nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2005‒04‒09
three papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Anonymous voting and minimal manipulability By Maus,Stefan; Peters,Hans; Storcken,Ton
  2. Choosing Electoral Rules: Theory and Evidence from US Cities By Philippe Aghion; Alberto Alesina; Francesco Trebbi
  3. Party formation in single-issue politics By Martin J. Osborne; Rabee Tourky

  1. By: Maus,Stefan; Peters,Hans; Storcken,Ton (METEOR)
    Abstract: We compare the manipulability of different choice rules by considering the number of manipulable profiles. We establish the minimal number of such profiles for tops-only, anonymous, and surjective choice rules, and show that this number is attained by unanimity rules with status quo.
    Keywords: public economics ;
    Date: 2005
  2. By: Philippe Aghion; Alberto Alesina; Francesco Trebbi
    Abstract: This paper studies the choice of electoral rules, in particular, the question of minority representation. Majorities tend to disenfranchise minorities through strategic manipulation of electoral rules. With the aim of explaining changes in electoral rules adopted by US cities (particularly in the South), we show why majorities tend to adopt "winner-take-all" city-wide rules (at-large elections) in response to an increase in the size of the minority when the minority they are facing is relatively small. In this case, for the majority it is more effective to leverage on its sheer size instead of risking to concede representation to voters from minority-elected districts. However, as the minority becomes larger (closer to a fifty-fifty split), the possibility of losing the whole city induces the majority to prefer minority votes to be confined in minority-packed districts. Single-member district rules serve this purpose. We show empirical results consistent with these implications of the model.
    Date: 2005–04
  3. By: Martin J. Osborne; Rabee Tourky
    Abstract: We study party formation in a general model of collective decision-making, modelling parties as agglomerations of policy positions championed by decision-makers. We show that in the presence of economies of party size and a one-dimensional policy space, players agglomerate into exactly two parties. This result does not depend on the magnitude of the economies of party size or sensitively on the nature of the individuals\' preferences. Our analysis encompasses several models, including decision-making in committees with costly participation and representative democracy in which the legislature is elected by citizens, for a wide range of electoral systems including plurality voting and proportional representation. The result implies that a multiplicity of parties hinges on the presence of more than one significant political issue or of diseconomies of party size.
    JEL: D70 D72
    Date: 2005–03–11

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