New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2005‒03‒13
three papers chosen by

  1. Economic, Social and Demographic Determinants of Political Participation in Latin America: Evidence from the 1990s By Alejandro Gaviria; Ugo Panizza; Jessica Seddon Wallack
  2. Forms of Democracy, Policy and Economic Development By Torsten Persson
  3. Businessman Candidates: Special-Interest Politics in Weakly Institutionalized Environments By Scott Gehlbach; Konstantin Sonin

  1. By: Alejandro Gaviria (Universidad Los Andes); Ugo Panizza (Research Department, Inter-American Development Bank); Jessica Seddon Wallack (UC San Diego)
    Abstract: This paper uses international data on voter turnout and individual-level data to describe levels and distribution of political participation in Latin America. The paper finds that, while voter turnout in Latin America is rather low, the analysis of more general indicators of political activism reveals that participation is fairly homogenous across socio-economic strata. The finding that participation in Latin America, though low, is comparatively egalitarian seems to partly contradict the perception that Latin America’s history has been one of exclusion and marginalization.
    Keywords: Democracy, Election, Participation, Latin America
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2003–09
  2. By: Torsten Persson
    Abstract: The paper combines insights from the recent research programs on constitutions and economic policy, and on history, institutions and growth. Drawing on cross-sectional as well as panel data, it presents new empirical results showing that the form of democracy (rather than democracy vs. non-democracy) has important consequences for the adoption of structural polices that promote long-run economic performance. Reforms into parliamentary (as opposed to presidential), proportional (as opposed to majoritarian) and permanent (as opposed to temporary) democracy appear to produce the most growth-promoting policies.
    JEL: F43 H11 O57
    Date: 2005–03
  3. By: Scott Gehlbach; Konstantin Sonin
    Abstract: We initiate examination of the political boundaries of the firm by exploring the phenomenon of “businessman candidates”: business owners and managers who bypass conventional means of political influence to run for public office themselves. We argue that in-house production of political influence will be more likely in institutional environments where candidates find it difficult to make binding campaign promises. When campaign promises are binding, then a businessman may always pay a professional politician to run on the platform that political competition would otherwise compel the businessman to adopt. In contrast, when commitment to a campaign platform is impossible, then candidate identity matters for the policies that will be adopted ex post, implying that a businessman may choose to run for office if the stakes are sufficiently large. We illustrate our arguments through discussion of gubernatorial elections in postcommunist Russia, where businessmen frequently run for public office, institutions to encourage elected officials to keep their campaign promises are weak, and competition for rents is intense.
    Keywords: Businessman candidates, elections, citizen candidates, institutions, political economy
    JEL: D72 P16 P26 N40
    Date: 2004–12–01

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