Autumn 2017

Dondena Political Economy Seminar Series

FALL 2017

12.45 pm via Rontgen 1

(Room numbers noted. Titles and abstracts will be posted as they become available.)


(Download the seminar series poster here)

12 September 12:45pm Room 3B3SR01
Yotam Margalit
Tel Aviv University

How Do Markets Shapes Preferences? Evidence from a Field Experiment

19 September 12:45 Room 3B3SR01
Gabriele Gratton
School of Economics UNSW Business School Sydney

When to Drop a Bombshell

Sender, who is either good or bad, wishes to look good at an exogenous deadline. Sender privately observes if and when she can release a public flow of information about her private type. Releasing information earlier exposes it to greater scrutiny, but signals credibility. In equilibrium bad Sender releases information later than good Sender. We find empirical support for the dynamic predictions of our model using data on the timing of US presidential scandals and US initial public offerings. In the context of elections, our results suggest that “October Surprises” are driven by the strategic behavior of bad Sender. 



26 September, Room 3E4SR03
Alessandra Casella
Columbia University

(Organized in collaboration with Theory and Experiment Seminar Series)

Trading Votes for Votes

We propose a framework to study sequential rounds of vote trading in which voters exchange ballots over different separable binary proposals. We ask: (1) Does decentralized vote trading converge to a stable allocation of votes? (2) What properties must this allocation possess? We prove that if trade is constrained to be pairwise, a stable allocation is always reached in a finite number of trades, for any number of voters and issues, and for any separable preferences. The result however does not extend to trading coalitions of arbitrary size. Conversely, if coalitions have arbitrary size, the stable outcome, if it exists, must be Pareto optimal, but this need not be true if trade is restricted to be pairwise. For any size of the trading coalition, there are special cases such that the stable outcome exists and must coincide with the Condorcet winner, if the latter exists. In general however, existence and welfare properties of the stable outcome have no logical link to the existence of the Condorcet winner. If trading is farsighted, the properties of vote trading are not any stronger.


31 October
Miriam A. Golden

Improving Political Communication: Results from a Pilot Field Experiment in Pakistan

This paper presents results from a pilot field experiment where a low-cost and scalable technology---Interactive Voice Response (IVR)---helped improve political communication in Pakistan by allowing a politician to robocall a large number of his constituents in his own voice to ask them questions and receive feedback. We find that constituent take-up of the technology is high --- 30.8 percent of those called answered at least one question asked by the politician. We find suggestive evidence that those who received the calls stated improved perceptions of government competence and place greater emphasis on incumbent performance in their stated voting decision making calculus. The calls also improve evaluations of the incumbent, especially when estimating support using an endorsement experiment. A follow-up call by the politician cross-randomizes whether the politician exhibits responsiveness to the feedback from voters. A responsive follow-up increases all of the outcomes, although none of the estimates are precisely estimated. The main takeaway of the pilot is that communication from politicians using IVR can encourage constituents to engage more effectively with the democratic process in some ways.

14 November, Room 3B3SR01
Eri Bertsou
University of Zurich

Last updated 24 January 2018 - 19:52:32