nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2020‒11‒30
sixteen papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Manipulable outcomes within the class of scoring voting rules By Mostapha Diss; Boris Tsvelikhovskiy
  2. The Power of the Federal Reserve Chair By Alessandro Riboni; Francisco Ruge-Murcia
  3. Beyond political divides: analyzing public opinion on carbon taxation in Switzerland By Laurent Ott; Mehdi Farsi; Sylvain weber
  4. Competitive Gerrymandering and the Popular Vote By Felix J. Bierbrauer; Mattias Polborn; Felix Bierbrauer
  5. Voting Plans and Mask-Wearing Practices During the 2020 U.S. National Election By Shacham, Enbal; Scroggins, Steve; Ellis, Matthew; Little, Germysha; Garza, Alexander
  6. Political Constraints and Sovereign Default Premia By Mitra, Nirvana
  7. When are groups less moral than individuals? By Pol Campos-Mercade
  8. Mechanisms and emergent properties of social structure: the duality of actors and social circles By Vasques Filho, Demival
  9. The COVID-19 Pandemic and US Presidential Elections By Brodeur, Abel; Baccini, Leonardo; Weymouth, Stephen
  10. Making Rallies Great Again: The Effects of Presidential Campaign Rallies on Voter Behavior, 2008-2016 By James M. Snyder Jr.; Hasin Yousaf
  11. Palestinian water laws: Between centralization, decentralization, and rivalries By Jeanne PERRIER
  12. The Demand for Punishment to Promote Cooperation Among Like-Minded People By Christoph Buehren; Astrid Dannenberg
  13. Encouraging digital security innovation: Global Forum on Digital Security for Prosperity By OECD
  14. Reforms of Collective Bargaining Institutions in European Union Countries: Bad Timing, Bad Outcomes? By Yann Thommen
  15. Foreign influence and domestic policy By Toke S Aidt; Facundo Albornoz; Esther Hauk
  16. Moderate vs. Radical NGOs By Treich, Nicolas; Espinosa, Romain

  1. By: Mostapha Diss (CRESE EA3190, Univ. Bourgogne Franche-Comté, F-25000 Besançon, France); Boris Tsvelikhovskiy (Department of Mathematics, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, 02115, USA)
    Abstract: Coalitional manipulation in voting is considered to be any scenario in which a group of voters decide to misrepresent their vote in order to secure an outcome they all prefer to the first outcome of the election when they vote honestly. The present paper is devoted to study coalitional manipulability within the class of scoring voting rules. For any such rule and any number of alternatives, we introduce a new approach allowing to characterize all the outcomes that can be manipulable by a coalition of voters. This gives us the possibility to find the probability of manipulable outcomes for some well-studied scoring voting rules in the case of small number of alternatives and large electorates under a well-known assumption on individual preference profiles.
    JEL: D71 D72
    Date: 2020–11
  2. By: Alessandro Riboni (École Polytechnique); Francisco Ruge-Murcia (McGill University)
    Abstract: Transcripts from the meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) show that the policy proposed by its chair is always adopted with a majority of votes and limited dissent. An interpretation of this observation is that the power of the chair vis-a-vis the other members is so large that the policy selected by the committee is basically that preferred by the chair. Instead, this paper argues that the observation that the chairís proposal is always approved is an equilibrium outcome: the proposal passes because it is designed to pass and it does not necessarily correspond to the policy preferred by the chair. We construct a model of inclusive voting where the chair has agenda-setting powers to make the proposal that is initially put to a vote but is subject to an acceptance constraint that incorporates the preferences of the median and the probability of counter-proposals. The model is estimated by the method of maximum likelihood using real-time data from FOMC meetings. Results for the full sample and sub-samples for each chair between 1974 and 2008 show that the data prefer a version of our model where the chair is moderately inclusive over a dictator model. Thus, the workings of the FOMC appear to be stable over time and no chair, regardless of personality and recognized ability, can deviate far from the median view.
    Keywords: Inclusive-voting, agenda-setting, consensus, FOMC, collective decision-making
    JEL: D7 E5
    Date: 2020–06
  3. By: Laurent Ott; Mehdi Farsi; Sylvain weber
    Abstract: This paper investigates public opinion on the Swiss CO2 levy and its 2020 revision by using a discrete choice experiment answered by a sample of 586 respondents living in Switzerland. The experiment is designed to elicit citizen preferences among various taxation attributes and is followed by a referendum voting experiment on various CO2 levy proposals. Based on latent class modeling approaches, we find that the population is composed by two distinct but relatively preference profiles: Environmentalists and Neutrals. Respondents belonging to the first group tend to favor higher carbon tax rates and a redistribution of proceeds benefiting low-income individuals, whereas those in the second group prefer lower rates and a uniform redistribution of proceeds across all taxpayers. Findings from the voting experiment point to a general support among the Environmentalists, but an uncertain approval from the Neutral group.
    Keywords: Carbon tax, preference heterogeneity, public opinion, latent class, discrete choice experiment.
    JEL: C25 D72 D78 H23 Q48 Q54
    Date: 2020–11
  4. By: Felix J. Bierbrauer; Mattias Polborn; Felix Bierbrauer
    Abstract: Gerrymandering undermines representative democracy by creating many uncompetitive legislative districts, and generating the very real possibility that a party that wins a clear majority of the popular vote does not win a majority of districts. We present a new approach to the determination of electoral districts, taking a design perspective. Specifically, we develop a redistricting game between two parties who both seek an advantage in upcoming elections, and show that we can achieve two desirable properties: First, the overall election outcome corresponds to the popular vote. Second, most districts are competitive.
    Keywords: Gerrymandering, legislative elections, redistricting
    JEL: D72 C72
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Shacham, Enbal; Scroggins, Steve; Ellis, Matthew; Little, Germysha; Garza, Alexander
    Abstract: Background: While U.S. continues to face increasing rates of COVID-19, there is concern that voting behavior during the 2020 U.S. Presidential election may contribute to additional outbreaks and infections among communities. The purpose of the current study was to assess the impact of the spread of the COVID-19 infection and mask-wearing behavior on voting behaviors and political affiliation during the 2020 national election. Methods: During a two-week period from September into October 2020, YouGov, in association with Saint Louis University, conducted an online cross-sectional survey consisting of participants that were likely to vote in Missouri in the upcoming national election (n=931). The sample was stratified into two groups: those that reported always wearing a mask or face-covering in public spaces and those that did not. Individual socio-demographics and environmental factors were compared between these groups to identify significant differences according to mask-wearing patterns. Additionally, two adjusted multivariate models were constructed to determine probability of (1) reporting always wearing a mask and (2) planning on voting in-person on election day. Indicators in each model included reported political party affiliation, and urbanicity, presence of mask mandate, and recent COVID-19 rate, respective of reported Missouri county of residence. Results: The sample consisted of 931 participants across Missouri that were likely to vote during the 2020 Presidential election. Among this sample, 38.5% resided in counties with a mask mandate at the time of the survey. Individuals who resided in either suburban or urban counties were twice as likely to report always wearing a mask compared to rural residents. In addition, while individuals from counties with a mask mandate were over twice as likely to report always wearing a mask, county COVID-19 infection rates were not found to be a significant predictor of mask-wearing. Republicans and Independents were significantly less likely to report always wearing a mask. Compared to Democrats, Republicans were 4 times, and Independents were 2 times, more likely to vote in person on election day compared to Democratic party members. These results were significant even when adjusting urbanicity, residing in a county with a mask mandate, and county COVID-19 case-rate. While urbanicity and COVID-19 infection rate were determined to not add significantly to model performance, those that lived within a county with a mask mandate were nearly 50% less likely to vote in person on election date. Discussion: Overall, this study identified significant relationships that are likely to contribute to the spread of COVID-19. Individuals who identified as Republican and Independent party members were more likely to vote in-person on election day and less likely to always wear a mask in public spaces. The interaction between political party affiliation and mask wearing highlights the concerning dichotomy within political discourse and highlights an opportunity to develop novel interventions that reduce the current political division that exists within the U.S.
    Date: 2020–11–10
  6. By: Mitra, Nirvana
    Abstract: I study the relationship between political constraints and the probability of sovereign default on external debt using a dynamic stochastic model of fiscal policy augmented with legislative bargaining and default. I find that political constraints and default probability are inversely related if the output cost of default is not too high. The model government comprises legislators who bargain over policy instruments, including over a local public good that benefits only the regions they represent. Higher political constraints are equivalent to more legislators with veto power over fiscal policies. This implies that during a default, the released resources need to be distributed among more regions as local public goods, with a smaller benefit accruing to each region, discouraging default. However, if default is too costly, even governments with lower political constraints default less frequently. Empirical evidence from South American countries is consistent with this result. I calibrate the infinite horizon model to Argentina. It confirms the negative relationship. A counterfactual exercise with even higher political constraints shows that the default by Argentina in 2001 could not be avoided.
    Keywords: Sovereign debt, Default risk, Interest rates, Political economy, Minimum winning coalition, Endogenous borrowing constraints.
    JEL: D72 E43 E62 F34 F41
    Date: 2020–11–15
  7. By: Pol Campos-Mercade (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: People are less likely to make moral decisions when they are in groups. I study when this phenomenon makes groups less likely to produce a morally desirable outcome than one individual alone. I formulate and test a model in which a moral outcome occurs if at least one individual makes a costly decision. Using a lab experiment and data from field experiments on the bystander effect, I show that if most individuals are moral, the moral outcome is more likely to be produced by one individual, whereas if most individuals are immoral, it is more likely to be produced by a group. This rule is not only useful for reconciling previous mixed evidence on moral decisions in groups, but may also be applied to better design organizations and institutions.
    Keywords: moral behavior, group size, bystander effect, social preferences
    JEL: C92 D64 D90
    Date: 2020–11–18
  8. By: Vasques Filho, Demival
    Abstract: I propose a theory of social structure that challenges the widely accepted role of preferential attachment and triadic closure as primary mechanisms of network formation. For this, I build upon Feld's concept of social circles, Breiger’s concept of the duality of actors and groups, and Hinde’s concept of interactions and relationships. The theory emphasizes that ties between actors arise and evolve according to social circles and social situations in which they participate, a notion straightforwardly modeled through two-mode and projected networks. Using recent results aided by analyses of empirical and artificial networks, I argue that structural properties such as tie strength, heterogeneity of popularity and strength among actors, clustering, community formation, and segregation emerge from homophily, jointly with overlap and social activity—mechanisms introduced in this study. The mechanisms form the two-mode network, and these structural properties naturally arise in the one-mode projection. The results show that social circle and social situation size distributions modulate network structures by interweaving with social activity distributions, and that overlap increases segregation from a network viewpoint. This theory’s implications are broad, affecting several social processes ranging from social cohesion, tolerance, and child development to the spread of infectious diseases.
    Date: 2020–11–12
  9. By: Brodeur, Abel; Baccini, Leonardo; Weymouth, Stephen
    Abstract: What is the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the 2020 U.S. presidential election? Guided by a pre-analysis plan, we estimate the effect of COVID-19 cases and deaths on the change in county-level voting for Donald Trump between 2016 and 2020. To account for potential confounders, we include a large number of COVID-19-related controls as well as demographic and socioeconomic variables. Moreover, we instrument the numbers of cases and deaths with the share of workers employed in meat-processing factories to sharpen our identification strategy. We find that COVID-19 cases negatively affected Trump's vote share. The estimated effect appears strongest in urban counties, in swing states, and in states that Trump won in 2016. A simple counterfactual analysis suggests that Trump would likely have won re-election if COVID-19 cases had been 5 percent lower. Our paper contributes to the literature of retrospective voting and demonstrates that voters hold leaders accountable for their (mis-)handling of negative shocks.
    Date: 2020–11–10
  10. By: James M. Snyder Jr.; Hasin Yousaf
    Abstract: Populism has surged around the world in recent decades. One campaign activity that may be especially important for populist leaders is holding large rallies to gain unmediated support from "the people." In this paper, we explore whether populist leaders are particularly effective in gaining support via their rallies. We do this by studying the effect of campaign rallies held by Donald Trump and other U.S. Presidential candidates since 2008. To measure the short-run causal impact of rallies, we exploit the fact that some respondents in the CCES were surveyed a few days before a rally, while others were surveyed a few days afterwards. We find that Trump's rallies produced a short-lived increase in his support over Clinton (especially among leaning Republicans), intention to vote (especially among strong Republicans), and individual campaign contributions for him. We do not find consistent, robust effects for other candidates. In terms of channels, we find that local media coverage of all candidates increased around their rallies, suggesting that the quantity of media coverage alone does not explain the findings.
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2020–10
  11. By: Jeanne PERRIER
    Abstract: This article explores the process of reforming Palestinian water laws, in particular the last water law enacted in 2014. These legislative reforms are part of an international context of modernization of water laws, as well as a national Palestinian context of water management reform, which began in 2008. They reflect the key ideas formulated in the Dublin Statement of 1992. The purpose of this article is to deconstruct the process of Palestinian water management reforms to understand the real power struggles at play. To achieve this, we will analyze the political and discursive context of the production of the Palestinian water law of 2014, which aims to establish a more democratic management of water resources, notably through a process of decentralizing the Palestinian Water Authority in favor of new actors, such as regional suppliers or even water user associations. However, this has failed, and this article shows how it ignored local hydro-political constellations and power struggles between the different actors implicated in this water management. The power that the Palestinian Water Authority has remains limited. It faces the challenges of the reality of legal pluralism, which in practice translates to the management of Palestinian water. The Israeli occupation exacerbates these challenges. However, legislative tools such as the 2014 water law and recent regulations are paving the way for the gradual advancement of the pawns involved in the centralization of water resource management. The analysis of legislative documents, coupled with Palestinian strategies and internal dynamics, reveals these dynamics of centralization that threaten local water management practices.
    Keywords: Palestine
    JEL: Q
    Date: 2020–11–16
  12. By: Christoph Buehren (Clausthal University of Technology); Astrid Dannenberg (University of Kassel)
    Abstract: We use an experiment to test the hypothesis that groups consisting of like-minded cooperators are able to cooperate irrespective of punishment and therefore have a lower demand for a costly punishment institution than groups of like-minded free riders, who are unable to cooperate without punishment. We also predict that the difference in the demand for punishment is particularly large when members know about the composition of their group. The experimental results confirm these hypotheses. However, the information about the composition of the group turns out to be even more important than we expected. It helps cooperative groups to avoid wasting resources for an unneeded punishment institution. In uncooperative groups, it helps members to recognize the need for punishment early on and not to follow an uncooperative path that produces a persistently competitive attitude. These findings highlight the role of group composition and information for institution formation and that lessons learned by one group cannot be readily transferred to other groups.
    JEL: C91 H41 D23 C72
    Date: 2020
  13. By: OECD
    Abstract: This document summarises discussions held at the second annual event of the OECD Global Forum on Digital Security for Prosperity. The event, held on 14-15 November 2019 in London, brought together 160 experts and 30 speakers from government, business, civil society, the technical community and academia to discuss how to encourage digital security innovation. Participants explored the roles that different stakeholders can play in stimulating digital security innovation, including how governments can support it for example by implementing tax incentives, acting as an early customer for innovative products, and enacting flexible and outcome-based regulation. A digital security innovation ecosystem is the most important component of a strategic approach, as it brings together different stakeholder groups in a dedicated location. Participants discussed how different ecosystems can learn from one another through international co-operation and considered how governments can encourage digital security by design in innovation more generally.
    Date: 2020–11–20
  14. By: Yann Thommen
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether flexibility-enhancing reforms of national collective bargaining systems have positive outcomes in terms of employment and unemployment in the short-term, especially when implemented during an economic downturn. The analysis consists in applying local projections to a novel panel database of reforms of collective bargaining institutions in EU countries in the period 2000-2018. There is no evidence that making collective bargaining institutions more flexible during a recession has a positive effect on employment or unemployment in the short term. More specifically, reforms that reduce bargaining coverage have negative short-term effects, particularly on the employment of young people and low-educated workers, and are associated with a decline in the share of temporary jobs. The results do not support the idea that collective bargaining institutions should be reformed during a recession to boost employment.
    Keywords: Employment, Unemployment, Short-term effects, Labor market, Collective bargaining, Reforms.
    JEL: E24 E32 J08 J21 J5
    Date: 2020
  15. By: Toke S Aidt; Facundo Albornoz; Esther Hauk
    Abstract: In an interconnected world, economic and political interests inevitably reach beyond national borders. Since policy choices generate external economic and political costs, foreign state and non-state actors have an interest in infl uencing policy actions in other sovereign countries to their advantage. Foreign influence is a strategic choice aimed at internalizing these externalities and takes three principal forms: (i) voluntary agreements, (ii) policy interventions based on rewarding or sanctioning the target country to obtain a specific change in policy and (iii) institution interventions aimed at influencing the political institutions in the target country. We propose a unifying theoretical framework to study when foreign influence is chosen and in which form, and use it to organize and evaluate the new political economics literature on foreign influence along with work in cognate disciplines.
    Keywords: Foreign influence, international agreements, institutions, foreign lobbying, aid, sanctions, conflict
    Date: 2020
  16. By: Treich, Nicolas; Espinosa, Romain
    Abstract: NGOs often vary in terms of how radical they are. In this paper, we explore the effectiveness of NGO discourses in bringing about social change. We focus on animal advocacy: welfarist NGOs primarily seek to improve the conditions in which animals are raised and reduce meat consumption, while abolitionist NGOs categorically reject animal use and call for a vegan society. We design an experiment to study the respective impact of welfarist and abolitionist discourses on participants’ beliefs regarding pro-meat justifications and their actions, namely their propensity to engage in the short-run in animal welfare (charity donation, petition against intensive farming)and plant-based diets (subscription to a newsletter promoting plant-based diets, petition supporting vegetarian meals). We first show that both welfarist and abolitionist discourses significantly undermine participants’ pro-meat justifications. Second, the welfarist discourse does not significantly affect participants’ actions, while we detect a potential backlash effect of the abolitionist discourse. We show that the NGOs’ positive standard effect on actions through the change in beliefs is outweighed by a negative behavioral response to the discourses (reactance effect). Last, greater public-good contributions are associated with greater engagement in animal welfare in the presence of an NGO discourse.
    Date: 2020–11

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