ECARES is happy to announce the first of a series of Workshops in Political Economy at the Université libre de Bruxelles (SBS-EM). This first workshop has been organized around the Ph.D. defense of Marco Giani, now at the LSE. We will cover topics such as the composition and realignments of political parties, voting rules, and conflict situations.
Registration is free but compulsory, for logistics reasons (send an email to Nancy :
). Participation to the dinners will be limited to about 25 people, on a first-come first-served basis.
We are looking forward to hosting you for this exciting event,
Co-organisers: Micael Castanheira and Benjamin Solow
Thursday, March 2 (Atrium and room R42.2.110)
12:00 - Registration and Lunch
Stephane Wolton (LSE) - Top-Down Accountability in Autocracy
This paper contends that mass purges are a salient method of top-down accountability used by totalitarian regimes to increase party performance and shape party membership. In our theoretical framework, party members work on independent projects. Their fate, however, is linked through the purge, and a member’s effort depends on the activism of all others via what we call the pool size effect. In turn, the autocrat’s incentive to purge depends on the informativeness of different performance indicators, a function of all members’ effort via what we term the pool makeup effect. These novel pool effects emerge from the many (party members) to one (autocrat) accountability problem faced by the principal. Our approach also highlights how violence affects top-down accountability in autocracy. Greater intensity of violence increases effort, but can impede selection. The autocrat thus cannot escape a trade-off between love (less unity) and fear (more activism).
Scott Tyson (U. Michigan) - Rebel Rebel (joint with Micael Castanheira)
15:30-16:00 - Coffee Break
Philip Verwimp (ECARES, ULB) - War, Poverty and Inequality in Developing Countries: a Review of the Evidence
Does war increase or decrease inequality in developing countries? And what are the channels of war’s impact? The present paper reviews and discusses different approaches and findings presented in the literature. The impact of war in developing countries can be quite different compared to its impact in developed countries. It depends very much on pre-existing inequalities, the type of war, the chosen inequality indicator and post-war policies.
Pierre-Guillaume Méon (CEB, ULB) - Partisan Stereotypes (joint with Carmelo Licata)
Using two surveys, we study how respondents process visual cues to identify the political orientation (left- vs. right-wing) of members of the French National Assembly (referred to as “deputies”), based on official photographs only, to test the type of heuristic that they use. We first confirm that respondents outperform random guesses. Second, we find that their categorizations correlate with observable characteristics (gender, tie color, jewelry) and subjective assessments of deputies’ personality traits (attractiveness, competence, trustworthiness). Third, the objective visual cues that respondents use are consistent with the actual characteristics of left- and right-wing deputies, and respondents mistakenly react to subjective personality traits that differ little across the two groups of deputies. Fourth, left- and right-wing respondents use the same cues in the same way, attractiveness being the only exception. Fifth, the magnitude of the marginal impact of a characteristic on the probability of a respondent categorizing a photograph as left- or right-wing increases strictly with the representativeness of that characteristic. Finally, we find evidence that some characteristics correlate with categorization errors. Findings 1, 2, 4, and the finding that respondents use cues in the correct way are consistent with both Bayesian behavior and the representativeness heuristic. Findings 5, 6, and the finding that respondents react to subjective cues that do not differ across groups are at odds with Bayesian inference but consistent with the representativeness heuristic suggested by Kahneman and Tversky (1972) and recently modelled by Gennaioli and Shleifer (2010), and Bordalo et al. (forthcoming).
19:30 - Dinner
Friday, March 3d (room R42.2.110)
9:00-9:45 - Light Breakfast
Benjamin Solow (ECARES, ULB) - "Extremist Politics and the Preference for Compromise" (joint with Alex Poterack)
Spatial models of electoral competition almost never have pure-strategy Nash equilibria in multiparty competition. We generalize the canonical citizen-candidate model to a multidimensional setting and provide conditions for existence of equilibria, then characterize relevant features of the set of equilibria. In particular, we characterize the first multi-candidate equilibrium where a candidate wins office with certainty under free entry. We later incorporate two well-documented violations of the Weak Axiom of Revealed Preference in a model of plurality elections: the compromise and attraction effects. The compromise effect refers to the tendency of individuals to choose an intermediate option from a choice set, whereas the attraction effect refers to the tendency to choose options which have asymmetric dominance relationships to some other alternatives in the choice set. These effects generate novel incentives for candidate behavior. Specifically, entry by an extreme candidate may shift the frame of reference for some voters in ways which favor particular moderate candidates. Incorporating these preferences generate equilibria where extremist candidates enter plurality elections in order to attractively frame their preferred moderate, even if the extremist has probability zero of obtaining office themselves.
Damien Bol (King's College London) - Explaining Vote Choice Regret with a Mixed-Utility Model
(joint with André Blais and Jean-François Laslier)
In this paper, we build upon an original pre- and post-election survey conducted before and after the 2015 Canadian election. The week directly following the election, Canadians were asked for which party they voted and whether they regret their choice. We find that 39% of them are not perfectly happy with their decision, and 4% even say that they made a bad decision. We show that the surprisingly high proportion of regrets can be rationalized when we consider that voters are maximizing a mixed-utility composed of both instrumental and expressive benefits. This study brings an important contribution to the literature on voting behavior, which usually considers that voters are either instrumental or expressive, but not both at the same time.
11:45-12:15 - Coffee break
Jean-Francois Laslier (CNRS and PSE) - Multiwinner Voting Rules in Practice: an Efficiency-Inequality Dilemma
Multiwinner voting rules take as input preferences over candidates and return sets of candidates ("winning committees") of fixed size. These rules could be used for parliamentary election if electoral law would allow panachage across parties, or elections of councils etc. Using survey data from 73 political elections, in which between six and nine parties participated, we study six multi-winner voting rules that have been proposed in the literature and illustrate what they could produce. We show, in particular, how these rules score on criteria of Proportionality, Efficiency, and Inequality.
13:15-14:30 - Lunch
Enriqueta Aragonès (Institut d’Anàlisi Econòmica, CSIC) - Preference Shocks that Destroy Party Systems
15:30 - Coffee break
Marco Giani (ULB and LSE) - Ph.D. defense: Essays on Political Behavior
Room R42.2.113, followed by a drink