nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2021‒01‒18
nine papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Do Voters Choose Better Politicians than Political Parties? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Italy By Alfano, Maria Rosaria; Baraldi, Anna Laura; Papagni, Erasmo
  2. Strategic Delegation in the Formation of Modest International Environmental Agreements By Sarah Spycher; Ralph Winkler
  3. Political Parties as Drivers of U.S. Polarization: 1927-2018 By Nathan J. Canen; Chad Kendall; Francesco Trebbi
  4. The Ambiguous Consensus on Fiscal Rules By Andreas Eisl
  5. Appointed or Elected? How Mayoral Accountability Impacts the Provision of Policing By Colombo, Andrea; Tojerow, Ilan
  6. Gender-inclusive governance of “self-help†groups in rural Kenya By Aberman, Noora-Lisa; Birner, Regina; Odoyo, Elizabeth Auma Okiri; Oyunga, Mary Anyango; Okoba, Barrack; Okello, George Otiep
  7. The COVID-19 Pandemic and the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election By Baccini, Leonardo; Brodeur, Abel; Weymouth, Stephen
  8. Should European integration go further? A survey of French, German and Italian members of national parliaments By Pierre Boyer; Elie Gerschel; Anasuya Raj
  9. International Coordination of Debt Rules with Time-inconsistent Voters By Arawatari, Ryo; Ono, Tetsuo

  1. By: Alfano, Maria Rosaria; Baraldi, Anna Laura; Papagni, Erasmo
    Abstract: This work analyses the effect of the two preference voting systems – proportional system with blocked lists of candidates vs proportional system with open list of candidates - on the quality of politicians. The exogenous variation in the Italian Parliament electoral system (Law n. 270/2005) - which marked the switch from an open to a closed list - allows us implement a Difference-inDifferences approach to compare the change in politicians' quality (as their education level) across the treatment group (the Parliamentarians) and the control group (the regional councillors) of politicians before and after the electoral reform is enforced. We find that the introduction of the reform lowered the politicians' ability. The result is common for Senators and Deputies and it is robust to the inclusion of control variables and to the restriction of treatment group to pastappointed Parliamentarians. This evidence suggests that voters are able to choose more qualifying politicians than political parties and it may be an argument in favor the re-introduction, in the electoral law, of preference voting schemes.
    Keywords: Research Methods/ Statistical Methods
    Date: 2020–12–17
  2. By: Sarah Spycher; Ralph Winkler
    Abstract: We reassess the well-known “narrow-but-deep” versus “broad-but-shallow” trade-off in international environmental agreements (IEAs), taking into account the principal-agent relationship induced by the hierarchical structure of international policy. To this end, we expand the modest coalition formation game, in which countries first decide on whether to join an agreement and then decide on emissions by a strategic delegation stage. In the weak delegation game, principals first decide whether to join an IEA, then delegate the domestic emission choices to an agent. Finally, agents in all countries decide on emissions. In countries not joining the IEA, agents choose emissions to maximize their own payoff, while agents of countries joining the IEA set emissions to internalize some exogenously given fraction of the externalities that own emissions cause on all members of the IEA. In the strong delegation game principals first delegate to agents, which then decide on membership and emissions. We find that strategic delegation crowds out all efforts to increase coalition sizes by less ambitious agreements in the weak delegation game, while in the strong delegation game the first-best from the principals’ point of view can be achieved.
    Keywords: international climate policy, coalition formation game, political economy, strategic delegation, strategic voting
    JEL: Q54 Q58 C72 D62 H41 P16
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Nathan J. Canen; Chad Kendall; Francesco Trebbi
    Abstract: The current polarization of elites in the U.S., particularly in Congress, is frequently ascribed to the emergence of cohorts of ideologically extreme legislators replacing moderate ones. Politicians, however, do not operate as isolated agents, driven solely by their preferences. They act within organized parties, whose leaders exert control over the rank-and-file, directing support for and against policies. This paper shows that the omission of party discipline as a driver of political polarization is consequential for our understanding of this phenomenon. We present a multi-dimensional voting model and identification strategy designed to decouple the ideological preferences of lawmakers from the control exerted by their party leadership. Applying this structural framework to the U.S. Congress between 1927- 2018, we find that the influence of leaders over their rank-and-file has been a growing driver of polarization in voting, particularly since the 1970s. In 2018, party discipline accounts for around 65% of the polarization in roll call voting. Our findings qualify the interpretation of - and in two important cases subvert - a number of empirical claims in the literature that measures polarization with models that lack a formal role for parties.
    JEL: D72 P48
    Date: 2020–12
  4. By: Andreas Eisl (CEE - Centre d'études européennes et de politique comparée - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: In recent years, all eurozone member states have introduced national fiscal rules, which put limits on public deficits and debt. Fiscal rules reduce the fiscal policy discretion of politicians and affect their capacity to use public budgets for macroeconomic steering and redistribution. While such institutional discretion constraints run against the traditional policy preferences of social democratic parties, it is puzzling why they supported national fiscal rule reforms during the European debt crisis. This paper argues that the concept of structural deficit rules, central to reform efforts across the eurozone, allowed for the formation of an ambiguous consensus between center-right and center-left parties. While conservative and liberal parties are generally supportive of insti-tutional discretion constraints, structural deficit rules – in contrast to nominal deficit rules – allowed social democratic and other left-wing parties to link such rules with their broader policy preferences of Keynesian countercyclical policymaking and the protection of tax revenues across the economic cycle to ensure the state's capacity for redistribution. Drawing on three country case studies (Germany, Austria, France), this paper shows how the concept of structural deficit rules facilitated – at least discursively – the support for discretion-constraining institutions among social democratic and other left-wing parties. In theoretical terms, this study also advances research on the role of ambiguity in political decision-making, (re-)conceptualizing three forms of ambiguity underlying ambiguous consensus: textual ambiguity, institutional ambiguity, and ideational ambiguity.
    Abstract: Au cours des dernières années, tous les pays membres de la zone euro ont introduit des règles budgétaires nationales qui fixent des limites à la dette et aux déficits publics. Les règles budgétaires réduisent le pouvoir discrétionnaire des responsables politiques en matière budgétaire et affectent leur capacité à utiliser les budgets publics pour le pilotage macroéconomique et pour la redistribution. Alors que ces contraintes institutionnelles vont à l'encontre des préférences traditionnelles des partis sociaux-démocrates, on peut s'étonner de constater que ces derniers ont soutenu les réformes des règles budgétaires pendant la crise de la dette en Europe. Cette étude défend l'idée selon laquelle les règles sur le déficit structurel, un concept central des initiatives de réforme au sein de la zone euro, ont abouti à un consensus ambigu entre les partis du centre-droit et ceux du centre-gauche. Tandis que les partis conservateurs et libéraux soutiennent généralement les contraintes sur le pouvoir discrétionnaire des institutions, les règles sur le déficit structurel – contrairement aux règles sur le déficit nominal – ont permis aux partis sociaux-démocrates et à d'autres partis de gauche de les relier à leurs préférences pour des politiques keynésiennes contra-cycliques plus larges et au maintien des impôts sur les revenus tout au long du cycle économique, afin d'assurer la capacité redistributive de l'État. Sur la base d'études de cas portant sur trois pays (Allemagne, Autriche et France), cet article montre comment le concept de règles sur le déficit structurel a facilité – du moins au niveau discursif – le soutien des contraintes institutionnelles par les partis sociaux-démocrates et par d'autres partis de gauche. Sur le plan théorique, la présente étude développe la recherche sur le rôle de l'ambiguïté dans la prise de décisions politiques, en (re)conceptualisant trois formes d'ambiguïté sous-jacentes au consensus ambigu : l'ambiguïté textuelle, l'ambiguïté institutionnelle et l'ambiguïté conceptuelle.
    Keywords: Ambiguous consensus,Comparative politics,Eurozone governance,Fiscal rules,Ideational ambiguity,Social democratic parties,Ambiguïté conceptuelle,Consensus ambigu,Gouvernance de la zone euro,Partis sociaux-démocrates,Politiques comparées,Règles budgétaires
    Date: 2020–11–01
  5. By: Colombo, Andrea (Université Libre de Bruxelles); Tojerow, Ilan (Free University of Brussels)
    Abstract: This paper studies how the system by which mayors are elected impacts mayoral accountability and their provision of public goods. To do so, we analyze policing and crime incidence under mayors directly elected by voters and under mayors appointed by an elected body. Our identification strategy exploits a natural experiment provided by the introduction in 2005 of direct mayoral elections in the municipalities of one region of Belgium, Wallonia. Estimating a difference-in-differences model with a rich dataset registering locally-reported crimes from 2000 to 2012, our results show a post-reform decrease in overall crime between 4.9% and 5.7%, depending on the specification. Our results further suggest that more accountable mayors prefer fighting certain type of crimes more intensely, rather than increasing police efficiency overall. Lastly, our results show that the post-reform benefits we observe dissolve when the management of local police has to be coordinated among neighboring mayors, especially if they come from different political parties.
    Keywords: electoral accountability, crime, mayoral election, police
    JEL: D72 H10 K14 K40
    Date: 2020–12
  6. By: Aberman, Noora-Lisa; Birner, Regina; Odoyo, Elizabeth Auma Okiri; Oyunga, Mary Anyango; Okoba, Barrack; Okello, George Otiep
    Abstract: There is vast literature on groups as a useful mechanism for rural development, especially for women. However, for group participation to fulfil on potential benefits to women, gender-specific constraints must be addressed. This study examines how to promote gender-inclusive governance of mixed-sex self-help groups in the African context, analysing twenty mixed-sex focus group discussions with 190 group members in rural western Kenya. Emphasizing group member perceptions and beliefs about participation and governance, we undertake an empirical assessment of institutional factors that explain and facilitate effective participation of female members. We find that group-member endowments impact the group’s interpretation in terms of their understanding of gender issues and political processes, and that the pro-gender intentions behind governance structures are more important than the structures themselves. Furthermore, groups in this context serve as a distinct parallel institution to that of the home that enable them to push the boundaries of community gender norms.
    Keywords: KENYA; EAST AFRICA; AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA; AFRICA; rural areas; gender; inclusion; self help; social behaviour; governance; group approaches; institutions; gender inclusivity
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Baccini, Leonardo; Brodeur, Abel; 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 so- cioeconomic 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 ur- ban counties, in states without stay-at-home orders, 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. We also find some evidence that the COVID-19 incidence had a positive effect on voters' mobilization, helping Biden win the presidency.
    Keywords: COVID-19,pandemic,elections,political behavior,pre-analysis plan
    JEL: D72 I18
    Date: 2021
  8. By: Pierre Boyer (X - École polytechnique); Elie Gerschel; Anasuya Raj
    Abstract: Summary: The European economic union is incomplete, which makes it vulnerable to macroeconomic shocks. The opportunity to move forward in the integration process was highly debated even before the Covid-19 crisis. Yet the diverging views among countries and political groups are often considered as an obstacle on the path to required agreements for completing the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). We present the results of a survey conducted in 2018 among members of national parliaments (MPs) in France, Germany and Italy on European integration in policy fields related to risk-sharing and budgetary institutions, asking for their opinion on proposals such as the creation of a European Unemployment Insurance (EUI), Eurobonds, or an EU tax. We find that nationality and political groups are key determinants of support for such proposals, the latter being the strongest. We describe how opinions are divided and try to identify policy proposals which could gather enough political support. The agreement reached on July 21st, 2020 at the last European summit includes financial transfers between States and the creation of Eurobonds, thus representing an important institutional move and an application of some of the reforms suggested by our survey. Yet what has been decided upon is only temporary and leaves open the question of the future of European integration. Key points: At first glance, the answers show diverging opinions on most questions between countries with Italy supporting more integration, and Germany opposing it for most proposals. France has an intermediate position, leaning towards Italy. A breakdown of the results by party affiliation shows a more nuanced picture. For cross-country comparisons, we build a party indicator using the affiliation of national parties to European political groups. National MPs associated with the group of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) at the European level show strong support for the creation of new fiscal institutions and a new EU tax, and for risk sharing institutions (European Unemployment Insurance, Eurobonds). On the contrary, MPs associated with the European People's Party (EPP) are mildly positive or against risk-sharing and fiscal institutions. National MPs affiliated to Renew Europe hold similar views to S&D MPs, but are less supportive of risk-sharing mechanisms. There is a substantial diversity of positions between the German AfD, the Italian Lega and the 5-star movement: the three parties have diverging views on the future of integration. Our econometric analysis shows that party affiliations have more explanatory power than nationality for all questions. This clearly shows that outcomes of national parliamentary elections could change the overall support for any issue.
    Date: 2020–07
  9. By: Arawatari, Ryo; Ono, Tetsuo
    Abstract: In this study, we investigate the international coordination of debt rules in an economy consisting of a large number of countries with varying degrees of present bias. A case whereby each country sets its own uncoordinated debt rules is compared with a case whereby all countries have common coordinated debt rules. Countries with weak present-biased preferences increase their debt issuance and suffer from welfare losses by participating in coordination. In contrast, countries with strong present-biased preferences reduce their debt issuance and can enjoy welfare improvement by participating in coordination. The contrasting results suggest the possibility that the former have little incentive to follow the coordinated rule.
    Keywords: Debt rules; Debt ceilings; Present bias; International coordination
    JEL: D72 D78 H62 H63
    Date: 2020–11–20

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