nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2015‒05‒30
eleven papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber
McNeese State University

  1. On the Positive Role of Negative Political Campaigning By Maarten C. W. Janssen; Mariya Teteryatnikova
  2. Is the left-right alignment of parties outdated? By Tangian, Andranik S.
  3. The Indigenous Roots of Representative Democracy By Jeanet Bentzen; Jacob Gerner Hariri; James A. Robinson
  4. Beyond Radicalism and Resignation: The Competing Logics for Public Participation in Policy Decisions By Rikki Dean
  5. The Political Economy of Inclusive Rural Growth By Michael Carter; John Morrow
  6. The Political Economy of Public Income Volatility: With an Application to the Resource Curse By James A. Robinson; Ragnar Torvik; Thierry Verdier
  7. Ghost-House Busters: The Electoral Response to a Large Anti Tax Evasion Program By Lorenzo Casaburi; Ugo Troiano
  8. Rigidity of Public Contracts By Marian Moszoro; Pablo T. Spiller; Sebastian Stolorz
  9. Political Bonds: Political Hazards and the Choice of Municipal Financial Instruments By Abhay Aneja; Marian Moszoro; Pablo T. Spiller
  10. Insurgency and Small Wars: Estimation of Unobserved Coalition Structures By Francesco Trebbi; Eric Weese
  11. The Political Economy of State and Local Investment in Pre-K Programs By Matthew E. Kahn; Kyle Barron

  1. By: Maarten C. W. Janssen; Mariya Teteryatnikova
    Abstract: This paper studies the incentives of parties in political campaigns to disclose their true, intended policies to voters in a setting where these policies are exogenously given and where they are chosen strategically. Parties compete for the vote share that determines their political power or percentage of seats won in the election. We consider two cases: one in which parties can only disclose their own policy (no negative political campaigning) and the other, in which they can also disclose the policy of their adversary (negative political campaigning). In both cases and irrespective of whether policies are exogenous or strategic, full revelation is one of the equilibrium outcomes. More importantly, in case of negative campaigning, all equilibrium outcomes, with full and partial disclosure, are such that all voters make choices that they would have also made under full disclosure. If parties do not or are not allowed to engage in negative campaigning, a large variety of nondisclosure equilibria exist where voters' choices are dierent from those under full disclosure.
    JEL: D43 D82 D83 M37
    Date: 2015–05
  2. By: Tangian, Andranik S.
    Abstract: The advocates of modern western democracy promote the viewpoint that the class division of the society is becoming outdated. We attempt to disprove this state ment with an example of 28 German parties who participated in the 2013 federal election. The official party positions on 38 policy issues are considered and the parties are identified with vectors of this 38-dimensional policy space. The statement in question, that there is no predominant political axis, would imply that the party vectors are scattered homogeneously, making a ballshaped cloud of `observations'. However, the Prime Component Analysis (PCA) shows that the party vectors constitute a thin ellipsoid whose two longest diameters cover 83.4% of the total variance. The consequent party ordering is the left-right axis rolled in a circumference, making the far-left and far-right ends meet. Basing on this empirical evidence, we conclude that neither the left-right characterization of parties nor the class opposition is outdated.
    Date: 2015
  3. By: Jeanet Bentzen; Jacob Gerner Hariri; James A. Robinson
    Abstract: We document that rules for leadership succession in ethnic societies that antedate the modern state predict contemporary political regimes; leadership selection by election in indigenous societies is associated with contemporary representative democracy. The basic association, however, is conditioned on the relative strength of the indigenous groups within a country; stronger groups seem to have been able to shape national regime trajectories, weaker groups do not. This finding extends and qualifies a substantive qualitative literature, which has found in local democratic institutions of medieval Europe a positive impulse towards the development of representative democracy. It shows that contemporary regimes are shaped not only by colonial history and European influence; indigenous history also matters. For practitioners, our findings suggest that external reformers' capacity for regime-building should not be exaggerated.
    JEL: D72 N4 P16
    Date: 2015–05
  4. By: Rikki Dean
    Abstract: From the World Bank to the Occupy Movement, support for greater citizen participation in social policy decisions has become ubiquitous. This paper argues that existing typologies of participation are problematic in that they do not recognise the plurality of competing participatory logics that explain this rise in support for participation from groups with such divergent world views. Participatory practice is constructed in multiple ways, and each construction can only be understood with reference to the normative conception of societal organisation it encompasses. However, existing typologies take one of two approaches: either they assume one particular normative bias and categorise participatory forms as accordingly legitimate or illegitimate (for instance, Arnstein's ladder), or they categorise by institutional design features without reference to the broader social and political ideology that informs the use of these designs. This paper draws on Grid-Group Cultural Theory to outline an alternative approach. Participatory practice is categorised along two intersecting dimensions: sociality, the extent to which participation is solidaristic or agonistic, and negotiability, the extent to which participatory spaces are prescribed or negotiated. From these dimensions four archetypes of participation are derived, each with its own participatory logic, conception of the participant, preferred institutional forms, and links to broader social and political philosophies.
    Keywords: public participation, citizen engagement, participatory democracy, deliberative democracy, participatory governance, choice, voice, bureaucracy, health policy, housing policy, social exclusion policy, participation typology, Grid-Group Cultural Theory
    Date: 2014–12
  5. By: Michael Carter; John Morrow
    Abstract: Commentators on the ‘East Asian Miracle’ of inclusive rural growth have often pointed toward shared growth policies. But why were these policies not chosen elsewhere? This paper shows that economies with a stronger middle class may sustain higher productivity through public good provision. We model voters who invest in either subsistence or technologies in which public goods complement private capital. Investment and technology choices vary with wealth and the level of public goods enforced by political lobbies. We show that increased productive possibilities, such as those of an emerging middle class, can further power reforms when money matters in politics.
    Date: 2015–04–14
  6. By: James A. Robinson; Ragnar Torvik; Thierry Verdier
    Abstract: We develop a model of the political consequences of public income volatility. As is standard, political incentives create inefficient policies, but we show that making income uncertain creates specific new effects. Future volatility reduces the benefit of being in power, making policy more efficient. Yet at the same time it also reduces the re-election probability of an incumbent and since some of the policy inefficiencies are concentrated in the future, this makes inefficient policy less costly. We show how this model can help think about the connection between volatility and economic growth and in the case where volatility comes from volatile natural resource prices, a characteristic of many developing countries, we show that volatility in itself is a source of inefficient resource extraction.
    JEL: D72 D78 Q2
    Date: 2015–05
  7. By: Lorenzo Casaburi; Ugo Troiano
    Abstract: The incentives of political agents to enforce tax collection are key determinants of the levels of compliance. We study the electoral response to the Ghost Buildings program, a nationwide anti-tax evasion policy in Italy that used innovative monitoring technologies to target buildings hidden from tax authorities. The program induced monetary and non-monetary benefits for non-evaders. A one standard deviation increase in town-level program intensity leads to a 4.8 percent increase in local incumbent reelection rates. In addition, these political returns are higher in areas with lower tax evasion tolerance and with higher efficiency of public good provision, implying complementarity among enforcement policies, the underlying tax culture, and the quality of the government.
    JEL: D72 H26
    Date: 2015–05
  8. By: Marian Moszoro; Pablo T. Spiller; Sebastian Stolorz
    Abstract: We apply algorithmic data reading and textual analysis to compare the features of contracts in regulated industries subject to public scrutiny (which we call "public contracts") with relational private contracts. We show that public contracts are lengthier and have more rule-based rigid clauses; in addition, their renegotiation is formalized in amendments. We also find that contract length and the frequency of rigidity clauses increases in political contestability and closer to upcoming elections. We maintain that the higher rigidity of public contracts is a political risk adaptation strategy carried out by public agents attempting to lower third-party opportunistic challenges.
    JEL: D23 D73 D78 H57 K23
    Date: 2015–05
  9. By: Abhay Aneja; Marian Moszoro; Pablo T. Spiller
    Abstract: We study the link between the choice of rule-based public contracts and political hazards using the municipal bond market. While general obligation bonds are serviced from all municipal revenue streams and offer elected officials financial flexibility, revenue bonds limit the discretion that political agents have in repaying debt as well as the use of revenues from the projects financed by the debt. We predict that public officials choose revenue bonds when elections are very contested to signal trustworthiness and transparency in contracting to the voter. We test this hypothesis on municipal finance data that includes 6,500 bond issuances nationwide as well as election data on over 400 cities over 20 years. We provide evidence that in politically contested cities, mayors are more likely to issue revenue bonds. The correlation is economically significant: a close victory margin of winning candidates and more partisan swings increases the probability of debt being issued as a revenue bond by 3–15% and the probability of issuing bonds through competitive bids by 7%. We test a few additional hypotheses that strengthen the argument that the choice of revenue bonds is a political risk adaptation of public agents so as to signal commitment and lower the likelihood of successful political challenges of misuse of funds.
    JEL: D23 D73 D78 H57 K23
    Date: 2015–05
  10. By: Francesco Trebbi; Eric Weese
    Abstract: Insurgency and guerrilla warfare impose enormous socioeconomic costs and often persist for decades. This paper studies the detection of unobserved coalitions of insurgent groups in conflict areas, and their main socioeconomic determinants. We present a novel methodology based on daily geocoded incident-level data on insurgent attacks, and provide an application in the context of the Afghan conflict during the 2004-2009 period. We show statistically that the Afghani Taliban are not an umbrella coalition, but rather a highly unified group, and that their span of control has grown substantially beyond ethnic Pashtun areas post-2007.
    JEL: O1 P48
    Date: 2015–05
  11. By: Matthew E. Kahn; Kyle Barron
    Abstract: The expansion of access to publicly provided pre-kindergarten bundles together redistribution to the poor with an early human capital investment. Financing publicly provided pre-K investment is mainly a state and local issue. Which voters favor local pre-K expansion? This paper uses several new data sets to describe the circumstances such that local voters reveal a willingness to spend on an early intervention that may not yield direct benefits for them. Republican voters consistently oppose the expansion of publicly provided pre-K. Suburban voters also tend to oppose such investment. We explore several possible explanations for these facts.
    JEL: H41 H72 R2
    Date: 2015–05

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