nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2022‒03‒21
five papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Electoral Competition with Fake News By Gene M. Grossman; Elhanan Helpman
  2. Blame and Praise: Responsibility Attribution Patterns in Decision Chains By Regina Anselm; Deepti Bhatia; Urs Fischbacher; Jan Hausfeld
  3. The Legacy of Authoritarianism in a Democracy By Pramod Kumar Sur
  4. Homophily in Voting Behavior: Evidence from Preferential Voting By Lucie Coufalová; Štěpán Mikula; Michal Ševčík
  5. Minority Underrepresentation in U.S. Cities By Federico Ricca; Francesco Trebbi

  1. By: Gene M. Grossman (Princeton University); Elhanan Helpman (Harvard University)
    Abstract: Misinformation pervades political competition. We introduce opportunities for political candidates and their media supporters to spread fake news about the policy environment and perhaps about parties’ positions into a familiar model of electoral competition. In the baseline model with full information, the parties’ positions converge to those that maximize aggregate welfare. When parties can broadcast fake news to audiences that disproportionately include their partisans, policy divergence and suboptimal outcomes can result. We study a sequence of models that impose progressively tighter constraints on false reporting and characterize situations that lead to divergence and a polarized electorate.
    Keywords: policy formation, probabilistic voting, misinformation, polarization, fake news
    JEL: D78
    Date: 2020–10
  2. By: Regina Anselm; Deepti Bhatia; Urs Fischbacher; Jan Hausfeld
    Abstract: How do people attribute responsibility when an outcome is not caused by a single person but results from a decision chain involving several people? We study this question in an experiment, in which five voters sequentially decide on how to distribute money between them and five recipients. The recipients can reward or punish each voter, which measures responsibility attribution. In the aggregate, we find that responsibility is attributed mostly according to the voters’ choices and the pivotality of the decision, but not for being the initial voter. On the individual level, we find substantial heterogeneity with three overall patterns: Little to no responsibility attribution, pivotality-driven, and focus on choices. These patterns are similar when praising voters for good outcomes and blaming voters for bad outcomes.
    Keywords: Responsibility Attribution, Collective Decision-Making, Voting, Decision Process
    Date: 2022
  3. By: Pramod Kumar Sur
    Abstract: Recent democratic backsliding and the rise of authoritarian regimes around the world have rekindled interest in understanding the causes and consequences of authoritarian rule in democracies. In this paper, I study the long-run political consequences of authoritarianism in the context of India, the world's largest democracy. Utilizing the unexpected timing of the authoritarian rule imposed in the 1970s and the variation in a draconian policy implemented during this period, I document a sharp decline in the share of the then incumbent party's, the Indian National Congress, votes and the probability of its candidates winning in subsequent elections. The decline in the incumbent party's political dominance was not at the expense of a lower voter turnout rate. Instead, a sharp rise in the number of opposition candidates contesting for election in subsequent years played an important role. Finally, I examine the enduring consequences, revealing that confidence in politicians remains low in states where the draconian policy was high. Together, the evidence suggests that authoritarianism in a democracy has a persistent effect on voting behavior, political representation, and confidence in institutions.
    Date: 2022–02
  4. By: Lucie Coufalová (Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic); Štěpán Mikula (Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic); Michal Ševčík (Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic, Mendel University in Brno, Brno, Czech Republic)
    Abstract: Homophily is a strong determinant of many types of human relationships. It affects, for example, whom we marry and potentially also whom we vote for. We use data on preferential voting from Czech parliamentary elections in 2006, 2010, 2013, and 2017 matched with 2011 Census data to identify the effect of homophily on voting behavior. We find that a one percent increase in the share of the municipality’s population that has the same occupation or education level as the candidate increases the number of preferential votes that candidate receives by 0.7% or 0.5%, respectively. We also find that candidates who live in the voters’ municipality receive a substantially higher number of preferential votes.
    Keywords: voting behavior; homophily; preferential voting; Czech parliamentary elections
    JEL: D72 D91 P16
    Date: 2022–03
  5. By: Federico Ricca; Francesco Trebbi
    Abstract: This paper investigates the patterns of Minority representation and voter registration in U.S. municipal governments. For the period 1981-2020, we report substantial levels of strategic underrepresentation of African American, Asian, and Latino voters in U.S. local politics. Disproportionality in the representation and in voter registration rates of Minority groups are widespread, but stronger when racial or ethnic minorities are electorally pivotal. Underrepresentation is determined by the combination of several endogenous institutional features, starting from systematic disparity in voter registration, strategic selection of electoral rules, city’s form of government, council size, and pay of elected members of the council. We provide causal evidence of the strategic use of local political institutions in reducing electoral representation of minorities based on the U.S. Supreme Court narrow decision of Shelby County v. Holder (2013), which deemed unconstitutional Voting Rights Act (VRA) Section 4(b), removing federal preclearance requirements for a specific subset of U.S. jurisdictions.
    JEL: P16 P48
    Date: 2022–02

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