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Extremes and Moderates: A Characterization and an Application to Lobbying

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  • Kunal Sengupta
  • Murali Agastya

Abstract

Abstract: In a society where individuals differ in their valuation of different social policies, when might one consider a given individual as having references that are extreme relative to the others? And how important are such preferences in determining eventual policy? In this paper, we describe an individual as being extreme if her views differ from the mainstream to the extent that the rest of the society is able to unanimously agree on a compromise policy that they strictly prefer to what might have been the outcome if such an individual has her own way. Relying on the intermediate property of preferences due to Grandmont [1978] we provide a simple geometric characterization of extreme preferences. Furthermore, we also present an illustrative positive model of lobbying activity where we apply our characterization result to show that every equilibrium social policy is determined only by the activities of those holding extreme preferences even when they are a minority

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Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings with number 404.

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Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:nasm04:404

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Keywords: Extremes; moderates; intermediate preferences; collective decisions and lobbying;

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  1. Caplin, A. & Nalebuff, B., 1989. "Aggregation And Social Choice: A Mean Voter Theorem," Discussion Papers 1989_31, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  2. Grandmont, Jean-Michel, 1978. "Intermediate Preferences and the Majority Rule," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(2), pages 317-30, March.
  3. Martin Osborne & Jeffry Rosenthal & Matthew A. Turner, 1998. "Meetings with costly participation," Working Papers mturner-98-02, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  4. Becker, Gary S, 1983. "A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400, August.
  5. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-21, September.
  6. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1999. "Conflict and Distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 379-415, August.
  7. Demange, G., 1991. "Intermediate Preferences and Stable Coalition Structures," DELTA Working Papers 91-16, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  8. Abhijit Banerjee & Rohini Somanathan, 2001. "A Simple Model Of Voice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 189-227, February.
  9. Esteban, J. & Ray, D., 1999. "Collective Action and Group Size Paradox," Papers 23, El Instituto de Estudios Economicos de Galicia Pedro Barrie de la Maza.
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