Skip to main content

2004 abstracts

718
Voting Power in the Bretton Woods Institutions
Dennis Leech and Robert Leech

The constitutions of the Bretton Woods Institutions require decisions to be taken by weighted voting: each member country possesses a number of votes, depending on its quota allocation, all of which must always be cast as a bloc. This leads to a problem of democratic legitimacy since a member's influence or voting power within such decision-making systems does not necessarily correspond to its voting weight. In previous work is has been shown that the present system of weighted voting in the IMF gives disproportionate influence to the USA at the expense of all other members. This effect occurs in both the board of governors and the executive board. This paper looks at the power implications of the structure of the IMF and World Bank executive boards (in which members are grouped into constituencies that cast their combined weighted votes as a bloc) from the point of view of formal voting power (using the Penrose power index). A criticism that is frequently made is that the present constituency structure and voting weights work to enhance the power of the developed and creditor countries at the expense of the poor, and that many countries are effectively impotent; we show that the weighted voting system adds to this anti-democratic bias and produces some unintended effects (for example the disfranchisement of Estonia in the Nordic/Baltic constituency and of five Central American republics in the Spanish/Mexican/Venezuelan constituency, even though in neither case is there a dictator). We argue generally that the voting power approach is more than just the calculation of power indices and can in fact produce solid facts by identifying cases where members of weighted voting bodies are actually disfranchised.

717
Are Hard Budget Constraints for Sub-National Governments Always Efficient?
Martin Besfamille and Ben Lockwood

In fiscally decentralized countries, sub-national governments (SNGs) may face soft budget constraints and consequently invest and borrow too much. The policy literature claims that, with competitive capital markets and central governments imposing hard budget contraints (HBCs), inefficient investment by SNGs should not arise. We present a model where this is not the case: HBCs can be too "hard" and discourage investment that is socially efficient. The model combines a dynamic commitment problem in Kornai, Maskin and Roland (2004) for central government with a moral hazard problem between central and SNG. The HBC over-incentivises the SNG to provide effort by penalizing it too much for project failure, thus leading ultimately to the possibility that socially efficient projects may not be undertaken.

716

Voting Power and voting Blocs
Dennis Leech and Robert Leech

We investigate the applicability of voting power indices, in particular the Penrose index (aka absolute Banzhaf index), in the analysis of voting blocs by means of a hypothetical voting body. We use the power of individual bloc members to study the implications of the formation of blocs and how voting power varies as bloc size varies. This technique of analysis has many real world applications to legislatures and international bodies. It can be generalised in many ways: the analysis is a priori (assuming formal voting and ignoring actual voting behaviour) but can be made empirical with voting data; it examines the consequences of two blocs but can easily be extended to more.

715

714
Do Elections always Motivate Incumbents
Eric Le Borgne and Ben Lockwood

This paper studies a principal-agent model of the relationship between officeholder and the electorate, where everyone is initially uninformed about the offoceholder’s ability. If office-holder effort and ability interact in the determination of performance in office, then an office-holder has an incentive to learn i.e. raise effort so that performance becomes a more accurate signal of her ability. Elections reduce the learning effect, and the reduction in this effect may more than offset the positive “career concerns” effect of elections on effort. Moreover, when this occurs, appointment of officials may welfare-dominate elections.

713

Referendum-led Immigration Policy in the Welfare State
Yuji Tamura

Majority voting outcomes over di.erent immigration levels of lowskilled workers are examined in a two-period overlapping-generation model in which the labour market and intra- and intergenerational transfer schemes translate the impact of immigration into preferences of heterogeneous citizens. In most of the cases being examined, the model predicts a unique policy choice. However, a voting cycle can also arise in certain circumstances, subjecting the referendum outcome to manipulation.

712
Tax Incidence, Majority Voting and Capital Market Integration
Ben Lockwood and Miltiadis Makris

We re-examine, from a political economy perspective, the standard view that higher capital mobility results in lower capital taxes - a view, in fact, that is not confirmed by the available empirical evidence. We show that when a small economy is opened to capital mobility, the change of incidence of a tax on capital - from capital owners to owners of the immobile factor - may interact in such a way with political decision-making so as to cause a rise in the equilibrium tax. This can happen whether or not the fixed factor (labour) can be taxed.

711

Interpersonal Comparisons of Well-Being
Charles Blackorby and Walter Bossert

This paper, which is to be published as a chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Political Economy, provides an introduction to social-choice theory with interpersonal comparisons of well-being. We argue that the most promising route of escape from the negative conclusion of Arrow's theorem is to use a richer informational environment than ordinal measurability and the absence of interpersonal comparability of well-being. We discuss welfarist social evaluation (which requires that the levels of individual well-being in two alternatives are the only determinants of their social ranking) and present characterizations of some important social-evaluation orderings

710

Multi-profile Welfarism: A Generalisation
Charles Blackorby, Walter Bossert and David Donalson

This paper characterizes welfarist social evaluation in a multi-profile setting where, in addition to multiple utility pro.les, there may be more than one profile of nonwelfare information. We prove a new version of the welfarism theorem in this alternative framework, and we demonstrate that adding a plausible and weak anonymity property to the welfarism axioms generates welfarist social-evaluation orderings that are anonymous.

709
Capital Taxation in a Simple Finite-Horizon OLG Model
Charles Blackorby and Craig Brett

In a simple finite-horizon overlapping-generations model where the government has the power to levy commodity taxes and to implement uniform lump-sum transfers, and individuals as well as the government can purchase units of a storable good in order to transfer resources from the present to the future, we derive the equations that implicitly define the taxes and subsidies that are part of the second-best Pareto optima. In this context we first show that there is production efficiency. We then show that taxes on capital income/savings are required at almost all Pareto optima. Finally we show that there are no restriction on preferences or technologies that are consistent with a general exemption of capital income/savings from the tax base.

708
Taxes and Employment Subsidies in Optimal Redistribtuion Programs
Paul Beaudry and Charles Blackorby

This paper explores how to optimally set tax and transfers when taxation authorities: (1) are uninformed about individuals' value of time in both market and non-market activities and (2) can observe both market-income and time allocated to market employment. In contrast to much of the optimal income taxation literature, we show that optimal redistribution in this environment involves distorting market employment upwards for low net-income individuals through phased-out wage-contingent employment subsidies, and distorting employment downward for high net-income individuals through positive and increasing marginal income tax rate. We also show that workfare may also be used as part of an optimal redistribution program.

707

Anonymous Single-Profile Welfarism
Charles Blackorby, Walter Bossert and David Donaldson

This note reexamines the single-profile approach to social-choice theory. If an alternative is interpreted as a social state of affairs or a history of the world, it can be argued that a multi-profile approach is inappropriate because the information profile is determined by the set of alternatives. However, single-profile approaches are criticized because of the limitations they impose on the possibility of formulating properties such as anonymity. We suggest an alternative de.nition of anonymity that applies in a single-profile setting and characterize anonymous single-profile welfarism under a richness assumption.

706
Understanding the Effects of Early Motherhood in Britain: the effects on mothers
Greg Kaplan, Alissa Goodman and Ian Walker

This paper examines the socio-economic consequences of teenage motherhood for a cohort of British women born in 1970. We employ a number of methods to control for observed and unobserved differences between women who gave birth as a teenager and those who do not. We present results from conventional linear regression models, a propensity score matching estimator, and an instrumental variable estimator that uses miscarriage data to control for unobserved characteristics influencing selection into teenage motherhood. We consider the effects on equivalised family income at age 30, and its constituent parts. We find significant negative effects of teenage motherhood using methods that control only for observed characteristics using linear regression or matching methods. However once unobserved heterogeneity is also taken into account, the evidence for large negative effects becomes much less clear-cut. We look at older and younger teenage mothers separately and find that the negative effects are not necessarily stronger for teenagers falling pregnant before age 18 compared with those falling pregnant between 18 and 20, which could further suggest that some of the negative effects of teenage motherhood are temporary.

705

Testing for Utility Interdependence in Marriage: Evidence from Panel Data
Nattavudh Powdthavee

This paper is the first of its kind to study utility interdependence in marriage using information on subjective well-being of a large sample of people living in the UK over the period 1991-2001. Using “residual” self-rated health to provide instrument for spouse’s well-being and allowing controls on individual fixed effects, we find strong evidence of altruism represented by interdependent relationships in the reported well-being found only among spouses, and not by partners in cohabiting union. Panel data also show that the well-being impact resulting from “caring” can be used to predict future income, unemployment, and marital status for the individuals

704
Horizontal and Vertical Indirect Tax Competition: Theory and Some Evidence from the USA
Michael Devereux, Bel Lockwood and Michela Redoano

This paper provides a simple theoretical framework for analyzing simultaneous vertical and horizontal competition in excise taxes, and estimates equations informed by the theory on a panel of US state and federal excise taxes on cigarettes and gasoline. We also examine the role played by smuggling. The results are generally consistent with the theory, when the characteristics of the markets for the goods are taken into account. For neither good do federal excise taxes affect state taxes. Taxes in neighboring states have a significant and large effect in the case of cigarettes, and a much weaker e.ect in the case of gasoline. we also find that in the setting of cigarette taxes, concerns about cross-border shopping play a more important role than concerns about smuggling

703

Too Much Investment: A Problem of Coordination Failure
David de Meza and Ben Lockwood

This paper shows that coordination failure and contractual incompleteness can lead to socially excessive investment. Firms and workers choose investment levels then enter a stochastic matching process. If investment levels are discrete, then if match frictions are low enough, high investing workers (firms) impose a negative pecuniary externality on any worker (firm) who cuts investment, even by one unit. Specifically, if a worker cuts investment, he subsequently bargains with a firm which has a high outside option due to the fact it can easily match with another highinvesting worker; this lowers the private net benefit to cutting investment below the social net benefit. A similar argument establishes that over-investment can occur when agents are heterogenous i.e. differ in their cost of investing, even if investments are continuous. Then, over-investment occurs because low-cost investors have a private incentive to invest to shift rent away from high-cost investors. Our model can also explain some recent trends in graduate/non-graduate wage differentials.

702
Farsightedly Basic Networks
Frank H Page, Myrna H Wooders and Samir Kamat

We make two main contributions to the theory of economic and social network formation. First, we introduce the notion of a network formation network or a supernetwork. Supernetworks provide a framework in which we can formally define and analyze farsightedness in network formation. Second, we introduce a new notion of equilibrium corresponding to farsightedness. In particular, we introduce the notion of a farsightedly basic network, as well as the notion of a farsighted basis, and we show that all supernetworks possess a farsighted basis. A farsightedly basic network contained in the farsighted basis of a given supernetwork represents a possible final resting point (or absorbing state) of a network formation process in which agents behave farsightedly. Given the supernetwork representation of the rules governing network formation and the preferences of the individuals, a farsighted basis contains networks which are likely to emerge and persist if individuals behave farsightedly.

701

On Purification of Equilibrium in Bayesian Games and Ex-Post Nash Equilibrium
Edward Cartwright and Myrna Wooders

We demonstrate that if any realization for a Bayesian game is, with high profitability, an approximate Nash equilibrium of the induced game of complete information, then there is a purification of that strategy that is an approximate equilibrium of the original Bayesian game. We also provide two examples demonstrating, amongst other things, that the bound we obtain on the distance of the purification from satisfying the requirements for an exact equilibrium is tight.

700

"Survival of the Small Firm and the Entrepreneur under Demand and Efficiency Uncertainty"
Manuel G. Flores-Romaro

699
Warfare and Welfare? Understanding 19th and 20th Century Central Government Spending
Jari Eloranta

This paper evaluates theories aiming to explain the size and growth of government spending, develops a framework inclusive of the so-called guns vs. butter tradeoff effect, and offers insights especially for the period 1870-1938. There were differences between the excessive and responsive government explanations, and between the long-run and short-run explanations, as well as cross-section and time series approaches. Here central government spending, conditioned by the regime characteristics, is proposed to be analyzed on the basis of the demand characteristics of military spending and social spending, their interaction, public debt constraints, as well as institutional constraints and other environmental variables.

698
Scoring Rule Voting Games and Dominance Solvability
Lucia Buenrostro and Amrita Dhillon

This paper studies the dominance-solvability (by iterated deletion of weakly dominated strategies) of general scoring rule voting games. The scoring rules we study include Plurality rule, Approval voting, Negative Plurality Rule, Borda rule and Relative Utilitarianism. We provide a classification of scoring rule voting games according to whether the sufficient conditions for dominance solvability require sufficient agreement on the best alternative or on the worst alternative. We also characterise the solutions when the sufficient conditions for dominance solvability are satisfied

697
Political Parties and Coalition Formation
Amrita Dhillon

This chapter gives a flavour of recent theoretical work on coalition formation and political parties. I survey recent work on both pre-election coalition formation and post election coalition (or government) formation. A number of alternative rationales for the formation of parties are compared with the help of some illustrative examples.

696
A Small Macroeconometric Model of Trade and Inflation in Ghana
Samuel Donyina Ameyaw

This paper contains an empirical investigation of the e¤ects of trade and inflation on a conventional macroeconometric model for Ghana. First, the results corroborate the findings of the Fund that both devaluation and credit restraint are e¤ective in addressing the balance of payment issues facing Ghana. Second, the direction and time pattern of the effects of these two policy experiments are different. Third, further depreciation of the domestic currency is unfavourable to the cause of curbing inflation in Ghana. It rather leads to price increases and is a source of fueling inflation, and could lead to a spiral of inflation through the agitation for higher wages by employees.

695

Testing for Seasonal Unit roots in Heterogeneous Panels
Jesus Otero, Jeremy Smith and Monica Giulietti


This paper uses the approach of Im, Pesaran and Shin (2003) to propose seasonal unit root tests for dynamic heterogeneous panels based on the means of the individuals HEGY test statistics. The standardised t-bar and F-bar statistics are simply averages of the HEGY tests across groups. These statistics converge to standard normal variates.

694
Sensitivity of the Chi-Squared Goodness-of-Fit Test to the Partitioning of Data
Gianna Boero, Jeremy Smith and Kenneth F. Wallis

In this paper we conduct a Monte Carlo study to determine the power of Pearson's overall goodness-of-fit test as well as the "Pearson analog" tests (see Anderson (1994)) to detect rejections due to shifts in variance, skewness and kurtosis, as we vary the number and location of the partition points. Simulations are conducted for small and moderate sample sizes. While it is generally recommended that to improve the power of the goodness-of-fit test the partition points are equiprobable, we find that power can be improved by the use of non-equiprobable partitions.