nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2021‒04‒12
seven papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Cloturing Deliberation By Vincent Anesi; Mikhail Safronov
  2. Local David Versus Global Goliath: Populist Parties and the Decline of Progressive Politics in Italy By Matteo Cavallaro
  3. Efficient Effort Equilibrium in Cooperation with Pairwise Cost Reduction By García-Martínez, Jose A.; Mayor-Serra, Antonio J.; Meca, Ana
  4. Political Agency and Legislative Subsidies with Imperfect Monitoring By Blumenthal, Benjamin
  5. A Natural Adaptive Process for Collective Decision-Making By F. Brandl; F. Brandt
  6. Another Brick in the Wall. Immigration and Electoral Preferences: Direct Evidence from State Ballots By Bargain, Olivier; Stephane, Victor; Valette, Jérôme
  7. Inequality, Identity, and Partisanship: How redistribution can stem the tide of mass polarization By Alexander J. Stewart; Joshua B. Plotkin; Nolan McCarty

  1. By: Vincent Anesi (Department of Economics and Management, Université du Luxembourg); Mikhail Safronov (University of Cambridge, UK)
    Abstract: We study how the institutional arrangements for ending deliberation - the “cloture Rules” - interact with collective learning to affect the outcomes of decision making in committees. In contrast to much of the previous literature on deliberative commit- tees, this paper makes a distinction between the final votes over policy proposals and the cloture votes that bring them about. Using this approach, we explore how clo- ture rules influence the course of deliberation, the likelihood of inefficient deliberative outcomes, the circumstances surrounding failures to bring proposals to a final vote, and the distribution of power among committee members in the deliberative process. We also use our simple model to examine the issue of the stability of cloture rules, characterizing the rules that no coalition of committee members is able or willing to overturn. We show in particular that all cloture rules are dynamically stable.
    Keywords: Cloture, deliberation, obstruction, pivots, political failure, stability, voting.
    JEL: D02 D71 D72 D83
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Matteo Cavallaro (University of Lausanne)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the role of local spending, particularly on social welfare, and local inequality as factors in the Italian political crisis following the adoption in 2011 of more radical national austerity measures. We employ two different methods. First, we develop an original database of municipal budgets. There we show that even the lowest level of social welfare spending, that offered by Italian municipalities, though also hit by austerity, was still able to moderate this national shock. We test three operationalizations of local spending: aggregate current expenditures, aggregate current expenditures on social services, and current expenditures disaggregated by function. We show that municipal current expenditures, particularly on social spending, significantly affected the post-2011 share of votes for the progressive coalition. The results also show that social spending, especially on education, significantly moderated the combined effect of national austerity and the economic crisis on voting for populist radical right parties, while no significant results appeared for populist parties in general. Local inequality appears to significantly enhance vote shares of populist radical right parties and populist parties in general. We caution that, although significant, the effect is not strong: that local policy and economic conditions can moderate national shocks but cannot reverse them. The second analysis relies on survey data to ascertain the individual-level mechanisms behind the role of local welfare. The paper argues that local economic inputs influence voters’ position on non-economic issues. Our results, however, do not identify any significant individual-level channel of transmission, be it cultural or economic.
    Keywords: populism, austerity, political change, elections, inequality and distribution
    JEL: D72 H72 P16
    Date: 2021–01–09
  3. By: García-Martínez, Jose A.; Mayor-Serra, Antonio J.; Meca, Ana
    Abstract: There are multiple situations in which bilateral interaction between agents results in considerable cost reductions. Such interaction can occur in settings where agents are interested in sharing resources, knowledge or infrastructures. Their common purpose is to obtain individual advantages, e.g. by reducing their respective individual costs. Achieving this pairwise cooperation often requires the agents involved to make some level of effort. It is natural to think that the amount by which one agent could reduce the costs of the other may depend on how much effort the latter exerts. In the first stage, agents decide how much effort they are to exert, which has a direct impact on their pairwise cost reductions. We model this first stage as a non-cooperative game, in which agents determine the level of pairwise effort to reduce the cost of their partners. In the second stage, agents engage in a bilateral interaction between independent partners. We study this bilateral cooperation as a cooperative game in which agents reduce each other's costs as a result of cooperation, so that the total reduction in the cost of each agent in a coalition is the sum of the reductions generated by the rest of the members of that coalition. In the non-cooperative game that precedes cooperation with pairwise cost reduction, the agents anticipate the cost allocation that results from the cooperative game in the second stage by incorporating the effect of the effort exerted into their cost functions. Based on this model, we explore the costs, benefits, and challenges associated with setting up a pairwise effort network. We identify a family of cost allocations with weighted pairwise reduction which are always feasible in the cooperative game and contain the Shapley value. We show that there are always cost allocations with weighted pairwise reductions that generate an optimal level of efficient effort and provide a procedure for finding the efficient effort equilibrium.
    Keywords: Allocation, Cost models, Efficiency, Game Theory
    JEL: C71 C72
    Date: 2020–12–15
  4. By: Blumenthal, Benjamin
    Abstract: Politicians are expected to implement projects that benefit their constituents. These projects’ benefits sometimes partially accrue to interest groups and not entirely to voters. Since these projects are costly to implement, this provides an incentive for interest groups to intervene in the policy-making process by offering legislative subsidies to politicians. In addition, voters are frequently ill-equipped to scrutinise politicians’ actions and can often only imperfectly monitor them. This paper shows how these considerations interact in a stylised two-periods political agency model with moral hazard and adverse selection. I show how and when voters benefit from the existence of self-interested interest groups and of their involvement in the policy-making process. I also consider how voters monitor politicians in the presence of interest groups that might capture projects’ benefits.
    Date: 2021–04–05
  5. By: F. Brandl; F. Brandt
    Abstract: Consider an urn filled with balls, each labelled with one of several possible collective decisions. Now, draw two balls from the urn, let a random voter pick her more preferred as the collective decision, relabel the losing ball with the collective decision, put both balls back into the urn, and repeat. In order to prevent the permanent disappearance of some types of balls, a randomly drawn ball is labelled with a random collective decision once in a while. We prove that the empirical distribution of collective decisions converges towards the outcome of a celebrated probabilistic voting rule proposed by Peter C. Fishburn (Rev. Econ. Stud., 51(4), 1984). The proposed procedure has analogues in nature recently studied in biology, physics, and chemistry. It is more flexible than traditional voting rules because it does not require a central authority, elicits very little information, and allows agents to arrive, leave, and change their preferences over time.
    Date: 2021–03
  6. By: Bargain, Olivier (University of Aix-Marseille II); Stephane, Victor (GATE, University of Lyon); Valette, Jérôme (CES, University of Paris)
    Abstract: Using information on actual ballots rather than survey data, we investigate the impact of immigration on both electoral outcomes and immigrant-related motives underlying political preferences. We take advantage of 94 votes, namely 54 policy propositions and 40 elections for candidates, that took place in Californian general elections between 2010 and 2018. We first analyze how the share of immigrants at the census tract level affects electoral outcomes. We find that a rise in immigration is associated with a decrease in people's support for the Democratic party and for liberal measures. Using proposition topics, we show that this effect is driven by policies pertaining to redistribution, public good provision and justice/crime, while other propositions, less directly related to immigration are not impacted. The effect is stronger when immigrants are less assimilated and originate from poor and culturally distant countries.
    Keywords: immigration, electoral outcomes
    JEL: F22 D31
    Date: 2021–03
  7. By: Alexander J. Stewart; Joshua B. Plotkin; Nolan McCarty
    Abstract: The form of political polarization where citizens develop strongly negative attitudes towards out-party policies and members has become increasingly prominent across many democracies. Economic hardship and social inequality, as well as inter-group and racial conflict, have been identified as important contributing factors to this phenomenon known as "affective polarization." Such partisan animosities are exacerbated when these interests and identities become aligned with existing party cleavages. In this paper we use a model of cultural evolution to study how these forces combine to generate and maintain affective political polarization. We show that economic events can drive both affective polarization and sorting of group identities along party lines, which in turn can magnify the effects of underlying inequality between those groups. But on a more optimistic note, we show that sufficiently high levels of wealth redistribution through the provision of public goods can counteract this feedback and limit the rise of polarization. We test some of our key theoretical predictions using survey data on inter-group polarization, sorting of racial groups and affective polarization in the United States over the past 50 years.
    Date: 2021–03

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