Collective Choice I >> Content Detail

Study Materials


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Readings are also listed by session.

General Books

The main book for the class is:

Amazon logo Persson, Torsten, and Guido Tabellini. Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000. ISBN: 9780262161954. (Referred to as PT in the table below.)

The reading list gives the corresponding sections in PT and exercises. Also use:

Amazon logo Austen-Smith, David, and Jeffrey S. Banks. Positive Political Theory I: Collective Preference. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1998. ISBN: 9780472104802.

Buchanan, James M., and Gordon Tullock. The Calculus of Consent. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1962.

Amazon logo Grossman, Gene M., and Elhanan Helpman. Special Interest Politics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001. ISBN: 9780262072304.

Amazon logo Mueller, Dennis C. Public Choice II. Cambridge, UK: University of Cambridge Press, 1989. ISBN: 9780521379526.

Readings by Session

Note: non-starred readings may be used for political economy paper topics.

1Basic One-Dimensional Electoral Competition

General Framework
*PT. Sections 2.2.1, 2.2.2, 3.1-3.3, 5.1, and 5.2.

Hotelling, Harold. "Stability in Competition." Economic Journal 39 (1929): 41-57.

*Downs, Anthony. An Economic Theory of Democracy. New York, NY: Harper and Row, 1957.

Black, Duncan. The Theory of Committees and Elections. Cambridge, UK: University of Cambridge Press, 1958.

*Roberts, Kevin W. S. "Voting Over Income Tax Schedules." Journal of Public Economics 8 (1977): 329-340.

*Calvert, Randall L. "Robustness of the Multidimensional Voting Model: Candidate Motivations, Uncertainty, and Convergence." American Journal of Political Science 29 (1985): 69-95.

*Alesina, Alberto. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters." American Economic Review 78 (1988): 796-805.

Dixit, Avinash, Gene M. Grossman, and Faruk Gul. "The Dynamics of Political Compromise." Journal of Political Economy 108 (2000): 531-568.

Myerson, Roger B. "Analysis of Democratic Institutions: Structure, Conduct and Performance." Journal of Economic Perspectives 9 (1995): 77-89.

Public Goods and Size of Government
*PT. Section 6.1.

Bergstrom, Theodore C., and Robert P. Goodman. "Private Demands for Public Goods." American Economic Review 63 (1973): 280-296.

Romer, Thomas, and Howard Rosenthal. "The Elusive Median Voter." Journal of Public Economics 12 (1979): 143-170.

Taxation and Income Redistribution
*PT. Section 14.1.

Meltzer, Allan H., and Scott F. Richard. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government." Journal of Political Economy 89 (1981): 914-927.

Persson, Torsten, and Guido Tabellini. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?" American Economic Review 84 (1994): 600-621.

Alesina, Alberto, and Dani Rodrik. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth." Quarterly Journal of Economics 109 (1994): 465-490.

Macroeconomic Policy
*PT. Section 16.2.

Alesina, Alberto. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-Party System as a Repeated Game." Quarterly Journal of Economics 102 (1987): 651-678.

Alesina, Alberto, John Londregan, and Howard Rosenthal. "A Model of the Political Economy of the United States." American Political Science Review 87 (1993): 12-33.
5-6Multiparty Competition and Comparative Electoral Systems*Cox, Gary W. "Centripetal and Centrifugal Incentives in Electoral Systems." American Journal of Political Science 34 (1990): 903-35.

*Palfrey, Thomas R. "Spatial Equilibrium with Entry." The Review of Economic Studies 51 (1984): 139-156.

Myerson, Roger B., and Robert J. Weber. "A Theory of Voting Equilibria." American Political Science Review 87 (1993): 102-14.

*Weber, Shlomo. "On Hierarchical Spatial Competition." Review of Economic Studies 59 (1992): 407-425.

Cox, Gary W. "Electoral Equilibrium under Alternative Voting Institutions." American Journal of Political Science 31, no. 1 (1987): 82-108.

Austen-Smith, David. "Electing Legislatures." Caltech Social Science Working Paper 644 (1987).
7Multidimensional Electoral Competition

Possibility of a Solution
*PT. Section 2.3.1.

*Plott, Charles R. "A Notion of Equilibrium and Its Possibility Under Majority Rule." The American Economic Review 57 (1967): 787-806.

*McKelvey, Richard D. "Intransitivities in Multidimensional Voting Models and Some Implications for Agenda Control." Journal of Economic Theory 12 (1976): 472-482.

Schofield, Norman. "Instability of Simple Dynamic Games." Review of Economic Studies 45, no. 3 (1978): 575-94.

———. "Generic Instability of Majority Rule." Review of Economic Studies 50, no. 4 (1983): 695-705.
8Set-valued Solution ConceptsFeld, Scott L., and Bernard Grofman. "Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for a Majority Winner in n-Dimensional Spatial Voting Games: An Intuitive Geometric Approach." American Journal of Political Science 31 (1987): 709-728.

Miller, Nicholas R., Bernard Grofman, and Scott L. Feld. "The Geometry of Majority Rule." Journal of Theoretical Politics 1 (1989): 379-406.

*Kramer, Gerald H. "Dynamical Model of Political Equilibrium." Journal of Economic Theory 16 (1977): 310-34.

McKelvey, Richard D. "Covering Dominance, and Institution-Free Properties of Social Choice." American Journal of Political Science 30 (1986): 283-314.

*Cox, Gary W. "The Uncovered Set and the Core." American Journal of Political Science 31 (1987): 408-422.
9Probabilistic Voting ModelsHinich, Melvin J., John O. Ledyard, and Peter C. Ordeshook. "Nonvoting and the Existence of Equilibrium Under Majority Rule." Journal of Economic Theory 4 (1972): 144-153.

Coughlin, Peter C., and Shmuel Nitzan. "Electoral Outcomes with Probabilistic Voting and Nash Social Welfare Maxima." Journal of Public Economics 15 (1981): 113-121.
10Structure-induced Equilibrium Models*PT. Section 2.3.2.

Shepsle, K. A. "Institutional arrangements and equilibrium in multi-dimensional voting models." American Journal of Political Science 23 (1979): 27-59.
11Other Models*PT. Section 5.3.

*Caplin, Andrew, and Barry Nalebuff. "On 64%-Majority Rule." Econometrica 56 (1988): 787-814.

*Besley, Timothy, and Stephen Coate. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy." Quarterly Journal of Economics 112, no. 1 (1997): 85-114.

Osborne, Martin J., and Al Slivinski. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates." Quarterly Journal of Economics 111, no. 1 (1996): 65-96.
12Elections with Imperfect Information

Learning by Voters
*McKelvey, Richard D., and Peter C. Ordeshook. "Sequential Elections with Limited Information." American Journal of Political Science 29 (1985): 480-512.

———. "Elections with Limited Information: A Fulfilled Expectations Model Using Contemporaneous Poll and Endorsement Data as Information Sources." Journal of Economic Theory 36 (1985): 55-85.

Austen-Smith, David, and Jeffrey S. Banks. "Information Aggregation, Rationality, and the Condorcet Jury Theorem." The American Political Science Review 90, no. 1 (1996): 34-45.

Feddersen, Timothy, and Wolfgang Pesendorfer. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections with Private Information." Econometrica 65, no. 5 (1997): 1029-1058.

Heidhues, Paul, and Johan Lagerlöf. "Hiding Information in Electoral Competition." Games and Economic Behavior 42, no. 1 (2002): 48-74.

Schultz, Christian. "The Politics of Persuasion when Voters are Rational." Scandinavian Journal of Economics 97, no. 3 (1995): 357-368.
13Agency Models*PT. Sections 4.4, 9.2, and 16.1.

Barro, Robert J. "The Control of Politicians: An Economic Model." Public Choice 14 (1973): 19-42.

Ferejohn, John. "Incumbent Performance and Electoral Control." Public Choice 50 (1986): 5-25.

Rogoff, Kenneth. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles." American Economic Review 80 (1990): 21-37.

Amazon logo *Fearon, James. "Electoral Accountability and the Control of Politicians: Selecting Good Types Versus Sanctioning Poor Performance." In Democracy, Accountability, and Representation. Edited by A. Przeworski, Susan C. Stokes, and Bernard Manin. Cambridge, UK; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1999, chapter 2. ISBN: 9780521646161.

Myerson, Roger B. "Effectiveness of electoral systems for reducing government corruption: A game theoretic analysis." Games and Economic Behavior 5 (1993): 118-132.
14-15Models of Political PartiesAldrich, John H. "A Downsian Spatial Model with Party Activism." American Political Science Review 77 (1983): 974-90.

Amazon logo ———. Why Parties?: The Origin and Transformation of Political Parties in America. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1995, chapters 1, 2, and 7. ISBN: 9780226012728.

*Snyder, James M., Jr. "Safe Seats, Marginal Seats, and Party Platforms: The Logic of Platform Differentiation." Economics and Politics 6 (1994): 201-213.

Roemer, John E. "Why the Poor Do Not Expropriate the Rich: An Old Argument in New Garb." Journal of Public Economics 70 (1998): 399-424.

Snyder, James M., Jr., and Michael M. Ting. "An Informational Rationale for Political Parties." American Journal of Political Science 46: 90-110.
16Vote-Buying, Vote-Trading, and Resource Allocation

Vote-Buying, Vote-Trading in Legislatures
Schwartz, Thomas. "The Universal-Instability Theorem." Public Choice 37, no. 3 (1982): 487-501.

*Groseclose, Timothy, and James M. Snyder, Jr. "Buying Supermajorities." American Political Science Review 90 (1996): 303-315.

Snyder, James M., Jr. "Resource Allocation in Multiparty Elections." American Journal of Political Science 34 (1990): 59-73.
17Probabilistic Voting Models*PT. Sections 2.3.2, 3.4, 7.1, 7.4, and chapter 8.

Lindbeck, Assar, and Jorgen W. Weibull. "Balanced-Budget Redistribution as the Outcome of Political Competition." Public Choice 52, no. 3 (1987): 273-297.

*Dixit, Avinash, and John Londregan. "Redistributive Politics and Economic Efficiency." American Political Science Review 89 (1995): 856-866.

———. "The Determinants of Success of Special Interests in Redistributive Politics." Journal of Politics 58 (1996): 1132-1155.
18"Colonel Blotto" Models - Cultivating MinoritiesMyerson, Roger B. "Incentives to Cultivate Favored Minorities Under Alternative Electoral Systems." American Political Science Review 87 (1993): 856-69.

Lizzeri, Alessandro, and Nicola Persico. "The Provision of Public Goods under Alternative Electoral Incentives." American Economic Review 91, no. 1 (2001): 225-39.
19-20Interest Groups and Lobbying*PT. Sections 3.5, 7.3, and 7.5.1.

*Peltzman, Sam. "Toward a More General Theory of Regulation." Journal of Law and Economics 19, no. 2 (1976): 211-240.

Becker, Gary S. "A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence." Quarterly Journal of Economics 98 (1983): 371-400.

*Grossman, Gene M., and Elhanan Helpman. "Protection for Sale." American Economic Review 84 (1994): 833-850.

*———. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics." Review of Economic Studies 63 (1996): 265-286.

Dixit, Avinash, Gene M. Grossman, and Elhanan Helpman. "Common Agency and Coordination: General Theory and Application to Government Policy Making." Journal of Political Economy 105 (1997): 752-769.

Hirshleifer, Jack. "The Paradox of Power." Economics and Politics 3 (1991): 177-200.

Lohmann, Suzanne. "Information, Access, and Contributions: A Signaling Model of Lobbying." Public Choice 85, no. 3-4 (1995): 267-284.

Bargaining in Legislatures
*PT. Sections 5.4 and 7.2.

*Baron, David P., and John Ferejohn. "Bargaining in Legislatures." American Political Science Review 83 (1989): 1181-206.

*Snyder, James M., Michael M. Ting, and Stephen Ansolabehere. "Legislative Bargaining Under Weighted Voting." American Economic Review 95, no. 4 (2005): 981-1004.

*———. "Bargaining in Bicameral Legislatures: When and Why Does Malapportionment Matter?" American Political Science Review 97, no. 3 (2003): 471-81.

Jackson, Matthew O., and Boaz Moselle. "Coalition and Party Formation in a Legislative Voting Game." Journal of Economic Theory 103, no. 1 (2002): 49-87.
22Coalitions and Government Stability*PT. Sections 7.5.2, 7.5.3, and 10.

Weingast, Barry R., and William J. Marshall. "The Industrial Organization of Congress; or, Why Legislatures, Like Firms, Are Not Organized as Markets." Journal of Political Economy 96, no. 1 (1988): 132-163.

Austen-Smith, David, and Jeffrey S. Banks. "Elections, Coalitions, and Legislative Outcomes." American Political Science Review 82 (1988): 405-422.

Laver, Michael, and Kenneth A. Shepsle. "Coalitions and Cabinet Government." American Political Science Review 84 (1990): 873-890.

Baron, David P. "Government Formation and Endogenous Parties." American Political Science Review 87 (1993): 34-47.

*Diermeier, Daniel, and Timothy J. Feddersen. "Cohesion in Legislatures and the Vote of Confidence Procedure on Legislative Bargaining." American Political Science Review 92, no. 3: 611-621.

Baron, David P. "Comparative Dynamics of Parliamentary Governments." American Political Science Review 92, no. 3 (1998): 593-610.
23Informational vs. Distributive Theories of LegislatureShepsle, Kenneth A., and Barry R. Weingast. "The Institutional Foundations of Committee Power." American Political Science Review 81, no. 1 (1987): 85-104.

Gilligan, Thomas W., and Keith Krehbiel. "Organization of Informative Committees by a Rational Legislature." American Journal of Political Science 34 (1990): 531-64.

Ferejohn, John, and Keith Krehbiel. "The Budget Process and the Size of the Budget." American Journal of Political Science 31 (1987): 296-320.
24Legislative-Executive Relations*PT. Section 9.1.

Miller, Gary J., and Terry M. Moe. "Bureaucrats, Legislators and the Size of Government." American Political Science Review 77 (1983): 297-322.

*Banks, Jeffrey S. "Agency Budgets, Cost Information, and Auditing." American Journal of Political Science 33 (1989): 670-699.

*Dixit, Avinash. "Power of Incentives in Private versus Public Organizations." American Economic Review 87 (1997): 378-382. (Papers and Proceedings)

McCarty, Nolan M. "Presidential Pork: Executive Veto Power and Distributive Politics." American Political Science Review 94, no. 1 (2000): 117-12.
25Representative vs. Direct DemocracySchultz, Christian. "Information, Polarization and Accountability in Democracy." mimeo (2004). (PDF)

Maskin, Eric, and Jean Tirole. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government." AER 94, no. 4 (2004): 1034-1054.

Alesina, Alberto, and Guido Tabellini. "Bureaucrats or Politicians?" NBER Working Paper 10241 (2004).


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