nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2020‒03‒02
eleven papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Salience and Accountability: School Infrastructure and Last-Minute Electoral Punishment By Nicolás Ajzenman; Ruben Durante
  2. The Geography of Dictatorship and Support for Democracy By MariÌ a AngeÌ lica Bautista; Felipe GonzaÌ lez; Luis R. MartiÌ nez; Pablo Muñoz; Mounu Prem
  3. Minority Protection in Voting Mechanisms - Experimental Evidence By Dirk Engelmann; Hans Peter Gruener; Timo Hoffmann; Alex Possajennikov
  4. Terrorist Attacks, Cultural Incidents and the Vote for Radical Parties: Analyzing Text from Twitter By Francesco Giavazzi; Felix Iglhaut; Giacomo Lemoli; Gaia Rubera
  5. Cohesive Institutions and Political Violence By Thiemo Fetzer; Stephan Kyburz
  6. Social Groups and the Effectiveness of Protests By Marco Battaglini; Rebecca B. Morton; Eleonora Patacchini
  7. Embroidering resistance : Daily struggles of women affected by the Baixo Iguaçu Hydropower Dam in Paraná, South Brazil By Rusansky, T.
  8. Killing Social Leaders for Territorial Control: The Unintended Consequences of Peace By Mounu Prem; AndreÌ s F. Rivera; Dario A. Romero; Juan F. Vargas
  9. A Dynamic Theory of Secession By Joan Esteban; Sabine Flamand; Massimo Morelli; Dominic Rohner
  10. Cooperation in a Fragmented Society: Experimental Evidence on Syrian Refugees and Natives in Lebanon By Michalis Drouvelis; Bilal Malaeb; Michael Vlassopoulos; Jackline Wahba
  11. Gender, information and the efficiency of households' productive decisions: An experiment in rural Togo By Marie Apedo-Amah; Habiba Djebbari; Roberta Ziparo

  1. By: Nicolás Ajzenman; Ruben Durante
    Abstract: Can seemingly unimportant factors influence voting decisions by making certain issues salient? We study this question in the context of Argentina 2015 presidential elections by examining how the quality of the infrastructure of the school where citizens were assigned to vote influenced their voting choice. Exploiting the quasi-random assignment of voters to ballot stations located in different public schools in the city of Buenos Aires, we find that individuals assigned to schools with poorer infrastructure were significantly less likely to vote for Mauricio Macri, the incumbent mayor then running for president. The effect is larger in low-income areas - where fewer people can afford private substitutes to public education - and in places where more households have children in school age. The effect is unlikely to be driven by information scarcity, since information on public school infrastructure was readily available to parents before elections. Rather, direct exposure to poor school infrastructure at the time of voting is likely to make public education - and the poor performance of the incumbent – more salient.
    Keywords: Elections, Salience, Electoral Punishment, Public Infrastructure, Education.
    JEL: D72 D83 I25 D90
    Date: 2020–02–20
  2. By: MariÌ a AngeÌ lica Bautista (University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy); Felipe GonzaÌ lez (Pontificia Universidad CatoÌ lica de Chile, Instituto de EconomiÌ a); Luis R. MartiÌ nez (University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy); Pablo Muñoz (University of California Berkeley, Department of Economics); Mounu Prem (Universidad del Rosario, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: We study whether exposure to the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in Chile (1973-1990) affected political attitudes and behavior, exploiting the plausibly exogenous location of military bases shortly before the coup that brought Pinochet to power. We show that residents of counties housing military bases both registered to vote and voted “No†to Pinochet’s continuation in power at higher rates in the crucial 1988 plebiscite that bolstered the democratic transition. Counties with military bases also experienced substantially more civilian deaths during the dictatorship, suggesting that increased exposure to repression is an important mechanism driving the larger rates of political participation and regime opposition. Evidence from survey responses and elections after democratization shows that military presence led to long-lasting support for democracy without changing political ideologies or electoral outcomes.
    Keywords: dictatorship, repression, democratization, human rights JEL Classification: D72, N46
    Date: 2019–03
  3. By: Dirk Engelmann (Humboldt University Berlin); Hans Peter Gruener (University of Mannheim); Timo Hoffmann (University Erlangen-Nuremberg); Alex Possajennikov (University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: Under simple majority voting an absolute majority of voters may choose policies that are harmful to minorities. It is the purpose of sub- and super-majority rules to protect legitimate minority interests. We study how voting rules are chosen under the veil of ignorance. In our experiment, individuals choose voting rules for given distributions of gains and losses that can arise from a policy, but before learning their own valuation of the policy. We find that subjects on average adjust the voting rule in line with the skewness of the distribution. As a result, a higher share of the achievable surplus can be extracted with the suggested rules than with exogenously given simple majority voting. The rule choices, however, imperfectly reflect the distributions of benefits and costs, in expectation leading to only 63% of the surplus being extracted. Both under-protection and over-protection of minorities contribute to the loss. Voting insincerely leads to a further surplus loss of 5-15%. We classify subjects according to their rule choices and show that most subjects’ rule choices follow the incentives embedded in the distributions. For a few participants, however, this is not the case, which leads to a large part of the surplus loss.
    Keywords: Voting, Experiment
    Date: 2020–02
  4. By: Francesco Giavazzi; Felix Iglhaut; Giacomo Lemoli; Gaia Rubera
    Abstract: We study the role of perceived threats from cultural diversity induced by terrorist attacks and a salient criminal event on public discourse and voters’ support for far-right parties. We first develop a rule which allocates Twitter users in Germany to electoral districts and then use a machine learning method to compute measures of textual similarity between the tweets they produce and tweets by accounts of the main German parties. Using the dates of the aforementioned exogenous events we estimate constituency-level shifts in similarity to party language. We find that following these events Twitter text becomes on average more similar to that of the main far-right party, AfD, while the opposite happens for some of the other parties. Regressing estimated shifts in similarity on changes in vote shares between federal elections we find a significant association. Our results point to the role of perceived threats on the success of nationalist parties.
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Thiemo Fetzer (University of Warwick); Stephan Kyburz (Center for Global Development)
    Abstract: Can institutionalized transfers of resource rents be a source of civil conflict? Are cohesive institutions better in managing distributive conflicts? We study these questions exploiting exogenous variation in revenue disbursements to local governments together with new data on local democratic institutions in Nigeria. We make three contributions. First, we document the existence of a strong link between rents and conflict far away from the location of the actual resource. Second, we show that distributive conflict is highly organized involving political militias and concentrated in the extent to which local governments are non-cohesive. Third, we show that democratic practice in form having elected local governments significantly weakens the causal link between rents and political violence. We document that elections (vis-a-vis appointments), by producing more cohesive institutions, vastly limit the extent to which distributional conflict between groups breaks out following shocks to the available rents. Throughout, we confirm these findings using individual level survey data.
    Keywords: conflict, ethnicity, natural resources, political economy, commodity prices JEL Classification: Q33, O13, N52, R11, L71
    Date: 2018–06
  6. By: Marco Battaglini; Rebecca B. Morton; Eleonora Patacchini
    Abstract: We present an informational theory of public protests, according to which public protests allow citizens to aggregate privately dispersed information and signal it to the policy maker. The model predicts that information sharing of signals within social groups can facilitate information aggregation when the social groups are sufficiently large even when it is not predicted with individual signals. We use experiments in the laboratory and on Amazon Mechanical Turk to test these predictions. We find that information sharing in social groups significantly affects citizens' protest decisions and as a consequence mitigates the effects of high conflict, leading to greater efficiency in policy makers' choices. Our experiments highlight that social media can play an important role in protests beyond simply a way in which citizens can coordinate their actions; and indeed that the information aggregation and the coordination motives behind public protests are intimately connected and cannot be conceptually separated.
    JEL: D72 D78
    Date: 2020–02
  7. By: Rusansky, T.
    Abstract: Based on a research journey in collaboration with a Brazilian social movement, the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), this Research Paper explores the experiences of resistance of women whose lives were flooded by the Baixo Iguaçu Hydropower Dam in Paraná, South Brazil. Dominant development narratives promote hydropower dams as a sustainable source of energy in Brazil, while silencing the voices of those inhabiting the affected lands, and underestimating the social and ecological destruction that large dam projects provoke. Drawing from feminist political ecology, decolonial theory and Latin American political ecology, this research examines how women in Baixo Iguaçu who were affected by the construction of a dam on their rural lands embroider their embodied, emotional and daily resistance. Guided by ‘arpilleras’ – embroideries that women organized in the MAB create to narrate their silenced stories – and drawing from conversations and in-depth interviews, this research brings their voices to the centre. Collectively, women in the MAB apply the language of arpilleras to a popular education feminist methodology, transforming sewing into politics. In Baixo Iguaçu, women affected by the dam struggle daily against displacement, the flooding of their territories, the destruction of their communities and care networks, the violent stigmatization of their political engagement, and their exclusion from spaces of negotiation and decision-making, among others. I suggest that arpilleras are an alternative language through which women express their knowledges, emotions and experiences otherwise. Arpilleras grow into a political strategy that uses art: a strategy for widening women’s political participation, for creating collective identity, and for building counter-hegemonic narratives. These narratives rise up to challenge the dominant energy development model that transforms women’s rivers and bodies into commodities.
    Keywords: dams, women, MAB, Baixo Iguaçu, Brazil, resistance, arpilleras, embroidery, hydropower development
    Date: 2020–02–21
  8. By: Mounu Prem (School of Economics, Universidad del Rosario. Calle 12C No. 4-69, Bogota); AndreÌ s F. Rivera (School of Economics, Universidad del Rosario. Calle 12C No. 4-69, Bogota); Dario A. Romero (Department of Economics, Columbia University. 1022 International Affairs Building, 420 West 118th Street, New York, NY 10027); Juan F. Vargas (School of Economics, Universidad del Rosario. Calle 12C No. 4-69, Bogota)
    Abstract: Incomplete peace agreements may inadvertently increase insecurity if they trigger violent territorial contestation. We study the unintended consequences of the Colombian peace process and find that the permanent ceasefire declared by the FARC insurgency during peace negotiations with the government triggered a surge in the targeting of local community leaders. Leaders were killed by armed groups excluded from the peace process to thwart collective action and civilian mobilization, thus consolidating their dominance in formerly FARC-controlled areas. These results are exacerbated in places with judicial inefficiency and where peasants dispossessed during the conflict have started administrative process to reclaim their land.
    Keywords: Social leaders, Peace process, Armed conflict, Territorial control JEL Classification: D72, D74
    Date: 2019–01
  9. By: Joan Esteban (Institut d'AnaÌ€lisi EconoÌ mica, CSIC and BGSE); Sabine Flamand (Universitat Rovira i Virgili and CREIP); Massimo Morelli (Bocconi University, CEPR, IGIER and Dondena); Dominic Rohner (University of Lausanne and CEPR)
    Abstract: This paper builds a dynamic theory of secessions, conflictual or peaceful, analyzing the forward looking interaction between groups in a country. The proposed framework allows us to jointly address several key stylized facts on secession, and generates several novel predictions. We find that if a group out of power is small enough, then the group in power can always maintain peace with an acceptable offer of surplus sharing for every period, while when there is a mismatch between the relative size and the relative surplus contribution of the minority group, conflict followed by secession can occur. Accepted peaceful secession is predicted for large groups of similar prosperity, and higher patience is associated to a higher chance of secession. We formulate as a result a number of policy recommendations on various dimensions of federalism and other institutions.
    Keywords: Secessions, Conflict, Surplus Sharing, Mismatch JEL Classification: C7, D74
    Date: 2018–09
  10. By: Michalis Drouvelis; Bilal Malaeb; Michael Vlassopoulos; Jackline Wahba
    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 J50 F22
    Date: 2019
  11. By: Marie Apedo-Amah (Stanford University [Stanford]); Habiba Djebbari (AMSE - Aix-Marseille Sciences Economiques - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - École Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Roberta Ziparo (AMSE - Aix-Marseille Sciences Economiques - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - École Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: We explore how the capacity of farm households to reach efficiency and share information on production is related to their consumption decision-making process. West African farm households often cultivate several plots, and there is extensive evidence of allocative inefficiencies (Udry, 1996). We design an experiment with Togolese cotton producers, contextualized as an input allocation game, and build a model based on its findings. We further test the model's predictions using our lab-in-the-field data. The cotton producers are found to allocate too few inputs to their wife's plot, failing to maximize household aggregate profits. They do transfer more inputs to their wife's plot when the returns from that plot are increased. Yet, when we experimentally manipulate information on these returns, informational frictions on average do not impact decisions. We attribute these experimental findings to the role that conflict in consumption plays in creating production inefficiencies. The model predicts that both efficiency loss and responses to asymmetric information are heterogenous. Moreover, we show that spouses are unable to communicate on the returns effectively and cannot avoid extra losses, though the damaging effects of private information vanish if information is verifiable ex post. We present evidence consistent with these predictions.
    Keywords: farm households,household production and intra-household allocation,non-cooperative game theory,asymmetric and private information,lab-in-the-field experiment
    Date: 2019–07–09

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