nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2023‒03‒20
five papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Disentangling individual biases in jury voting: An empirical analysis of voting behavior in the Eurovision Song Contest By Budzinski, Oliver; Gänßle, Sophia; Weimar, Daniel
  2. Organizing for Collective Action: Olson Revisited By Marco Battaglini; Thomas R. Palfrey
  3. A Glimpse of Freedom: Allied Occupation and Political Resistance in East Germany By Luis R. Martinez; Jonas Jessen; Guo Xu
  4. Non-Majoritarian Institutions - A Menace to Constitutional Democracy? By Voigt, Stefan
  5. Fostering (supra-)regional cooperation through LEADER/CLLD By Fynn, Lynn-Livia; Pollermann, Kim

  1. By: Budzinski, Oliver; Gänßle, Sophia; Weimar, Daniel
    Abstract: The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the worldwide biggest live media events and the world's leading broadcast of an international music competition. The countries of the European Broadcasting Union participate by sending an artist (or a group of artists) to the contest and both expert juries and the television audience of all participating countries vote in a special ranking and points system to determine the eventual winner. A substantial list of cultural economics papers empirically analyzed the voting behavior of juries (consisting of music industry professionals) and audiences to identify voting biases because of cultural and political influences on the voting bodies. Due to limited data availability, this literature suffered from having to treat the national juries as a black box even though they are composed of individuals with different demographic characteristics (age, gender, etc.) and expert backgrounds (industry managers, musicians, composers, music journalists, etc.). Our analysis benefits from utilizing new data about each individual member of the jury including their role within the jury (e.g., the chairperson) as well as about their individual votes in the ESC. Therefore, for the first time, we can disentangle the voting behavior of the juries and track the voting behavior of individual jury members. Based upon a rich dataset including personal characteristics (gender, age, career/professional background, nationality, cultural heritage, etc.) of both jury members (voters) and performing artists in the contest (voting objects), we analyze whether the increasing similarity between voter (jury member) and voting object (contest performer) correlates with upward biases in terms of awarded points. In doing so, we employ the concept of Mahalanobis distance to measure similarity and employ modern econometric regression methods to derive our results. Inter alia, we identify conditions under which the similarity of jury members with contestants leads to a pro-bias in voting (across different countries). Interestingly, the professional background of jury members also significantly influences the individual voting bias, for instance, experts with classical music backgrounds display significantly less bias than presenters of radio or television programs or music journalists. Altogether, our analysis allows us to look beyond the hitherto dominating 'country X is biased for/against country Y' conclusions and track voting biases on an individual level, based on personal characteristics.
    Keywords: voting bias, jury voting, Eurovision Song Contest, media economics, cultural economics
    JEL: Z10 L82 C01
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Marco Battaglini; Thomas R. Palfrey
    Abstract: We study a standard collective action problem in which successful achievement of a group interest requires costly participation by some fraction of its members. How should we model the internal organization of these groups when there is asymmetric information about the preferences of their members? How effective should we expect it to be as we increase the group’s size n? We model it as an optimal honest and obedient communication mechanism and we show that for large n it can be implemented with a very simple mechanism that we call the Voluntary Based Organization. Two new results emerge from this analysis. Independently of the assumptions on the underlying technology, the limit probability of success in the best honest and obedient mechanism is the same as in an unorganized group, a result that is not generally true if obedience is omitted. An optimal organization, however, provides a key advantage: when the probability of success converges to zero, it does so at a much slower rate than in an unorganized group. Because of this, significant probabilities of success are achievable with simple honest and obedient organizations even in very large groups.
    JEL: C72 D71 D82
    Date: 2023–02
  3. By: Luis R. Martinez; Jonas Jessen; Guo Xu
    Abstract: This paper exploits the idiosyncratic line of contact separating Allied and Soviet troops within East Germany at the end of WWII to study political resistance in a non-democracy. When Nazi Germany surrendered, 40% of what would become the authoritarian German Democratic Republic was initially under Allied control but was ceded to Soviet control less than two months later. Brief Allied exposure increased protests during the major 1953 uprising. We use novel data on the appointment of local mayors and a retrospective survey to argue that even a “glimpse of freedom” can foster civilian opposition to dictatorship.
    Keywords: East Germany, political resistance, protest, autocracy, spatial RDD, World War II
    JEL: F51 H10 N44 P20
    Date: 2022
  4. By: Voigt, Stefan
    Abstract: Over the last couple of decades, non-majoritarian institutions (NMIs) have been introduced in many countries. Of late, they have been criticized as promoting technocracy to the detriment of democracy. A number of political scientists even argue that they would strengthen populists and be, hence, one reason for democratic backsliding. This paper does three things: It firstly briefly discusses the empirical evidence for the claim that NMIs have strengthened populists. It secondly argues that not all NMIs are born equal and therefore proposes a taxonomy enabling us to distinguish different types. And it finally discusses the question how the delegation of policy-making competence to experts can be legitimized relying on a specific version of social contract theory. To develop the argument, the interdependence cost calculus developed by Buchanan and Tullock (1962) is modified by explicitly including the respective decision-making procedure, distinguishing between direct democracy, representative democracy, and expert decision-making.
    Keywords: Nonmajoritarian institutions, constitutional democracy, technocracy, independent regulatory agencies, populism, social contract theory
    JEL: H11 K38 P51
    Date: 2023
  5. By: Fynn, Lynn-Livia; Pollermann, Kim
    Abstract: Community-led local development (CLLD), initiated as LEADER in 1991, is a bottom-up-oriented, participatory approach driven by cooperation between local actors in rural areas. It forms part of regional development programmes (RDPs), which are the basis of funding in rural areas in the EU. Through LEADER/CLLD, budgets are allocated to LEADER regions on the local level to support the implementation of projects in line with so-calledlocal development strategies (LDS), which state the distinct objectives for local development in each region. This contribution focusses on one of the LEADER features, namely "LEADER cooperation", which explicitly supports cooperation between rural communities from two or more different regions through joint projects. The two main types of cooperation are 1. inter-territorial cooperation between two or more LAGs or comparable groups within a Member State and 2. transnational cooperation between two or more LAGs or comparable groups from different Member States. In our contribution, we present and discuss the state of implementation (experiences with different types, topics) as well as administrative aspects and outcomes of cooperation projects based on data from the evaluation of LEADER in four German federal states . In a first analysis of results, the larger time investment required in supraregional cooperation and different project selection criteria are identified as common challenges faced during the planning and management of LEADER cooperation projects while knowledge gain is widely seen as an added benefit.
    Keywords: LEADER, cooperation project, rural partnership, Germany
    JEL: R58
    Date: 2023

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