nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2020‒08‒17
twenty-two papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Strategic Interdependence in Political Movements and Countermovements By Hager, Anselm; Hensel, Lukas; Hermle, Johannes; Roth, Christopher
  2. Primaries, Strategic Voters and Heterogeneous Valences By Diego Carrasco Novoa; Shino Takayamaz; Yuki Tamura; Terence Yeo
  3. Electoral Administration in Fledgling Democracies:Experimental Evidence from Kenya By J. Andrew Harris; Catherine Kamindo; Peter van der Windt
  4. A Clustering Approach for Characterizing Voter Types: An Application to High-Dimensional Ballot and Survey Data By Kuriwaki, Shiro
  5. Synchronized Elections,Voter Behavior and Governance Outcomes : Evidence from India By Balasubramaniam, Vimal; Bhatiya, Apurav Yash; Das, Sabyasachi
  6. Media, Secret Ballot and Democratization in the US By Leopoldo Fergusson; Juan Felipe Riaño; B.K. Song
  7. Do Interactions with Candidates Increase Voter Support and Participation? Experimental Evidence from Italy By Enrico Cantoni; Vincent Pons
  8. Elite Political Cues and Attitude Formation in Post-Conflict Contexts By Natalia Garbiras-Díaz; Miguel García-Sánchez; Aila Matanock
  9. Brexit: Dynamic Voting with an Irreversible Option By Moldovanu, Benny; Rosar, Frank
  10. Counting on My Vote Not Counting: Expressive Voting in Committees By Boris Ginzburg; José-Alberto Guerra; Warn N. Lekfuangfu
  11. Integration and Diversity By Sanjeev Goyal; Penelope Hernandez; Guillem Martinez-Canovas; Frederic Moisan; Manuel Munoz-Herrera; Angel Sanchez
  12. What Do Voters Learn from Foreign News? Emulation, Backlash, and Public Support for Trade Agreements By Chun-Fang Chiang; Jason M. Kuo; Megumi Naoi; Jin-Tan Liu
  13. The Determinants of Multilateral Bargaining: A Comprehensive Analysis of Baron and Ferejohn Majoritarian Bargaining Experiments By Andrzej Baranski; Rebecca Morton
  14. The Institutional Foundations of Religious Politics: Evidence from Indonesia By Samuel Bazzi; Gabriel Koehler-Derrick; Benjamin Marx
  15. Large Scale Experiments on Networks: A New Platform with Applications By Choi, S.; Goyal, G.; Moisan, F.
  16. An Economic Analysis of Political Meritocracy By Chu, Angus C.; Kou, Zonglai; Wang, Xilin
  17. Priests and Postmen : Historical Origins of National Identity By Rei, Clauda
  18. Two ethnic security dilemmas and their economic origin By Khemraj, Tarron
  19. Against All Odds: Tentative Steps Toward Efficient Information Sharing in Groups By Schlangenotto, Darius; Schnedler, Wendelin; Vadovic, Radovan
  20. Stop invasion! The electoral tipping point in anti-immigrant voting By Massimo Bordignon; Matteo Gamalerio; Edoardo Slerca; Gilberto Turati
  21. A Theory of Power Wars By Helios Herrera; Massimo Morelli; Salvatore Nunnari
  22. A Leadership Curse? Oil Price Shocks and the Selection of National Leaders By Kodjovi M. Eklou

  1. By: Hager, Anselm (University of Konstanz); Hensel, Lukas (University of Oxford); Hermle, Johannes (University of California, Berkeley); Roth, Christopher (University of Warwick, briq, CESifo, CAGE Warwick, CEPR)
    Abstract: Collective action is the result of the efforts of groups consisting of many individuals. This gives rise to strategic interactions : the decision of an individual to participate in collective action may depend on the efforts of both like-minded and opposing activists. This paper causally studies such strategic interactions in the context of left- and right-wing protests in Germany. In an experiment, we investigated whether randomly varied information on turnout of both like-minded and opposing movements impacts activists’ willingness to protest. In response to information about high turnout of their own group, left-wing activists increased their willingness to protest, consistent with theories of conditional cooperation. In contrast, right-wing activists decreased their willingness to protest, consistent with instrumental accounts and free-riding motives. For both groups, there was no significant reaction to information about turnout of the opposing movement. The results highlight substantial heterogeneity in strategic interactions and motives across the political spectrum
    Keywords: Political rallies ; field experiment ; strategic behavior ; beliefs
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Diego Carrasco Novoa (School of Economics, University of Queensland); Shino Takayamaz (School of Economics, University of Queensland); Yuki Tamura (Department of Economics, University of Rochester); Terence Yeo (School of Economics, University of Queensland)
    Abstract: We propose a two-party model of policy promises and valence for office-seeking candidates under a two-stage electoral process with strategic voters. In each party, there are two candidates, where one of these candidates—called the party’s advantaged candidate—has higher valence than the other. There are two equilibrium regimes. Which equilibrium arises depends on whether an advantaged candidate in one party can win both stages of the election with certainty. We provide the conditions for the existence of each regime and conduct comparative statics. In particular, we show that when an advantaged candidate’s valence increases, the distance between the policy promises made by the two advantaged candidates decreases and when public opinion becomes more diverse, the advantaged candidates shift their policy promises toward their own parties’ bliss points. Finally, we study the case where only one party holds a primary as well as the situation in which candidates strategically choose to enter a primary. Our model is robust under various extensions, and particularly useful for conducting comparative statics and providing testable predictions for electoral outcomes as public opinion changes.
    Keywords: cprimary election, median voter, uncertainty, valence.
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2020–07–12
  3. By: J. Andrew Harris; Catherine Kamindo; Peter van der Windt (Division of Social Science)
    Abstract: We examine the effects of national voter registration policies on voting patterns with a large-scale experimental study. Together with Kenya’s electoral commission, we designed an experiment in which 1,674 communities were randomized to a status quo or treatment group, receiving civic education on voter registration, SMS reminders about registration opportunities, and/or local registration visits by election commission staff. We find little evidence that civic education improves registration. Local registration visits improve voter registration, a relationship that increases in poorer communities. Moreover, local registration increased electoral competition and vote preference diversity in down-ballot contests in the 2017 Kenyan elections. Our results suggest that status quo voter registration policies constrain political participation and competition, and that inexpensive policy changes may attenuate the effects of such constraints.
    Date: 2020–01
  4. By: Kuriwaki, Shiro (Harvard University)
    Abstract: Large-scale ballot and survey data hold the potential to uncover the prevalence of swing voters and strong partisans in the electorate. However, existing approaches either employ exploratory analyses that fail to fully leverage the information available in high-dimensional data, or impose a one-dimensional spatial voting model. I derive a clustering algorithm which better captures the probabilistic way in which theories of political behavior conceptualize the swing voter. Building from the canonical finite mixture model, I tailor the model to vote data, for example by allowing uncontested races. I apply this algorithm to actual ballots in the Florida 2000 election and a multi-state survey in 2018. In Palm Beach County, I find that up to 60 percent of voters were straight ticket voters; in the 2018 survey, even higher. The remaining groups of the electorate were likely to cross the party line and split their ticket, but not monolithically: swing voters were more likely to swing for state and local candidates and popular incumbents.
    Date: 2020–06–23
  5. By: Balasubramaniam, Vimal (Queen Mary, University of London, CEPR, UK and CAGE, University of Warwick); Bhatiya, Apurav Yash (University of Warwick); Das, Sabyasachi (Ashoka University)
    Abstract: We examine whether holding national and state elections simultaneously or sequentially affects voter decisions and consequently, electoral and economic outcomes in India. Synchronized elections increase the likelihood of the same political party winning constituencies in both tiers by 21%. It reduces split-ticket voting, increases the salience of party among voters and shifts voters’ priority to state issues, without significantly affecting turnout and winning margin. A model of behaviorally constrained voters with costly information acquisition best explains our results. Finally, synchronization results in insignificant economic gains. Our findings have implications for the design of elections to multiple tiers of government.
    Date: 2020
  6. By: Leopoldo Fergusson; Juan Felipe Riaño; B.K. Song
    Abstract: Can the media determine the success or failure of institutional reforms? We study the adoption of secret voting in the US and the role of media in this arguably crucial step to improve democracy. Using a difference-in-difference identification strategy and a rich dataset on local newspapers, we find that in areas with high levels of media penetration democratization outcomes improved following the adoption of the secret ballot. Specifically, the press contributed to the decrease in partisan attachment and support for dominant parties. The press also undermined the manipulation of electoral boundaries and the unintentional decline in turnout incentivized with the introduction of the secret ballot. We consider multiple concerns about our identification strategy and address the potential endogeneity of newspapers using an instrumental variable approach that exploits the introduction of wood-pulp paper technology in 1880 combined with counties’ woodland coverage during the same period. Exploring the heterogeneous effects of our results, we argue that the media mattered through the distribution of information to voters and the increase of public awareness about political misconduct.
    Keywords: Media, Secret Ballot, Democratization, Electoral Reforms, Gerrymandering
    JEL: D72 D73 D80 L82
    Date: 2020–07–08
  7. By: Enrico Cantoni; Vincent Pons
    Abstract: We test whether politicians can use direct contact to reconnect with citizens, increase turnout, and win votes. During the 2014 Italian municipal elections, we randomly assigned 26,000 voters to receive visits from city council candidates, canvassers supporting the candidates' list, or to a control group. While canvassers’ visits increased turnout by 1.8 percentage points, candidates’ had no impact on participation. Candidates increased their own vote share in the precincts they canvassed, but only at the expense of other candidates on the list. This suggests that their failure to mobilize nonvoters resulted from focusing on securing the preferences of active voters.
    JEL: C93 D72
    Date: 2020–06
  8. By: Natalia Garbiras-Díaz (University of California, Berkeley); Miguel García-Sánchez (Universidad de los Andes); Aila Matanock (University of California, Berkeley)
    Abstract: Citizens are often asked to evaluate peace agreements seeking to end civil conflicts, by voting on referendums or the negotiating leaders or, even when not voting, deciding whether to cooperate with the implementation of policies like combatant reintegration. In this paper, we assess how citizens form attitudes towards the provisions in peace agreements. These contexts tend to have high polarization, and citizens are asked to weigh in on complex policies, so we theorize that citizens will use cues from political elites with whom they have affinity, and, without these cues, information will have less effect. We assess our theory using survey experiments in Colombia. We find citizens rely on political elites’ cues to form their opinion on a peace agreement’s provisions, with the direction depending on the citizen’s affinity with the political elites. Additional information about these policies has little effect. The paper suggests that even these high stakes decisions can be seen as political decisions as usual.
    Keywords: Colombia; Crime; Policing; Politics; Public Opinion; Violence; peace agreements; attitudes; elite cues; FARC
    JEL: D74 D91 F51 O54
    Date: 2020–07
  9. By: Moldovanu, Benny; Rosar, Frank
    Abstract: We analyze Brexit-like decisions in a polarized society. An electorate decides repeatedly be-tween a reversible alternative (REMAIN) and an irreversible alternative (LEAVE). We compare strengths and weaknesses of several mechanisms that can be used in reality. Voting by super-majority dominates voting by simple majority. Decisions by simple majority and by a too small super majority can perform very poorly under circumstances where it is socially optimal to never LEAVE, as they can exhibit equilibria where LEAVE is chosen very quickly. Mechanisms where LEAVE requires (super)majorities in two consecutive periods avoid this problem without relying on fine-tuning, but can lead to inefficient delays. If a final decision for either alternative requires winning by a certain margin, and if a new vote is triggered otherwise, both problems, choosing LEAVE too easily and inefficient delays, can often be avoided.
    Keywords: Dynamic voting; Irreversible option; Option value; Supermajority rules
    JEL: C72 D72 D82
    Date: 2019–11
  10. By: Boris Ginzburg; José-Alberto Guerra; Warn N. Lekfuangfu
    Abstract: A committee chooses whether to approve a proposal that some members may consider ethical. Members who vote for the proposal receive expressive utility, and all pay a cost if the proposal is accepted. Committee members have different depths of reasoning. The model predicts that features that reduce the probability of being pivotal - namely, larger committee size, or a more restrictive voting rule - raise the share of votes for the proposal. A laboratory experiment with a charitable donation framing supports these results. Our structural estimation recovers the distributions of altruistic and expressive preferences, and of depth of reasoning, across individuals.
    Keywords: expressive voting, committees, pivotality, laboratory experiment, level-k, structural estimation
    JEL: C57 C72 C92 D71 D91
    Date: 2020–07–13
  11. By: Sanjeev Goyal; Penelope Hernandez; Guillem Martinez-Canovas; Frederic Moisan; Manuel Munoz-Herrera; Angel Sanchez (Division of Social Science)
    Abstract: We study a setting where individuals prefer to coordinate with others but they di er on their preferred action. Our interest is understanding the role of linking in shaping behavior. So we consider the situation in which interactions are exogenous and a situation where individuals choose links that determine the interactions. Theory is permissive in both settings: conformism (on either of the actions) and diversity (with di erent groups choosing their preferred actions) are both sustainable in equilibrium. Our experiments reveal that, in an exogenous complete network, subjects choose to conform to the majority's preferred action. By contrast, when linking is free and endogenous, subjects form dense networks (biased in favour of linking within same preferences type) but choose diverse actions. The convergence to diverse actions is faster under endogenous linking as compared to the convergence to conformity on the majority's preferred action under the exogenous complete network. Thus, our experiment suggests that individuals use links selectively to swiftly solve the coordination problem.
    Date: 2019–03
  12. By: Chun-Fang Chiang; Jason M. Kuo; Megumi Naoi; Jin-Tan Liu
    Abstract: The paper demonstrates voter-based mechanisms underlying policy emulation across countries. We argue that exposure to news about foreign government policies and their effect can change policy preferences of citizens through emulation and backlash against it. These heterogeneous responses arise due to citizens’ divergent predispositions about a foreign country being their peer. We test this argument with coordinated survey experiments in Japan and Taiwan, which randomly assigned news reporting on the South Korea-China trade agreement and solicited support for their government signing an agreement with China. The results suggest that exposure to the news decreases opposition to a trade agreement with China by 6 percentage points in Taiwan (“emulation”) and increases opposition around 8 percentage points in Japan (“backlash”). The results further suggest respondents’ predispositions about peer countries account for the heterogeneity. Our findings caution the optimism about policy convergence across countries as technology lowers the cost of acquiring information.
    JEL: D7 F13 L82
    Date: 2020–07
  13. By: Andrzej Baranski; Rebecca Morton (Division of Social Science)
    Abstract: We collected and analyzed the data sets of all majoritarian Baron and Ferejohn (1989 Am. Pol. Sci. Rev.) experiments through 2018. By exploiting the variation of experimental parameters such as group size and discount factor we are able to test whether or not the theoretical point predictions and comparative statics hold and find virtually no support for the theory. Novel findings are reported about the e ect of group size and discounting on distribution of the surplus, the proposer's share, agreement delay, and voting behavior. We also report on o -equilibrium behavior (after subjects fail to agree) and identify strong history-dependent behavior in the form of punishment and loyalty to previous proposers.
    Date: 2020–01
  14. By: Samuel Bazzi (Boston University); Gabriel Koehler-Derrick (Harvard University); Benjamin Marx (Département d'économie)
    Abstract: Why do religious politics thrive in some societies but not others? This paper explores the institutional foundations of this process in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim democracy. We show that a major Islamic institution, the waqf, fostered the entrenchment of political Islam at a critical historical juncture. In the early 1960s, rural elites transferred large amounts of land into waqf —a type of inalienable charitable trust—to avoid expropriation by the government as part of a major land reform effort. Although the land reform was later undone, the waqf properties remained. We show that greater intensity of the planned reform led to more prevalent waqf land and Islamic institutions endowed as such, including religious schools, which are strongholds of the Islamist movement. We identify lasting effects of the reform on electoral support for Islamist parties, preferences for religious candidates, and the adoption of Islamic legal regulations (sharia). Overall, the land reform contributed to the resilience and eventual rise of political Islam by helping to spread religious institutions, thereby solidifying the alliance between local elites and Islamist groups. These findings shed new light on how religious institutions may shape politics in modern democracies.
    Keywords: Religion; Institutions; Land reform; Islam; Sharia Law
    JEL: D72 D74 P16 P26 Z12
    Date: 2020–05
  15. By: Choi, S.; Goyal, G.; Moisan, F.
    Abstract: This paper presents a new platform for large scale networks experiments in continuous time. The versatility of the platform is illustrated through three experiments: a game of linking, a linking game with public goods, and a linking game with trading and intermediation. Group size ranges from 8 to 100 subjects. These experiments reveal that subjects create sparse networks that are almost always highly efficient. In some experiments the networks are centralized and unequal, while in others they are dispersed and equal. These network structures are in line with theoretical predictions, suggesting that continuous time asynchronous choice facilitates a good match between experimental outcomes and theory. The size of the group has powerful effects on individual investments in linking and effort, on network structure, and on the nature of payoff inequality. Researchers should therefore exercise caution in drawing inferences about behaviour in large scale networks based on data from small group experiments.
    JEL: C92 D83 D85 Z13
    Date: 2020–07–15
  16. By: Chu, Angus C.; Kou, Zonglai; Wang, Xilin
    Abstract: The political system in China is often referred to as political meritocracy. This study develops a simple model of political economy to explore the strengths and weaknesses of a meritocratic system (in which political meritocrats design economic policies) relative to a democratic system (dominated by the median voter). We find that political meritocrats would choose economic policies that are more conducive to economic activities and lead to higher income but less public goods. Whether the meritocratic or democratic equilibrium achieves a higher level of social welfare depends on the distribution of individuals' abilities. If the ability of the median voter is lower than the mean of the population, then the meritocratic equilibrium may achieve a higher level of social welfare than the democratic equilibrium. In this case, there is a threshold degree of political inclusiveness in the meritocratic system above which political meritocracy dominates democracy in terms of social welfare, and this threshold degree of political inclusiveness is increasing in the ability of the median voter.
    Keywords: political meritocracy; democracy; median voter; utilitarianism
    JEL: D72 P16 P26
    Date: 2020–07
  17. By: Rei, Clauda (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: The rise of the modern state in Western Europe, saw the emergence of national identities in the nineteenth century. This paper evaluates the association between historical religious and state capacity in Portugal proxied by priests and postmen in 1875, and current measures of national identity proxied by voter turnout in democratic elections from 1975 to 2017. I find that places with a stronger historical presence of postmen vote more in any election, but they vote less in local elections relative to national elections. This result suggests a persistent association of historical state presence with national identity. Historical religious presence is also positively associated with voter turnout but in smaller magnitude. There is however no negative association with local elections: in contrast with historical state capacity, historical religious capacity is connected with the local rather than the national unit.
    Date: 2020
  18. By: Khemraj, Tarron
    Abstract: The paper outlines two ethnic security dilemmas (ESDs) that permeate Guyanese economic and political life. At the heart of the ESDs are strategic uncertainty of voters and the joy of destruction (envy) of political leaders. Most voters vote pro-ethnically and leaders of one political party find strategies to undermine the other. The prize is the control of government and associated economic opportunities. This view is supported by a survey of Guyanese historical political and economic contests. The dilemmas occur because the interrelated political strategies of the two ethnic-based parties produce a sub-optimal economic outcome for everyone, although a superior economic outcome (equilibrium) exists but cannot be achieved because the dominant parties find it impossible to coordinate and cooperate within the confines of the present constitutional and electoral frameworks. High strategic uncertainty and low inter-group trust fuel the inherent dilemmas among voters and political leaders. Ideas or metaphors from applied game theory are used to define the ESDs more precisely and suggest possible solutions.
    Keywords: prisoners’ dilemma; stag hunt; inequality; economic underdevelopment
    JEL: O10 O5 O54 Z1
    Date: 2019–04–14
  19. By: Schlangenotto, Darius; Schnedler, Wendelin; Vadovic, Radovan
    Abstract: When groups face difficult problems, the voice of experts may be lost in the noise of others' contributions. We present results from a "naturally noisy" setting, a large first-year undergraduate class, in which the expert's voice is "lost" to such a degree that it is in fact optimal for all non-experts to contribute their bits of information. A single individual has little chance to improve the outcome and coordinating with the whole group is impossible. In this setting, we examine the change in behavior before and after people can talk to their neighbors. We find that the number of people who reduce noise by holding back their information strongly and significantly increases.
    Keywords: information aggregation,coordination,communication,swing voter's curse
    JEL: D71 D72 D81 D82 C99
    Date: 2020
  20. By: Massimo Bordignon (Catholic University, Milan); Matteo Gamalerio (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB); Edoardo Slerca (Universita' della Svizzera Italiana); Gilberto Turati (Catholic University, Rome)
    Abstract: Why do anti-immigrant political parties have more success in areas that host fewer immigrants? Using regression discontinuity design, structural breaks search methods and data from a sample of Italian municipalities, we show that the relationship between the vote shares of anti-immigrant parties and the share of immigrants follows a U-shaped curve, which exhibits a tipping-like behavior around a share of immigrants equal to 3.35 %. We estimate that the vote share of the main Italian anti-immigrant party (Lega Nord) is approximately 6 % points higher for municipalities below the threshold. Using data on local labor market characteristics and on the incomes of natives and immigrants, we provide evidence which points at the competition in the local labor market between natives and immigrants as the more plausible explanation for the electoral success of anti-immigrant parties in areas with low shares of immigrants. Alternative stories find less support in the data.
    Keywords: Migration, extreme-right parties, anti-immigrant parties, populism, tipping point, regression discontinuity design
    JEL: D72 J61 R23
    Date: 2020
  21. By: Helios Herrera; Massimo Morelli; Salvatore Nunnari
    Abstract: We present a theory of war onset and war duration in which power is multidimensional and can evolve through conflict. The resources players can secure withoutfighting are determined by their political power, while the ability of appropriating resources with violence is due to their military power. When deciding whether to wage a war, players evaluate the consequences on the current allocation of resources as well as on the future distribution of military and political power. We deliver three main results: a key driver of war is the mismatch between military and political power; dynamic incentives may amplify static incentives, leading forward-looking players to be more belligerent; and a war is more likely to last for longer if political power is initially more unbalanced than military power and the politically under-represented player is militarily advantaged. Our results are robust to allowing the peaceful allocation of resources to be a function of both political and military power. Finally, we provide empirical correlations on inter-state wars that are consistent with the theory. Keywords: Formal Model; International Relations; Causes of War; Dynamic Game; War Onset; War Duration; Balance of Power; Power Mismatch; Power Shift; Civil Wars; Inter-State Wars
    Date: 2020
  22. By: Kodjovi M. Eklou (International Monetary Fund)
    Abstract: This paper examines the relation between oil price shocks and the selection of educated national leaders. Exploiting a cross-country dataset on national leaders and a Difference-in-Difference approach, I find that positive oil price shocks significantly reduce the probability of selecting educated leaders--a ‘leadership curse’. I show that this phenomenon is driven by ethnically fragmented developing countries. I develop a model where a coalition of ethnic chiefs offers an electoral support to candidates in exchange for future favors. The model shows that positive oil price shocks deter the candidacy of educated citizens by allowing the coalition to tax the expected payoff from office. Hence, elites bargaining may constrain the ability of citizens to induce significant changes through the ballot box. The paper adds to the political aspects of the “resource curse” by showing that resource booms affect the “quality” of politicians before they take office.
    Keywords: Leadership curse, Oil price shocks, Political selection, National leadership.
    JEL: D72 Q33
    Date: 2020–06

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