nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2022‒01‒10
eight papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Transitive Delegation in Social Networks: Theory and Experiment By Sang-Hyun Kim
  2. Individual and Collective Information Acquisition: An Experimental Study By Pëllumb Reshidi; Alessandro Lizzeri; Leeat Yariv; Jimmy H. Chan; Wing Suen
  3. The Structure of MMP-Elections By Stensholt, Eivind
  4. Call for reforming our democracies: rejuvenating the median voter By Fischer, Justina AV
  5. Electoral incentives, investment in roads, and safety on local roads By Massimiliano Ferraresi; Leonzio Rizzo; Riccardo Secomandi
  6. Identifying the Economic Determinants of Individual Voting Behaviour in UK General Elections By Chrysanthou, Georgios Marios; Guilló, María Dolores
  7. Opening heaven’s door: Public opinion and congressional votes on the 1965 Immigration Act By Giovanni Facchini; Timothy J. Hatton; Max F. Steinhardt
  8. Formation of committees under constraints through random voting rules By Roy, Souvik; Sadhukhan, Soumyarup

  1. By: Sang-Hyun Kim (Yonsei University)
    Abstract: This paper develops a model of delegative democracy in which each voter can either vote directly or delegate her vote, together with the votes delegated to her, to another voter and analyzes the incentive for delegation and its impact on the quality of collective decision. A key finding is that as long as the delegation network is sufficiently ideologically homogeneous and large, voters are willing to delegate their votes even if they know neither who knows what nor who knows whom. I also show that delegation facilitates a better collective decision. The laboratory data confirm the theoretical predictions.
    Keywords: Voting, Delegation, Democracy, Delegative democracy, Information aggregation
    Date: 2021–12
  2. By: Pëllumb Reshidi; Alessandro Lizzeri; Leeat Yariv; Jimmy H. Chan; Wing Suen
    Abstract: Many committees—juries, political task forces, etc.—spend time gathering costly information before reaching a decision. We report results from lab experiments focused on such information-collection processes. We consider decisions governed by individuals and groups and compare how voting rules affect outcomes. We also contrast static information collection, as in classical hypothesis testing, with dynamic collection, as in sequential hypothesis testing. Several insights emerge. Static information collection is excessive, and sequential information collection is non-stationary, producing declining decision accuracies over time. Furthermore, groups using majority rule yield especially hasty and inaccurate decisions. Nonetheless, sequential information collection is welfare enhancing relative to static collection, particularly when unanimous rules are used.
    JEL: C91 C92 D7 D8
    Date: 2021–12
  3. By: Stensholt, Eivind (Dept. of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics)
    Abstract: In MMP-elections (Mixed Member Proportional representation), a QP-ballot contains a first-vote for party Q’s candidate in a single-seat constituency and a second-vote for a list of candidates from party P in one common tally. In split ballots P≠Q. Traditional accounting does not record the ballot’s combination of first- and second-vote; collecting them in separate ballot boxes will not change the result. In the case of Bundestag elections, the assembly size is out of control, with 111 (136) extra-ordinary list seats in 2017 (2021). Faithful accounting makes use of these combinations to stabilize the assembly size at some given norm (598 seats in the Bundestag), while still complying with MMP’s proportionality rule. The Federal Constitutional Court emphasizes the principle of all voters’ equal influence on the result. In 2017 and 2021 split QP-ballots often gave full support to two winners, but QQ-ballots only to one (Q=CSU). If two ballots are from the same constituency, faithful accounting, gives them equal influence. Under traditional accounting, a fusion of the sister parties CDU/CSU to one party “C*U” would reduce the size to 667 (598) seats in 2017 (2021).
    Keywords: Mixed member proportional; equal influence; legitimacy; assembly size; faithful accounting
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2021–12–15
  4. By: Fischer, Justina AV
    Abstract: Aging populations threaten the future of Western societies and their democratic systems. An aging electorate leads to policies dominated by fear (of death), hindering important social reforms. This article describes this phenomenon from a political philosophy and behavioral psychology perspective and proposes a solution based on a new interpretation of social contract theory. Specifically, I propose the down-weighing of ballots of older voters by their remaining lifespans. I conclude with a discussion of the justice and the fairness of my proposal from the perspective of political philosophy and public economics.
    Keywords: median voter; social contract; aging population; voting
    JEL: H0 I3 J10 Z1
    Date: 2021–12–26
  5. By: Massimiliano Ferraresi (European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy); Leonzio Rizzo (University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy and IEB, Barcelona, Spain.); Riccardo Secomandi (University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.)
    Abstract: It is widely recognized that politicians deliberately allocate goods and services just prior to the election, and road investments are arguably among the most visible infrastructure to influence voters. Using a comprehensive dataset on Italian municipalities over the period 2010-2015, we test whether investments in roads and transport services are affected by political manipulations close to elections using as independent variables the year-in-term dummies. We exploit the staggered time of local election to show, indeed, that investment spending on road and transport in the year before election is 30% higher than in the electoral year. Further analyses suggest that our results are more marked (i) in cities guided by a mayor who can run for re-election and (ii) in municipalities with a lower share of educated voters. We isolated the portion of the (exogenous) correlation between the probability of observing an accident and the amount of expenditure on road services that is induced by the political cycle by using the year-in-the-term dummies as instruments. We did not detect any relationship between the increase of investments in road services induced by the political cycle and the local need for road safety, as the probability of having an accident in local roads remained unchanged. Taken together, these findings suggest that politicians manipulate the budget only for re-electoral purposes. Therefore, it is needed a rule, binding visible expenditures, such as those on road services, of the year before the election, or allowing visible expenditures not to exceed those of the previous year within the mandate of the mayor. Such rules would let avoid or at least reduce the estimated inefficient spending by properly programming investment according to real needs and not to electoral convenience.
    JEL: D72 H12 H77 Z18
    Date: 2021–12
  6. By: Chrysanthou, Georgios Marios (Department of Economics, University of Bath, BA2 7AY, UK.); Guilló, María Dolores (University of Alicante, D. Quantitative Methods and Economic Theory)
    Abstract: We explore the economic determinants of individual voting behaviour in five UK electoral cycles during 1992-2014. Using the Understanding Society and the British Household Panel Surveys, we investigate the importance of political sentiments and subjective economic evaluations disentangling persistence of party support and unobserved heterogeneity effects. We estimate joint dynamic tripartite models of party support and egocentric perceptions of current and prospective finances, permitting longitudinal simultaneous determination of perceptions of personal finances and political preferences. The results validate the economic voting hypothesis in cycles adjacent to economic downturns: support for the governing political party is positively related to individual perceptions of own financial wellbeing. Failing to account for simultaneity and not accounting for dynamics and initial political party support inflate the impact of personal financial evaluations.
    Keywords: egocentric economic evaluations; voting behaviour; political preferences; joint models; simultaneity; unobserved heterogeneity
    JEL: C33 C35 D72
    Date: 2021–12–23
  7. By: Giovanni Facchini; Timothy J. Hatton; Max F. Steinhardt
    Abstract: The Immigration Act of 1965 marked a dramatic shift in policy and one with major long term consequences for the volume and composition of immigration to the United States. Here we explore the political economy of a reform that has been overshadowed by the Civil Rights and Great Society programs. We find that public opinion was against expanding immigration, but it was more favorable to abolishing the old country of origin quota system. Votes in the House of Representatives and the Senate were more closely linked to opinion on abolishing the country of origin quotas than to public opinion on the volume of immigration. Support for immigration reform initially followed in the slipstream of civil rights legislation both among members of Congress and their constituents. The final House vote, on a more restrictive version of the bill, was instead more detached from state-level public opinion on civil rights and gained more support from those whose constituents wanted to see immigration decreased.
    Keywords: US immigration policy, 1965 Immigration Act, Congressional voting
    Date: 2021
  8. By: Roy, Souvik; Sadhukhan, Soumyarup
    Abstract: We consider the problem of choosing a committee from a set of available candidates through a randomized social choice function when there are bounds on the size (the number of members) of the committee to be formed. We show that for any (non-vacuous) restriction on the size of the committee, a random social choice function (RSCF) is onto and strategy-proof if and only if it is a range-restricted random dictatorial rule. Next, we consider the situation where an “undesirable committee” can be chosen with positive probability only if everyone in the society wants it as his best committee. We call this property strong unanimity. We characterize all strongly unanimous and strategy-proof RSCFs when there is exactly one undesirable committee. A common situation where a single committee is undesirable is one where the null committee is not allowed to be formed. We further show that there is no RSCF satisfying strong unanimity and strategy-proofness when there are more than one undesirable committees. Finally, we extend all our results when strategy-proofness is strengthened with group strategy-proofness.
    Keywords: Committee Formation; Random Social Choice Function; Strategy-proofness; Ontoness; Strong unanimity; Group strategy-proofness
    JEL: D71 D82
    Date: 2021–11–30

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