The Political Economy of Social Choices (15w5108)

Arriving in Oaxaca, Mexico Sunday, July 26 and departing Friday July 31, 2015


(Wilfrid Laurier University)

Norman Schofield (Washington University in St. Louis)


The aim of this workshop is to bring together social choice and political economy theorists to present their current research.

Recent research on social choice issues by workshop participants include: Additive representation of separable preferences on infinite products; social welfare with incomplete ordinal interpersonal comparisons; and variable population voting rules (Pivato); Informational efficiency of scoring rules (Maniquet & Goetz). Efficiency, equity, and timing in voting mechanisms (Morton); Super-majority rules with veto powers (Bouton, Llorente-Saguer & Marlherbe); the Condorcet jury theorem under three alternatives; and in large elections with multiple alternatives (Maniquet & Goertz). Majority voting when voters belong to separate groups (De Donder); and in multidimensional policy spaces (Le Breton & De Donder). Complexity and the Geometry of Voting (Saari). Two-party competition with persistent policies (Forand); and markovian elections (Duggan & Forand). Ranking multidimensional alternatives and uncertain prospects (Mongin & Pivato). Ranking wheels' and decision cycles (Saari). Strategy proofness under single peaked preferences; and for individual and group social choice functions (Barbera). Equilibrium selection in imperfect information games with externalities (Eguia, Llorente-Saguer, Morton & Nicolò). Optimality of the relative utilitarian bargaining solution; risky social choice with incomplete or noisy interpersonal comparisons of well-being; and social welfare with incomplete ordinal interpersonal comparisons (Pivato).

Political economists in the participant list have studied equilibria under 1) different institutional settings; 2) different informational assumptions; 3) electoral campaigns; 4) political polarization, 5) voter turnout, 6) bargaining; 7) agenda setters and legislatures and 8) in the resolution of conflict.

  1. Institutions and political systems: Political competition under different institutions (Aragones; Iaryczower & Mattozzi); Comparing democracy and tyranny; examining leadership transitions as a chaotic process; the convergence of parties to the electoral mean in countries using different electoral systems where regional differences may matter (Schofield & Gallego). The persistence of insecure property rights and prosperity without conflict (Gonzalez & Neary).

  2. Information: Its role between parties and voters (Aragones); in communication among voters; and in corrupt committees (Morton); in giving incumbents an advantage (Bevia and Llavador); or in court (Iaryczower & Shun). The role of asymmetric information in abstention and coordination problems in committees; or for experts (Morton); in voting blocs, party discipline and the formation of parties (Eguia); in the career of politicians (Mattozzi & Merlo; Diermeier, Keane & Merlo); in party formation under different electoral systems (Morelli), or in the competition in the provision of information (Forand).

  3. Campaigns: Its role in rhetoric; and the selection of issues (Aragones); on substance advertising (Morton); finance (Keane & Merlo; Mueller); on finance reform (Daley & Snowberg); or in the decisiveness of contributors' perceptions in elections (Morton). The role of campaign limits in non-majoritarian elections (Iaryczower & Mattozzi) or on how negative advertising affects political competition (Gandhi, Iorio & Urban).

  4. Polarization: Its role in candidates' entry (Grosser & Palfrey); in districts and party discipline (Castanheira); in ideology and wealth distribution; and in Gerrymandering (McCarty, Poole & Rosenthal); in Congress (Poole & Rosenthal); and in minority governments (Cho & Kalandrakis).

  5. Turnout: Its effect on quorum in referenda (Herrera & Mattozzi)o in comparing quorum rules; and on gender quotas (Morelli); under aggregate uncertainty on voter turnout (Kalandrakis); in multiple elections (Merlo & Degan); in power sharing (Herrera, Morelli & Palfrey); in exit polls and bandwagon voting; in large and small electorates; or in primaries (Morton).

  6. Bargaining: Examining the role that focal points (Binmore), the ranking of opponents (Cressman & Gallego), legislative power brokers (Iaryczower & Oliveros), coalitions (Morelli), legislative policy compromises (Morelli; Gallego & Sconnes) and conflict (Sanchez-Pages) play in the bargaining process. Examining the role of information under different bargaining protocols (Hortala-Vallve, Llorente-Saguer and Nagel), or bargaining under incomplete information (Sanchez-Pages). Finding stationary bargaining equilibria in one dimensional spaces under (super) majority rules (Cardona & Ponsati) or over multi-dimensional policies when players have maximin and leximin preferences (Ponsati & Marmol). Others examine the equilibria in a one-dimensional model (Kalandrakis) or in regular bargaining games (Dugan & Kalandrakis) or in intergoverndemental bargaining (Gallego & Scoones).

  7. Agenda setters and legislatures: The effect of cheap talk (Casella) or seniority (Eguia) on the agenda setter. Legislative bargaining under proportional representation and majority rule (Maniquet & Goetrz); under coalition formation (Kalandrakis); under polarization in minority governments (Cho & Kalandrakis). Legislative policy-making is examined in a dynamic setting (Dugan & Kalandrakis); under the dynamics of public investment (Battaglini, Nunnari & Palfrey); by comparing legislative packaging and single-issue bills (Goertz) or multi-issue bargaining in a game of alternating offers (Maniquet & Goetrz). Examining punishment and party power in Congress (Snowberg).

  8. Conflict resolution: The effect of endogenous strength on conflict and of conflict on war and peace (Bevia). Of mediation in peace; of resource concentration on civil war, of strategic militarization on deterring war or of political biases on war; and the reasons for war (Morelli). The effect of optimism and commitment in bargaining and war (Ponsati & Sánchez-Pagés) or the role of within-group inequality in conflict against a unified threat (Cubel & Sánchez-Pagés). A graph model for conflict resolution (Hipel, Kilgour & Fang); the quarreling paradox; and deterrent threats (Kilgour); Multiple criteria approaches to group decision and negotiation (Kilgour, Ye, and Hipel); and a game of terror (Asal & Kilgour). The use of coercion in society: insecure property rights, conflict and economic backwardness (Gonzalez).

The main focus of the workshop is on the application of mathematical and game theory tools to social choice and political economy problems of which the above list is but a relevant sub-sample of the research under taken by the participants. The workshop will have lectures in many sub-areas in social choice and political economy listed above.