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Midterm

EMREAS 13 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Mancur Olson, Voting ParadoxExam


Department
General Education
Course Code
EMREAS 13
Professor
Shepsle
Study Guide
Midterm

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EMR-13 Midterm Examination
Fall 2012
Welcome to the midterm examination of EMR-13. Below are six questions. You are required to answer
question #1. In addition you may choose to answer three of the remaining five for a total of four. Each is
worth 25 points. Spend five minutes reading over the questions; five minutes on planning your answers;
and ten or so minutes writing an answer.
1. (REQUIRED) Based on your reading, thinking, and experience in the experiments, how
important is communication in strategic interaction? Describe some of the experiments
(1) committee decision making; (2) prisoners’ dilemma, coordination, and stag hunt; (3) public
goods; and (4) externalities and indicate whether you believe communications (as in the “chat
option” of experiment #2) would, should, or will affect final outcomes. There is no right answer
here, only good arguments. So make one!
2. The Condorcet Paradox (or Cyclical Majority Problem) is of increasing importance as the number
of alternatives and/or the number of voters increases. Describe this and explain its relevance for
the idea of (i) the “public interest” and (ii) a “mandate” from an electoral victory claimed by a
politician. Feel free to draw on the one dimensional and the multidimensional spatial model in
your discussion.
3. The Median Voter Theorem, and the use to which it is put in Anthony Downss analysis, suggests
strong centripetal forces at work in elections, driving competing candidates toward one anothers
positions on issues. Explain why this is so. Are there factors limiting convergence? If so,
identify and discuss some of them.
4. Is voting a waste of time? Giving money to a candidate? Volunteering for a candidate?
5. In the production of public goods, what is free-riding, when is it a problem, and what, if anything,
can be done about it?
6. In the years since Mancur Olson published The Logic of Collective Action, there has been an
explosion of interest groups and lobbying, both in Washington and in state capitals. Why should
this have happened? That is, what circumstances, group types, or group strategies can account
for the increasing number of lobbying groups?
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