New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2008‒07‒14
five papers chosen by

  1. The Myth of the Myth of the Rational Voter By Dave Colander
  2. The Impact of Immigration on Election Outcomes in Danish Municipalities By Gerdes, Christer; Wadensjö, Eskil
  3. From Individual Attitudes towards Migrants to Migration Policy Outcomes: Theory and Evidence By Facchini, Giovanni; Mayda, Anna Maria
  4. Why Populist Democracy Promotes Market Liberalization By Grosjean, Pauline; Senik, Claudia
  5. Between Agora and Shopping Mall By Falkinger, Josef

  1. By: Dave Colander
    Abstract: This paper argues that Bryan Caplan’s Myth of the Rational Voter overstates in case against democracy by not dealing with what might be called the historical/instrumentalist argument for democracy. It argues that the case for democracy that he attacks is primarily an academic exercise, which makes his argument against that case also an academic exercise. It further argues that the supposed policy choice that Caplan presents between the market and democracy is not the correct choice, and that his proposals that economists should be given more voting weight in the democratic decision process is inappropriate.
    Date: 2008–07
  2. By: Gerdes, Christer (SOFI, Stockholm University); Wadensjö, Eskil (Stockholm University)
    Abstract: In this paper we study the effects on support for different political parties due to an increase in the immigrant share in Danish municipalities during the period 1989-2001. We find that the immigrant share has some notable effects. The anti-immigration parties are among those that win votes when the immigrant share increases, but a pro-immigration party on the left also gains from an increase in the immigrant share. The non-socialist party that is most pro-immigration, however, loses votes when the immigrant share increases. Our results indicate that in the elections some Danish voters voice their displeasure about immigration in their own neighbourhood. But we find no clear indication of a general decline in support for the welfare state on account of immigration, as several scholars have been predicting.
    Keywords: immigration, immigrants, elections, racism, xenophobia
    JEL: J15 J61 D72
    Date: 2008–07
  3. By: Facchini, Giovanni (University of Essex); Mayda, Anna Maria (Georgetown University)
    Abstract: In democratic societies individual attitudes of voters represent the foundations of policy making. We start by analyzing patterns in public opinion on migration and find that, across countries of different income levels, only a small minority of voters favour more open migration policies. Next we investigate the determinants of voters' preferences towards immigration from a theoretical and empirical point of view. Our analysis supports the role played by economic channels (labour market, welfare state, efficiency gains) using both the 1995 and 2003 rounds of the ISSP survey. The second part of the paper examines how attitudes translate into a migration policy outcome. We consider two alternative political-economy frameworks: the median voter and the interest groups model. On the one hand, the restrictive policies in place across destination countries and the very low fractions of voters favouring immigration are consistent with the median voter framework. At the same time, given the extent of individual-level opposition to immigration that appears in the data, it is somewhat puzzling, in a median-voter perspective, that migration flows take place at all. Interest-groups dynamics have the potential to explain this puzzle. We find evidence from regression analysis supporting both political-economy frameworks.
    Keywords: immigration policy, political economy, interest groups, median voter, immigration
    JEL: F22 J61
    Date: 2008–05
  4. By: Grosjean, Pauline (University of California, Berkeley); Senik, Claudia (University of Paris IV Sorbonne, PSE)
    Abstract: Using a new set of micro evidence from an original survey of 28 transition countries, we show that democracy increases citizens’ support for the market by guaranteeing income redistribution to inequality-averse agents. Our identification strategy relies on the restriction of the sample to inhabitants of open borders between formerly integrated countries, where people face the same level of market development and economic inequality, as well as the same historically inherited politico-economic culture. Democratic rights increase popular support for the market. This is true, in particular, of inequality-averse agents, provided that they trust political institutions. Our findings suggest that one solution to the recent electoral backlash of reformist parties in the former socialist block lies in a deepening of democracy.
    Keywords: democracy, income inequality, redistribution, market liberalization, trust
    JEL: D63 H1 H53 I38 O1 P26
    Date: 2008–06
  5. By: Falkinger, Josef (University of Zurich)
    Abstract: Advertisements provide consumers with knowledge about private products, whereas political information is required to provide voters with knowledge of public issues. Modern information technologies and globalization are increasing the exposure of individuals to information. Goods advertising is competing with political information for people's attention. This paper presents a politico-economic equilibrium model in which the tension between private and public agendas can be analysed. It is shown that in an information-rich society, international goods market integration tends to reduce the quality of public policy. Complementing economic integration with political integration can increase the gains from globalisation, though not in all cases.
    Keywords: globalisation, agenda-setting, information-rich societies, scarcity of attention, advertising
    JEL: D83 L86 H11
    Date: 2008–05

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