: Shree Saha (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research; Institute of Economic Growth)
    Abstract: There is now ample evidence that historical colonial institutions impact contemporary economic outcomes and some suggest that these links might be mediated by the influence of colonial institutions on electoral processes and outcomes. This paper examines this under-researched link in the context of India, focusing on two colonial institutions that potentially influence electoral outcomes - the type of rule, i.e. whether a territory was under direct British rule or whether it was under native rule - and the type of land tenure installed by the British. I measure electoral outcomes by three variables: voter turnout (VT), margin of victory (MV) and electoral competition (EC) and ask: Do historical colonial institutions impact contemporary electoral outcomes and if yes, in what ways? Do such impacts persist in the longer term? I focus specifically on the elections at the cusp of decolonization (1951) and those in 1970s, to assess short and longer-terms impacts. Results indicate a 4 higher VT in native ruled areas in the long run and 5 higher VT in the non-landlord areas in the short run. The latter dissipates in the longer term because of tenancy reforms. I find EC consistently higher in British and landlord areas but no robust impact on MV is noted. These results are consistent with the role played by landlords and erstwhile princes of native states after decolonization. The paper provides evidence on the potentially important mediating role of electoral outcomes in link between historical institutions and economic outcomes and suggests that research on elections should not overlook the role of historical institutions and those exploring the historical origins of economic outcomes should not overlook the role of elections.
    Keywords: Colonial institution, political institution, democracy, decolonization, path- dependence, elections
    JEL: B15 B16 B25 B52 D72 P48
    Date: 2019–11
  5. By: Marina Azzimonti; Laura Karpuska; Gabriel Mihalache
    Abstract: Do mandatory spending rules improve society's welfare? To answer this, we analyze an infinite horizon dynamic political-economy model with two parties which disagree on how to split a fixed budget between public and private goods. We study the welfare implications of introducing two types of budget rules, mandatory spending on public goods and entitlement programs, the latter imposing constraints on the private goods' allocations that can be implemented. We model budget rules following the literature on legislative bargaining with an endogenous status quo. Under a mandatory spending rule on public goods, expenditures are governed by criteria determined by enacted law. In particular, previous year's spending bill is applied in the current year unless explicitly changed by a majority of policymakers. Entitlement programs, on the other hand, impose restrictions on the provision of private transfers through eligibility rules and generosity formulas that can only be modified with bi-partisan support. We find that entitlement programs induce over-provision of private goods and under-provision of public goods, whereas the opposite is true under a mandatory spending rule on public goods. We show that mandatory spending rules are typically associated with larger welfare gains than entitlement programs. The desirability of the rule, however, depends on the degree of political turnover: (i) with high enough political turnover, both budget rules are better than discretion, but (ii) entitlement programs can generate welfare losses when political persistence is large. This happens because entitlement rules actually increase the volatility of private and public consumption, and reduce public goods' provision significantly. Finally, we describe conditions under which budget rules would arise in a bargaining equilibrium.
    Date: 2020
  6. By: de Mouzon, Olivier; Laurent, Thibault; Le Breton, Michel; Moyouwou, Issofa
    Abstract: This paper is dedicated to the measurement of (or lack of) electoral justice in the 2010 Electoral College using a methodology based on the expected influence of the vote of each citizen for three probability models. Our first contribution is to revisit and reproduce the results obtained by Owen (1975) for the 1960 and 1970 Electoral College. His work displays an intriguing coincidence between the conclusions drawn respectively from the Banzhaf and Shapley-Shubik’s probability models. Both probability models conclude to a violation of electoral justice at the expense of small states. Our second contribution is to demonstrate that this conclusion is completely flipped upside-down when we use May’s probability model: this model leads instead to a violation of electoral justice at the expense of large states. Besides unifying disparate approaches through a common measurement methodology, one main lesson of the paper is that the conclusions are sensitive to the probability models which are used and in particular to the type and magnitude of correlation between voters that they carry.
    JEL: D71 D72
    Date: 2020–02
  7. By: Justino Patricia; Stojetz Wolfgang
    Abstract: In conflict zones around the world, both state and non-state actors deliver governance at local levels. This paper explores the long-term impact of individual exposure to ‘wartime governance’ on social and political behaviour.We operationalize wartime governance as the local policy choices and practices of a ruling actor. Building on detailed ethnographic and historical insights, we use survey data and a natural experiment to show that involvement in wartime governance by armed groups makes Angolan war veterans more likely to participate in local collective action twelve years after the end of the war.This effect is underpinned by a social learning mechanism and a shift in political preferences, but has no bearing on political mobilization at the national level or social relations within the family. Our study documents an important institutional legacy of civil wars and exposes challenges and opportunities for bottom-up approaches to post-conflict state-building and local development.
    Keywords: local development,state-building,Civil conflict,Conflict,wartime governance
    Date: 2019
  8. By: Boonmanunt, Suparee (Mahidol University); Meier, Stephan (Columbia University)
    Abstract: In-group bias can be detrimental for communities and economic development. We study the causal effect of financial constraints on in-group bias in prosocial behaviors – cooperation, norm enforcement, and sharing – among low-income rice farmers in rural Thailand, who cultivate and harvest rice once a year. We use a between-subjects design – randomly assigning participants to experiments either before harvest (more financially constrained) or after harvest. Farmers interacted with either in-group or out-group partners at village level. We find that in-group bias in cooperation and norm enforcement exist only after harvest, that is, when people are less financially constrained.
    Keywords: cooperation, financial constraints, in-group bias, lab-in-the-field experiment, norm enforcement
    JEL: C93 D64 D91
    Date: 2020–01
  9. By: Anastasia Shesterinina (Department of Politics, University of Sheffield. Elmfield Building, Northumberland Road, Sheffield S10 2TU, UK)
    Abstract: Studies of cohesion focus on pre-war networks of insurgency organizers and war-time socialization processes, but do not account for cohesion in civil wars involving spontaneous mobilization, where leaders lack sufficient integration in communities for mobilization and socialization of fighters. This paper shifts attention from insurgency organizers to fighters and disaggregates the concept into horizontal cohesion, or the risks taken by fighters for one another, and vertical cohesion linking fighters to local and central commanders, or the risks taken as part of the unit. While quotidian and local ties bond fighters to one another and local commanders in the small group context, units might fight to protect their own members rather than contribute to the broader struggle. This commitment to the insurgency depends on how fighters understand the benefits of victory and costs of loss in the war. The argument is supported by fieldwork-based analysis of the Georgian-Abkhaz war of 1992-1993 and has implications for cases of spontaneous mobilization characterizing the post-Soviet space and, more recently, the Arab Uprisings. It suggests that most mobilization takes place in a social setting, but insurgent organizations are not the only setting for collective decisions to join the fighting and develop cohesion among fighter groups.
    Keywords: Civil war; cohesion; mobilization; social ties JEL Classification:
    Date: 2019–08
  10. By: Drouvelis, Michalis (University of Birmingham); Malaeb, Bilal (London School of Economics); Vlassopoulos, Michael (University of Southampton); Wahba, Jackline (University of Southampton)
    Abstract: Lebanon is the country with the highest density of refugees in the world, raising the question of whether the host and refugee populations can cooperate harmoniously. We conduct a lab-in-the-field experiment in Lebanon studying intra- and inter-group behavior of Syrian refugees and Lebanese nationals in a repeated public good game without and with punishment. We find that homogeneous groups, on average, contribute and punish significantly more than mixed groups. These patterns are driven by the Lebanese participants. Our findings suggest that it is equally important to provide adequate help to the host communities to alleviate any economic and social pressures.
    Keywords: refugees, public good game, cooperation, punishment
    JEL: D91 J5 F22
    Date: 2019–12
  11. By: Shadi Mohagheghi; Jingying Ma; Francesco Bullo
    Abstract: In this work we present a strategic network formation model predicting the emergence of multigroup structures. Individuals decide to form or remove links based on the benefits and costs those connections carry; we focus on bilateral consent for link formation. An exogenous system specifies the frequency of coordination issues arising among the groups. We are interested in structures that arise to resolve coordination issues and, specifically, structures in which groups are linked through bridging, redundant, and co-membership interconnections. We characterize the conditions under which certain structures are stable and study their efficiency as well as the convergence of formation dynamics.
    Date: 2020–01
  12. By: Silviu Pitis; Michael R. Zhang
    Abstract: How should one combine noisy information from diverse sources to make an inference about an objective ground truth? This frequently recurring, normative question lies at the core of statistics, machine learning, policy-making, and everyday life. It has been called "combining forecasts", "meta-analysis", "ensembling", and the "MLE approach to voting", among other names. Past studies typically assume that noisy votes are identically and independently distributed (i.i.d.), but this assumption is often unrealistic. Instead, we assume that votes are independent but not necessarily identically distributed and that our ensembling algorithm has access to certain auxiliary information related to the underlying model governing the noise in each vote. In our present work, we: (1) define our problem and argue that it reflects common and socially relevant real world scenarios, (2) propose a multi-arm bandit noise model and count-based auxiliary information set, (3) derive maximum likelihood aggregation rules for ranked and cardinal votes under our noise model, (4) propose, alternatively, to learn an aggregation rule using an order-invariant neural network, and (5) empirically compare our rules to common voting rules and naive experience-weighted modifications. We find that our rules successfully use auxiliary information to outperform the naive baselines.
    Date: 2020–01
  13. By: Mustapha Ridaoui (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Michel Grabisch (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics); Christophe Labreuche (Thales Research and Technology [Palaiseau] - THALES)
    Abstract: Models in Multicriteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) can be analyzed by means of an importance index and an interaction index for every group of criteria. We consider first discrete models in MCDA, without further restriction, which amounts to considering multichoice games, that is, cooperative games with several levels of participation. We propose and axiomatize two interaction indices for multichoice games: the signed interaction index and the absolute interaction index. In a second part, we consider the continuous case, supposing that the continuous model is obtained from a discrete one by means of the Choquet integral. We show that, as in the case of classical games, the interaction index defined for continuous aggre-gation functions coincides with the (signed) interaction index, up to a normalizing coefficient.
    Keywords: Choquet inte- gral,multicriteria decision analysis,interaction,multichoice game
    Date: 2019
  14. By: Luke Boosey (Department of Economics, Florida State University); Philip Brookins (Department of Economics, University of South Carolina); Dmitry Ryvkin (Department of Economics, Florida State University)
    Abstract: We study contests among groups of individuals where each player endogenously decides whether or not to participate in competition as a member of their group. Within-group aggregation of effort is best-shot, i.e., each group's performance is determined by the highest investment among its members. We consider a generalized all-pay auction setting, in which the group with the highest performance wins the contest with certainty. Players' values for winning are private information at the entry stage, but may be disclosed at the competition stage. We compare three disclosure policies: (i) no disclosure, when the number of entrants remains unknown and their values private; (ii) within-group disclosure, when this information is disclosed within each group but not across groups; and (iii) full disclosure, when the information about entrants is disclosed across groups. For the benchmark case of contests between individuals, we show that information disclosure always leads to a reduction in aggregate investment. However, this is no longer true in group contests: Within-group disclosure unambiguously raises aggregate investment, while the effect of full disclosure is ambiguous.
    Keywords: group contest, best shot, endogenous entry, information disclosure
    JEL: C72 D82
    Date: 2020–02

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