nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2009‒06‒03
seven papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. In Silico Voting Experiments By Jean-François Laslier
  2. Focused Power: Experimental Manifestation of the Shapley-Shubik Power Index By Chris Geller; Jamie Mustard; Ranya Shahwan
  3. Stable Coalition-Governments: The Case of Three Political Parties By M. Socorro Puy
  4. Plurality versus proportional electoral rule: study of voters' representativeness By Amedeo Piolatto
  5. Political Economy of Agricultural Policies and Environmental Weights By Cemal Atici
  6. The Impact of Institutions, Culture, and Religion on Per Capita Income By Constanze Dobler
  7. The Costs of Organized Violence: A Review of the Evidence By Stergios Skaperdas

  1. By: Jean-François Laslier (Department of Economics, Ecole Polytechnique - CNRS : UMR7176 - Polytechnique - X)
    Abstract: This paper presents computer simulations of voting rules: Plurality rule, Approval voting and the Copeland and Borda rules, with voters voting sincerly or strategically. Different ways of generating random preference profiles are introduced: Rousseauist cultures are suitable for common interest project assessment; Impartial cultures are standard in Social Choice Theory; Distributive cultures and Spatial Euclidean ones are standard in Political Science.
    Keywords: Social Choice. Voting Rules. Impartial Culture. Condorcet. Borda
    Date: 2009–06–02
  2. By: Chris Geller (Deakin University); Jamie Mustard (Deakin University); Ranya Shahwan
    Abstract: Experiments evaluate the fit of the Shapley-Shubik Power Index to a controlled human environment. Subjects with differing votes divide a fixed purse by majority rule in online chat rooms under supervision. Earnings serve as a measure of power. Chat rooms and processes for selecting subjects reduce or eliminate extraneous political forces, leaving logrolling as the primary political force. Initial proposals by subjects for division of the purse allow measurement of effects from focal points and transaction costs. Net results closely fit the Shapley-Shubik Power Index.
    Keywords: Voting, Power Index, Focal Point, Shapley-Shubik, Experiment
    JEL: C71 C78 C92
    Date: 2007–11–23
  3. By: M. Socorro Puy (Department of Economic Theory, Universidad de Málaga)
    Abstract: We explore to what extent we can propose fixed negotiation rules as well as simple mechanisms (or protocols) that guarantee that politi¬cal parties can form stable coalition-governments. We analyze the case where three parties can hold office in the form of two-party coalitions. We define the family of Weighted Rules, that select political agree¬ments as a function of the bliss-points of the parties, and electoral results (Camson's Law and equal-share among others are included). We show that every weighted rule yields a stable coalition. We make use of the theory of implementation to design a protocol (in the form of a mechanism) that guarantees that a stable coalition will govern. We find that no dominant-solvable mechanism can be used for this purpose, but there is a simultaneous-unanimity mechanism that im¬plements it in Nash and strong Nash equilibrium.
    Keywords: Coalition-government, Stability, Nash-implementation
    JEL: D71 D72
    Date: 2009–06
  4. By: Amedeo Piolatto (Universidad de Alicante)
    Abstract: Thinking of electoral rules, common wisdom suggests that proportional rule is more fair, since all voters are equally represented: at times, it turns out that this is false. I study the formation of both Parliament and Government; for the composition of the former I consider plurality and proportional rule; for the formation of the latter, I assume that parties play a non-cooperative game à la Rubinstein. I show that, unless parties are impatient to form a Government, proportional electoral rules translate into a more distortive distribution of power among parties than plurality rule; this happens because of the bargaining power of small parties during Government formation.
    Keywords: electoral systems, proportional rule, plurality rule, voters¿ representation.
    JEL: C71 D72 H1 P16
    Date: 2009–01
  5. By: Cemal Atici
    Abstract: In this paper, a theoretical model was constructed to endogenously determine environmental weights in the agricultural sector. The conventional Political Preference Function was extended to include environmental weights. The model was applied to the wheat sector in the EU for the years 1990 and 2006. The results imply that designing protection levels that have small disparities between domestic and world prices and avoiding excess production cause a positive environmental surplus which leads to higher environmental weights.
    Keywords: Environmental Weights, Political Preference Functions, EU, Agriculture
    JEL: Q18 Q51 H23
    Date: 2008–06
  6. By: Constanze Dobler (Universität Hohenheim)
    Abstract: Despite many approaches of neoclassical and endogenous growth theory, economists still face problems in explaining the reasons for income differences between countries. Institutional economics and the deep determinants of growth literature try to depart from pure economic facts to examine economic development. Therefore, this article analyzes the impact of institutions, geography, and integration on per capita income. Concerning theoretical reasoning, emphasis is on the emergence of institutions and their effect on economic growth. However, institutions can appear in different shapes since political, legal, and economic restrictions are not the only constraints on human behaviour. Norms and values also limit possible actions. Therefore, a differentiation between formal and informal institutions is made. Informal institutions are defined as beliefs, attitudes, moral, conventions, and codes of conduct. Property rights are assumed to be the basic formal institutional feature for economic success. Despite their direct impact on growth through individual utility maximization, property rights also make a statement concerning the political and legal environment of a country. Regarding the regression analysis, different religious affiliations are used as instrumental variables for formal and informal institutions. The regression results affirm a crucial role of informal and formal institutions concerning economic development. However, a high proportion of Protestant citizens encourage informal institutions that support economic growth, while a high Muslim proportion of the population is negatively correlated with growth-supporting formal institutions.
    Keywords: culture, economic development, institutions, property rights, religion
    JEL: A13 H11 Z10 Z12 Z13
    Date: 2009–03
  7. By: Stergios Skaperdas (Department of Economics, University of California-Irvine)
    Abstract: I critically review recent studies that estimate those costs of violence and conflict that can emerge among organized political groupings, from states, religious and ethnic organizations to guerillas and paramilitaries. The review includes studies that estimate direct and indirect costs due to internal conflicts (civil wars and other lower-level conflicts), terrorism, and external conflicts, including military spending. There are a number of key theoretical concerns on what counts as a cost, and, depending on the methods and evidence used, estimated costs vary widely. However, even minimum estimates are economically significant, especially for low-income countries. This is even more so when the costs of different types of organized conflict and violence are aggregated.
    Keywords: Trade openness; Conflict; Property rights; Governance
    JEL: D74 H56 I31 O57
    Date: 2009–06

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