Journal of Theoretical Politics, Volume 24, Number 4, October 2012

On the rhetorical strategies of leaders: Speaking clearly, standing back,
and stepping down
Torun Dewan and David P Myatt
Followers wish to coordinate their actions in an uncertain environment. A follower would like his action to be close to some ideal (but unknown) target; to reflect his own idiosyncratic preferences; and to be close to the actions of others. He learns about his world by listening to leaders. Followers fail to internalize the full benefits of coordination and so place insufficient emphasis on the focal views of relatively clear leaders. A leader sometimes stands back, by restricting what she says, and so creates space for others to be heard; in particular, a benevolent leader with outstanding judgement gives way to a clearer communicator in an attempt to encourage unity amongst her followers. Sometimes a leader receives
no attention from followers, and sometimes she steps down (says nothing); hence a leadership elite emerges from the endogenous choices of leaders and followers.
communication  leadership  rhetoric
An alternative mechanism through which economic inequality facilitates
collective action: Wealth disparities as a sign of cooperativeness
Tim Johnson and Oleg Smirnov
Past models treat economic inequality as an exogenous condition that can provide individuals a dominant  incentive to produce collective goods unilaterally. Here we part with that tradition so as to treat economic inequality and collective action as endogenous, and to examine whether economic inequality can foster collective action even when all individuals can gain from free-riding. Using evolutionary game theory and computer simulations, we study whether cooperation can evolve when agents play multiple, one-shot prisoner’s dilemma (PD) games per generation and employ strategies that condition cooperative play on their game partners’ wealth holdings. In this game environment, we find that collective action succeeds via a strategy in which players choose to cooperate when joining a PD with an economic equal and defect when partnered with a player possessing wealth holdings unequal to their own. These results signal an alternative avenue through which economic inequality can influence the viability of collective action. Coequals  collective action  cooperation  economic inequality  prisoner’s dilemma
Dropping the unitary actor assumption: The impact of intra-party
delegation on coalition governance
Thomas M Meyer
What happens to cabinet governance if parties do not act as ‘unitary actors’? In this paper, I examine the consequences of intra-party dissent for coalition governments in parliamentary systems. Drawing on the principal–agent literature, I develop a model in which party agents, namely cabinet ministers and legislators rather than parties as collective actors, decide on specific policies. The individuals’ amount of loyalty determines the degree of party unity. I use simulation techniques to analyze the power of an agenda-setting minister in a two-party coalition conditional on the level of party unity. The results suggest that the minister’s agenda-setting power diminishes if parliamentarians and cabinet members aim at implementing their personal policy preferences. However, the party not in charge of the respective portfolio may benefit from disunity within its own ranks. This counter-intuitive result raises doubts about the widespread view that internal unity strengthens the bargaining power of political parties. agency problems  delegation  parliamentary democracy parties unitary actor assumption
Narrowing the field in elections: The Next-Two rule
Steven J Brams and D Marc Kilgour
We suggest a new approach to narrowing the field in elections, based on the ‘deservingness’ of candidates to be contenders in a runoff, or to be declared one of several winners. Instead of specifying some minimum percentage (e.g., 50) that the leading candidate must surpass to avoid a runoff (usually between the top two
candidates), we propose that the number of contenders depends on the distribution of votes among all candidates. Divisor methods of apportionment proposed by Jefferson and Webster, among others, provide measures of deservingness, but they can prescribe a runoff even when one candidate receives more than 50 percent of
 the vote. We propose a new measure of derservingness, called the Next-Two rule, which compares the performance of candidates to the two that immediately follow them. It identifies as contenders candidates  who are bunched together near the top. We apply the Next-Two rule to several empirical examples. apportionment methods  contenders in elections  runoff elections  short lists
Qualitative voting
Rafael Hortala-Vallve
Can we devise mechanisms that allow voters to express the intensity of their preferences when monetary transfers are forbidden? Can minorities be decisive over those issues they feel very strongly about? As opposed to the usual voting system (one person – one decision – one vote), we propose a voting system where each
agent is endowed with a fixed number of votes that can be distributed freely among a set of issues that need to be approved or dismissed. Its novelty relies on allowing voters to express the intensity of their preferences in a simple manner. This voting system is optimal in a well-defined sense: in a strategic setting with two voters,
two issues and preference intensities uniformly and independently distributed across possible values, Qualitative Voting Pareto dominates Majority Rule and, moreover, achieves the only exante optimal (incentive-compatible) allocation. The result also holds true with three voters, as long as the voters’ preferences towards the issues differ sufficiently. alternatives to Majority Rule  conflict resolution intensity problem  voting
Partisan agenda control in the US house: A theoretical exploration
Jeffery A Jenkins and Nathan W Monroe
While a number of scholars have focused on the importance of partisan agenda control in the US House,  few have examined its uneven consequences within the majority party. In this paper, we explore ‘counterfactual’ utility distributions within the majority party, by comparing policy outcomes under a party-less median voter model
to policy outcomes under party-based positive and negative agenda control models. We show that the distribution of policy losses and benefits resulting from agenda control are quite similar for both the positive and negative varieties. In both cases, moderate majority-party members are made worse off by the exercise of partisan agenda control, while those to the extreme side of the majority-party median benefit disproportionately. We also consider the benefit of agenda control for the party as a whole, by looking at the way changes in majority-party homogeneity affect the
summed utility across members. Interestingly, we find that when the distance between the floor and majority-party medians decreases, the overall value of positive and negative agenda control diminishes. However, we also find support
for the ‘conditional party government’ notion that, as majority-party members’ preferences become more similar, they have an increased incentive to grant agenda-setting power to their leaders.