nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2020‒11‒09
six papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. The Political Economics of Non-democracy By Georgy Egorov; Konstantin Sonin
  2. How Likely Is It that Courts Will Select the US President? The Probability of Narrow, Reversible Election Results in the Electoral College versus a National Popular Vote By Michael Geruso; Dean Spears
  3. How inequality shapes political participation: The role of spatial patterns of political competition. By Francesc Amat; Pablo Beramendi; Miriam Hortas-Rico; Vicente Rios
  4. Leading by example in a public goods experimentwith benefit heterogeneity By Ju, Ying; Kocher, Martin G.
  5. What Do People Say When They become "Future People"? - Positioning Imaginary Future Generations (IFGs) in General Rules for Good Decision Making By HIROMITSU Toshiaki; KITAKAJI Yoko; HARA Keishiro; SAIJO Tatsuyoshi
  6. Populist politics and pandemics: some simple analytics By Murshed, S.M.

  1. By: Georgy Egorov; Konstantin Sonin
    Abstract: We survey recent theoretical and empirical literature on political economics of non-democracies. Dictators face many challenges to their rule: internal, such as palace coups or breakdown of their support coalition, or external, such as mass protests or revolutions. We analyze strategic decisions made by dictators — hiring political loyalists to positions that require competence, restricting media freedom at the cost of sacrificing bureaucratic efficiency, running a propaganda campaign, organizing electoral fraud, purging associates and opponents, and repressing citizens — as driven by the desire to maximize the regime's chances of staying in power. We argue that the key to understanding the functioning and ultimately the fate of a nondemocratic regime is the information flows within the regime, and the institutions that govern these information flows.
    JEL: C73 D72 D74 D82 D83 P16
    Date: 2020–10
  2. By: Michael Geruso; Dean Spears
    Abstract: Extremely narrow election outcomes—such as could be reversed by rejecting a few thousand ballots—are likely to trigger dispute over the results. Narrow vote tallies may generate recounts and litigation; they may be resolved by courts or elections administrators (e.g., Secretaries of State disqualifying ballots) rather than by voters; and they may reduce the peacefulness, perceived legitimacy, or predictability of the transfer of political power. In this paper we evaluate the probability of such disputable US presidential elections under a hypothetical National Popular Vote versus the current Electoral College system. Starting from probabilistic simulations of likely presidential election outcomes that are similar to the output from election forecasting models, we calculate the likelihood of disputable, narrow outcomes under the Electoral College. The probability that the Electoral College is decided by 20,000 ballots or fewer in a single, pivotal state is greater than 1-in-10. Although it is possible in principle for either system to generate more risk of a disputable election outcome, in practice the Electoral College today is about 40 times as likely as a National Popular Vote to generate scenarios in which a small number of ballots in a pivotal voting unit determines the Presidency. This disputed-election risk is asymmetric across political parties. It is about twice as likely that a Democrat's (rather than Republican's) Electoral College victory in a close election could be overturned by a judicial decision affecting less than 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 ballots in a single, pivotal state.
    JEL: H8 J1 J18
    Date: 2020–10
  3. By: Francesc Amat; Pablo Beramendi; Miriam Hortas-Rico; Vicente Rios
    Abstract: This study investigates how economic inequality shapes political participation and to what extent this relationship is moderated by political competition. In the case of Spain, the link between income inequality and turnout is negative, as expected, but rather weak, suggesting that local turnout rates do not depend exclusively on income inequality levels. We develop a theoretical model linking inequality, political competition and turnout. To test the validity of the theoretical model we derive a novel data set of inequality metrics for a sample of municipalities over the four local elections that took place between 2003 and 2015 and specify a spatial dynamic panel data model that allows us to account for serial dependence, unobserved spatial heterogeneity and spatial dependence. Our paper reveals two Spains: one in which high inequality and high levels of political competition yield relatively lower turnout rates, and one in which high levels of inequality and low levels of political competition yield relatively higher turnout rates. In addition, our _ndings suggest that this last result might be driven by a higher budgetary use of policies targeted to low income voters.
    Keywords: Dynamic Spatial Panels, Turnout, Income Inequality, Spanish Municipalities
    JEL: C1 H7
    Date: 2020–10
  4. By: Ju, Ying (University of Munich, Munich, Germany); Kocher, Martin G. (Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, Department of Economics, University of Vienna, Austria, University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
    Abstract: Social dilemmas such as greenhouse gas emission reduction are often characterized by heterogeneity in benefits from solving the dilemma. How should leadership of group members be organized in such a setting? We implement a laboratory public goods experiment with heterogeneous marginal per capita returns from the public good and leading by example that is either implemented exogenously or by self-selection. Our results suggest that both exogenous and selfselected leadership only have a small effect on contributions to the public good. We do not find significant differences in contributions for exogenous and self-selected leadership. Leaders seem to need additional instruments to be more effective when benefits are heterogeneous.
    Keywords: Public goods experiment; heterogeneous benefits; leading by example
    JEL: C91 D03 D64
    Date: 2020–10
  5. By: HIROMITSU Toshiaki; KITAKAJI Yoko; HARA Keishiro; SAIJO Tatsuyoshi
    Abstract: In public decisions with long-term implications, decisions of the present generation will affect long-term welfare, including future generations. However, only the present generation is able to participate in such decision-making processes. In this study, based on Saijo [1, 2], we invited "Imaginary Future Generations" (IFGs), which are participants in a discussion that take on the role of members of future generations to argue on behalf of their future interests, to engage in present-day deliberations among residents of a Japanese town. Through an analysis, it is seen that the deliberations among IFGs raise interest in issues that are related to common fundamental needs across generations. While the cognitive aspects of interpersonal reactivity, which measures reactions of one individual to the observed experiences of another, are seen as useful in arguing for the interests of future generations, it is suggested that the environment for deliberation has a significant impact on the ability to effectively take on the role of members of future generations. Finally, this paper positions IFGs within the broad context of general rules for good decision making, based on an analysis of these deliberations and in light of philosophical arguments such as the veil of ignorance.
    Date: 2020–09
  6. By: Murshed, S.M.
    Abstract: This paper formally models the rise in populist politics during the last decade. In the literature the rise in populism is attributable both to cultural and economic factors. Chief among the latter is the inequality engendered by globalization and technical progress. When the plight of the marginalised is ignored by mainstream centrist parties, populist challengers rush in emphasizing cultural factors, invoking an enviable bygone past reminiscent of the golden age of capitalism. In what follows we apply prospect theory, where disenchanted individuals support populists because they promise to enact what is desirable, even at the expense of harming their already disadvantaged economic position. Support for populism depends upon the desirability of some of their nationalist policies to an already pre-disposed vote bank, as well as the calculus of meme verification. The model also incorporates political competition between a populist challenger and a liberal politician, where memes and messages are the strategic variables. It is postulated that nations ruled by populists are more likely to suffer more greatly from pandemic shocks, due to their public policies, except through serendipity or when the populist adopts more benevolent authoritarian practices.
    Keywords: populism, pandemics, inequality
    Date: 2020–10–22

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