nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2023‒07‒31
six papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Does Anger Drive Populism? By Omer Ali; Klaus Desmet; Romain Wacziarg
  2. Decentralized or Centralized Governance in Social Dilemmas? Experimental Evidence from Georgia By Mekvabishvili, Rati
  3. The Puzzling Practice of Paying “Cash for Votes” By Anand Murugesan; Jean-Robert Tyran
  4. State Repression, Exit, and Voice By Mathias Bühler; Andreas Madestam
  5. A Comparison of Sequential Ranked-Choice Voting and Single Transferable Vote By David McCune; Erin Martin; Grant Latina; Kaitlyn Simms
  6. Political preferences and the spatial distribution of infrastructure:evidence from California’s high-speed rail By Pablo Fajgelbaum; Cecile Gaubert; Nicole Gorton; Eduardo Morales Morales; Edouard Schaal

  1. By: Omer Ali; Klaus Desmet; Romain Wacziarg
    Abstract: We study whether anger fuels the rise of populism. Anger as an emotion tends to act as a call to action against individuals or groups that are blamed for negative situations, making it conducive to voting for populist politicians. Using a unique dataset tracking emotions for a large sample of respondents from 2008 to 2017, we explore the relationship between anger and the populist vote share across U.S. counties. More angry counties displayed stronger preferences for populist candidates during the 2016 presidential primaries and elections. However, once we control for other negative emotions and life satisfaction, anger no longer operates as a separate channel in driving the populist vote share. Instead, our results indicate that a more complex sense of malaise and gloom, rather than anger per se, drives the rise in populism.
    JEL: D72 D91 E71
    Date: 2023–06
  2. By: Mekvabishvili, Rati
    Abstract: The vast majority of experimental studies on the effectiveness of punishments in promoting cooperation in social dilemma situation examine decentralized incentive systems where all group members can punish each other. Cross-societal experimental studies suggest that while decentralized incentives can successfully promote cooperation in one society, they fail to do so in another. So, how is social order, as a large-scale cooperation problem among strangers, maintained in such societies? Many modern societies overcome this problem through well-functioning top-down formal enforcement institutions. In the experimental setting of the public goods game, we compare a strong and weak exogenous centralized incentive system with a decentralized incentive system in the case of Georgia. Our experimental evidence suggests that in Georgia, self-governed groups are doomed to suffer from high inefficiencies under a decentralized peer-to-peer punishment incentive system. They are better off when punishment power is given to an external centralized authority that is not exposed to power abuse risks.
    Keywords: Centralized punishment, Decentralized punishment, Cooperation, Public goods, Welfare
    JEL: C71 C92 H41
    Date: 2023–06–10
  3. By: Anand Murugesan; Jean-Robert Tyran
    Abstract: The expression “cash-for-votes” describes a form of vote buying in which candidates for office pay individuals in exchange for their votes. That practice undermines the functioning of democracy but is pervasive in many parts of the world, especially in the Global South. We discuss estimates of cash-for-votes and rational choice theories to explain their existence. Cash-for-votes under secret ballots is puzzling as secret ballots make it impossible to verify an individual’s vote. We discuss the behavioral and experimental literature emphasizing factors such as reciprocity, unsophisticated voting, and inequality aversion, which complement standard economic explanations of the phenomenon.
    Keywords: democracy, vote buying, secret ballot, reciprocity
    JEL: D72 D73 K42
    Date: 2023
  4. By: Mathias Bühler (LMU Munich); Andreas Madestam (Stockholm University)
    Abstract: What is the political legacy of state repression? Using local variation in state repression during the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia, we investigate the effects of repression on political beliefs and behavior. We find that past state repression decreases votes for an authoritarian incumbent while enhancing electoral competition and support for democratic values four decades later. At the same time, individuals become more cautious in their interactions with the local community: they exhibit less trust, participate less in community organizations, and engage less with local government. Our theoretical model suggests that these opposing forces arise because experiencing repression bolsters preferences for pluralism while also heightening the perceived cost of dissent. Consequently, citizens are more likely to support the opposition in elections (voice) but engage less in civil society (exit) to avoid publicly revealing their political views. Exploring channels of persistence, we demonstrate that repression cultivates a lasting fear of violence as a societal threat, and that genocide memorials and remembrance ceremonies maintain the collective memory of the atrocities.
    Keywords: state repression; political beliefs and behavior; collective memory; state-society relations;
    JEL: D7 N4 O1
    Date: 2023–07–04
  5. By: David McCune; Erin Martin; Grant Latina; Kaitlyn Simms
    Abstract: The methods of single transferable vote (STV) and sequential ranked-choice voting (RCV) are different methods for electing a set of winners in multiwinner elections. STV is a classical voting method that has been widely used internationally for many years. By contrast, sequential RCV has rarely been used, and only recently has seen an increase in usage as several cities in Utah have adopted the method to elect city council members. We use Monte Carlo simulations and a large database of real-world ranked-choice elections to investigate the behavior of sequential RCV by comparing it to STV. Our general finding is that sequential RCV often produces different winner sets than STV. Furthermore, sequential RCV is best understood as an excellence-based method which will not produce proportional results, often at the expense of minority interests.
    Date: 2023–06
  6. By: Pablo Fajgelbaum; Cecile Gaubert; Nicole Gorton; Eduardo Morales Morales; Edouard Schaal
    Abstract: How do political preferences shape transportation policy? We study this question in the context of California's High-Speed Rail (CHSR). Combining geographic data on votes in a referendum on the CHSR with a model of its expected economic benefits, we estimate the weight of economic and non-economic considerations in voters'preferences. Then, comparing the proposed distribution of CHSR stations with alternative placements, we use a revealed-preference approach to estimate policymakers' preferences for redistribution and popular approval. While voters did respond to expected real-income benefits, non-economic factors were a more important driver of the spatial distribution of voters' preferences for the CHSR. While the voter-approved CHSR would have led to modest income gains, proposals with net income losses also would have been approved due to political preferences. For the planner, we identify strong preferences for popular approval. A politically-blind planner would have placed the stations closer to dense metro areas in California.
    Keywords: transportation, infrastructure, political economy
    JEL: H54 P11 R13 R4
    Date: 2023–06

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