nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2020‒06‒22
eight papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Choosing an Electoral Rule By Bol, Damien; Blais, André; Coulombe, Maxime; Laslier, Jean-François; Pilet, Jean-Benoit
  2. Salience and Accountability: School Infrastructure and Last-Minute Electoral Punishment By Ajzenman, Nicolas; Durante, Ruben
  3. Comparative Politics with Intraparty Candidate Selection By Sahuguet, Nicolas
  4. Constitutions, Federalism, and National Integration By Stephen Ansolabehere; M. Socorro Puy
  5. Housing and voting in Germany: Multi-level evidence for the association between house prices and housing tenure and party outcomes, 1980-2017 By Beckmann, Paul; Fulda, Barbara; Kohl, Sebastian
  6. Policy trusts in public policy in the Slovak Republic By Marcel Lincényi; Jaroslav Čársky
  7. Separatism and Identity: A comparative analysis of the Basque and Catalan cases By Stephen Ansolabehere; M. Socorro Puy
  8. Influence via Ethos: On the Persuasive Power of Reputation in Deliberation Online By Emaad Manzoor; George H. Chen; Dokyun Lee; Michael D. Smith

  1. By: Bol, Damien (Université de Montréal); Blais, André; Coulombe, Maxime; Laslier, Jean-François; Pilet, Jean-Benoit
    Abstract: Citizens are increasingly involved in the design of democratic institutions, for instance via referendums. If they support the institution that best serves their self-interest, the outcome inevitably advantages the largest group and disadvantages minorities. In this paper, we challenge this pessimistic view with an original lab experiment in France and Great Britain. In the first phase, experimental subjects experience elections under plurality and approval voting. In the second phase, they decide which rule they want to use for extra elections. The treatment is whether they do or do not have information to determine where their self-interest lies before deciding. We find that self-interest shapes people’s decisions, but so do intrinsic egalitarian values that subjects have outside of the lab. The implications are: (1) people have consistent ‘value-driven preferences’ for electoral rules, and (2) putting them in a situation of uncertainty leads to an outcome that reflects these values.
    Date: 2020–06–05
  2. By: Ajzenman, Nicolas; Durante, Ruben
    Abstract: Can seemingly unimportant factors influence voting decisions by making certain issues salient? We study this question in the context of Argentina's 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: Education; Elections; Electoral Punishment; Public Infrastructure; Salience
    JEL: D72 D83 D90 I25
    Date: 2020–05
  3. By: Sahuguet, Nicolas
    Abstract: We develop a two-stage model in which parties select candidates before the election. Elections are under first-past-the-post (FPTP) or closed-list proportional representation (PR). Selection is competitive or non-competitive. With non-competitive selection, candidate effort is higher under FPTP. With competitive selection, effort is higher under PR. Under PR, competition motivates candidates to exert effort to be selected (as under FPTP) and to be ranked higher on the list. Empirical studies comparing electoral rules should consider how parties organize, to avoid omitted variable bias. The results also suggest that electoral rules influence how parties organize.
    Keywords: Candidate selection; Comparative politics; Contests; Electoral rule; Party Lists. proportional representation; party organization
    JEL: C72 D72
    Date: 2020–05
  4. By: Stephen Ansolabehere (Department of Government, Harvard University); M. Socorro Puy (Departamento de Teoría e Historia Económica, University of Málaga)
    Abstract: A constitution defines a vertical and horizontal division of power. The vertical division is the power that regions transfer to the national government; the horizontal division is the relative power of each region in the national legislature. We explore what combinations of vertical and horizontal division of power arise when forming a nation or a union, and which combinations reduce the risk of dissolution. We present a new model of political bargaining among heterogeneous regions that design a common constitution. We show that scale economies translate into higher centralized systems, whereas cultural and political heterogeneity translate into more decentralized federal systems. Interestingly, the constitutions that minimize the risk of secession compensate with proportionally more power in the national legislature those regions that have less to gain economically from national integration. Such division of power contrast with other widely used that assign equal power to each region or power in proportion to population size. Our results suggest that compensations in the constitutional process need not be accomplished through direct transfers; it can be accomplished through the legislative process.
    Keywords: Nation formation; Federalism; Decentralization; Secession; Power division
    JEL: D70 H10 H70
    Date: 2020–06
  5. By: Beckmann, Paul; Fulda, Barbara; Kohl, Sebastian
    Abstract: Traditional predictors of election outcomes in Germany are increasingly losing their explanatory power. Rather than new cultural divides, this paper introduces the idea of housing cleavages, i.e., homeownership versus tenancy and high-price versus low-price areas, drawing on macro data for electoral districts and urban neighborhoods from the last three elections (2009-2017) in combination with Immoscout24 ad price data and microdata from the ALLBUS survey (1980-2016). Although, due to its low homeownership rate and conservative house price development, Germany represents a least-likely case for housing to be of importance, we find housing effects beyond traditional predictors. Generally, we find that high house prices, house price increases, and homeownership are positively associated with voting for center-right parties and voter turnout, while social tenancy is associated with votes for the left, but these effects weaken over time due to embourgeoisement effects. Beyond this expected left-right distinction between tenants and wealthier homeowners, we also find outliers along two other dimensions. First, there are center-periphery effects that housing can better capture than simple geographical divisions; second, house prices contain a populist dimension, for example when skyrocketing rents increase votes for the urban left or regions where house prices lag behind benefit the AfD. The paper argues against the more causal self-interest and socialization theories of the influence of housing on voting and instead suggests considering housing as an important socioeconomic proxy to explain political outcomes.
    Keywords: ALLBUS,Germany,homeownership,voter turnout,voting,Deutschland,Wahlbeteiligung,Wählen,Wohneigentum
    Date: 2020
  6. By: Marcel Lincényi (Alexander Dubček University of Trenčín); Jaroslav Čársky (Alexander Dubček University of Trenčín)
    Abstract: The research study offers an analysis of public opinion of citizens of the Slovak Republic focused on trust in politics and politicians, while the authors try to look for possibilities of increasing the political participation of Slovaks. Among other things, the analysis of public opinion showed that citizens of the Slovak Republic are not active in political participation. Most of the polled Slovaks do not try to influence politics other than by participating in elections, with only a third of those polled actively participating in the elections. Demanded citizens are not satisfied with the current state of the political scene in Slovakia, as well as with the current investigation of political cases. Research has also shown that Slovaks would be willing to participate in elections on a regular basis in cases where ordinary people care about politicians or if politicians are honest and reliable people who deliver on promises, (such as no-policy politics.
    Keywords: Slovak Republic,politics,public opinion,political culture,active participation,trust
    Date: 2020–03–30
  7. By: Stephen Ansolabehere (Department of Government, Harvard University); M. Socorro Puy (Departamento de Teoría e Historia Económica, University of Málaga)
    Abstract: Regionally-based nationalist parties are a normal part of political processes but at times, the separatist goal surfaces in an overt effort to secede. We study what issues are activated in voters' preferences when responding to separatist efforts. We examine this question through a careful, analytical comparison of the Catalan and Basque regions of Spain during the period 1998-2016. We exploit the fact that these two regions are comparable in their histories and political systems, yet the Basques pushed to leave Spain in the early 2000s and the Catalans pursued independence about fiteen years later. We find that secessionist efforts by regionally-based parties have been reflected as a rise in language-based identity politics. In this regard, we find strong evidence supporting that secession and separatism is rooted in identity politics, rather than economic discontent or political ideologies.
    Keywords: Identity; spatial voting; secession; language politics
    Date: 2020–06
  8. By: Emaad Manzoor; George H. Chen; Dokyun Lee; Michael D. Smith
    Abstract: Deliberation among individuals online plays a key role in shaping the opinions that drive votes, purchases, donations and other critical offline behavior. Yet, the determinants of opinion-change via persuasion in deliberation online remain largely unexplored. Our research examines the persuasive power of $\textit{ethos}$ -- an individual's "reputation" -- using a 7-year panel of over a million debates from an argumentation platform containing explicit indicators of successful persuasion. We identify the causal effect of reputation on persuasion by constructing an instrument for reputation from a measure of past debate competition, and by controlling for unstructured argument text using neural models of language in the double machine-learning framework. We find that an individual's reputation significantly impacts their persuasion rate above and beyond the validity, strength and presentation of their arguments. In our setting, we find that having 10 additional reputation points causes a 31% increase in the probability of successful persuasion over the platform average. We also find that the impact of reputation is moderated by characteristics of the argument content, in a manner consistent with a theoretical model that attributes the persuasive power of reputation to heuristic information-processing under cognitive overload. We discuss managerial implications for platforms that facilitate deliberative decision-making for public and private organizations online.
    Date: 2020–06

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