nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2007‒04‒21
eight papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. The Single-mindedness theory: empirical evidence from the U.K. By Emanuele, Canegrati
  2. Women and budget deficits By Sébastien Wälti; Signe Krogstrup
  3. Political leadership, conflict, and the prospects for constitutional peace By Jennings, Colin
  4. Inequality, Fiscal Capacity and the Political Regime: Lessons from the Post-Communist Transition By Christopher Gerry; Tomasz Mickiewicz
  5. Corruption and Socioeconomics Determinants:Empirical Evidence of Twenty Nine Countries By Halkos, George; Tzeremes, Nickolaos
  6. The Political Economy of Growth and Governance By Paul G. Hare
  7. Horizontal inequalities, political environment, and civil conflict : evidence from 55 developing countries, 1986-2003 By Ostby, Gudrun
  8. Risk, Government and Globalization: International Survey Evidence By Anna Maria Mayda; Kevin H. O'Rourke; Richard Sinnott

  1. By: Emanuele, Canegrati
    Abstract: In this paper I will exploit answers coming from the British Election Study in order to assess the validity of the Single Mindedness Theory. In particular, I will evaluate whether political preferences of voters for political candidates depend on their age and some other characteristics such as gender, education, religion, social and economic conditions. Performing LOGIT and PROBIT regression I will demonstrate that variable age is statistically significant, demonstrating that Single Mindedness Theory assumptions hold in the UK political environment.
    Keywords: Single-mindedness; political survey; electorate preferences; Logit; Probit
    JEL: H31 D72 D83 H56 H51 C35 C25 D78 J14
    Date: 2007–04
  2. By: Sébastien Wälti (Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin); Signe Krogstrup (Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva)
    Abstract: If women have different economic preferences than men, then female economic and political empowerment is likely to change policy and household decisions, and in turn macroeconomic outcomes. We test the hypothesis that female enfranchisement leads to lower government budget deficits due gender differences in preferences over fiscal outcomes. Estimating the impact of women’s vote on budget deficits in a differences-in-differences regression for Swiss cantonal panel data, we find that including women in the electorate reduces average per capita budget deficits by a statistically significant amount.
    Keywords: Fiscal policy, budget deficit, enfranchisement, median voter, gender
    JEL: D7 E6 H6 J16
    Date: 2006–09
  3. By: Jennings, Colin
    Abstract: The emphasis on constitutional political economy has been that new rules and institutions can be devised that improve the welfare of a society. Given the number of societies that are infected with political conflict and, as a result, lower levels of welfare, this pape r attempts to analyze why we do not see more constitutional conventions aimed at eliminating conflict. The key idea is that expressively motivated group members may create incentives for instrumentally motivated group leaders such that it leads them to choose conflict rather than compromise. Nonetheless, it is not argued that such a peace is impossible to obtain. This leads to a further question, that if such a constitutional agreement could be found, would the expressive perspective alter the conventional instrumental perspective on the sort of constitutional reform that should be undertaken?
    Keywords: Education and Society,Post Conflict Reintegration,Peace & Peacekeeping,Social Conflict and Violence,Services & Transfers to Poor
    Date: 2007–04–01
  4. By: Christopher Gerry; Tomasz Mickiewicz
    Abstract: Using panel data for twenty-seven post-communist economies between 1987-2003, we examine the nexus of relationships between inequality, fiscal capacity (defined as the ability to raise taxes efficiently) and the political regime. Investigating the impact of political reform we find that full political freedom is associated with lower levels of income inequality. Under more oligarchic (authoritarian) regimes, the level of inequality is conditioned by the state’s fiscal capacity. Specifically, oligarchic regimes with more developed fiscal systems are able to defend the prevailing vested interests at a lower cost in terms of social injustice. This empirical finding is consistent with the model developed by Acemoglu (2006). We also find that transition countries undertaking early macroeconomic stabilisation now enjoy lower levels of inequality; we confirm that education fosters equality and the suggestion of Commander et al (1999) that larger countries are prone to higher levels of inequality.
    Keywords: income inequality, democracy, oligarchy, fiscal capacity, economic reform, transition
    JEL: D31 H21 P26 P35
    Date: 2006–07–01
  5. By: Halkos, George; Tzeremes, Nickolaos
    Abstract: This paper measures the effect of different socioeconomic determinants on countries’ transparency efficiency. Specifically, using Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), the transparency efficiency of twenty nine countries is calculated. Then with the help of factor analysis we extract two factors from seven socioeconomic variables according to their communality of influence. Finally we set up a logistic regression using the efficiencies derived from DEA and the factors extracted from factor analysis. The results suggest that higher transparency efficiency appears in countries with cultural values of lower power distance, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance and lower individualism. Additionally, lower inflation rates and lower political and economical risks constitute to higher levels of countries’ transparency efficiency while positive GDP growth doesn’t ensure countries’ transparency efficiency.
    Keywords: Perceived transparency; business ethics; cultural dimensions; factor analysis; logistic regression; DEA
    JEL: C14 M20 C10 Z10
    Date: 2007–01–03
  6. By: Paul G. Hare
    Abstract: There are diverse ideas about governance around the world, and this paper studies them through the following questions: (a) what does the available evidence tell us about the political and institutional requirements for sustained economic growth? (b) What do we need from the state to secure growth? (c) How do a country's internal characteristics support or impede its growth? (d) How does the external environment of a country influence its economic growth prospects? These elements are then put together into a model of growth, from which we derive conclusions about governance arrangements. Thus the paper outlines a simple framework within which to think about the political economy of growth that can be summed up in five points: good government, with secure political conditions; credible macroeconomic stability; savings and investment high enough to sustain adequate growth; openness to the world economy; and the discipline of external engagement. It then argues that the growth model needs to be underpinned by suitable governance arrangements, and suggests that good governance has two main elements, each quite complex in practice, namely: protection of property rights, and accountability of government.
    Keywords: political economy, global economy, economic growth, governance, macroeconomic stability, property rights
    JEL: O43 H11
    Date: 2007
  7. By: Ostby, Gudrun
    Abstract: Several studies of civil war have concluded that economic inequality between individuals does not increase the risk of internal armed conflict. This is perhaps not so surprising. Even though an individual may feel frustrated if he is poor compared with other individuals in society, he will not start a rebellion on his own. Civil wars are organized group conflicts, not a matter of individuals randomly committing violence against each other. Hence, we should not neglect the group aspect of human well-being and conflict. Systematic inequalities that coincide with ethnic, religious, or geographical cleavages in a country are often referred to as horizontal inequalities (or inter-group inequalities). Case studies of particular countries as well as some statistical studies have found that such inequalities between identity groups tend to be associated with a higher risk of internal conflict. But the emergence of violent group mobilization in a country with sharp horizontal inequalities may depend on the characteristics of the political regime. For example, in an autocracy, grievances that stem from group inequalities are likely to be large and frequent, but state repression may prevent them from being openly expressed. This paper investigates the relationship between horizontal inequalities, political environment, and civil war in developing countries. Based on national survey data from 55 countries it calculates welfare inequalities between ethnic, religious, and regional groups for each country using indicators such as household assets and educational levels. All the inequality m easures, particularly regional inequality, are positively associated with higher risks of conflict outbreak. And it seems that the conflict potential of regional inequality is stronger for pure democratic and intermediate regimes than for pure autocratic regimes. Institutional arrangements also seem to matter. In fact it seems that the conflict potential of horizontal inequalities increases with more inclusive electoral systems. Finally, the presence of both regional inequalities and political exclusion of minority groups seems to make countries particularly at risk for conflict. The main policy implication of these findings is that the combination of politically and economically inclusive government is required to secure peace in developing countries.
    Keywords: Population Policies,Social Conflict and Violence,Education and Society,Parliamentary Government,Services & Transfers to Poor
    Date: 2007–04–01
  8. By: Anna Maria Mayda; Kevin H. O'Rourke; Richard Sinnott
    Abstract: This paper uses international survey data to document two stylized facts. First, risk aversion is associated with anti-trade attitudes. Second, this effect is smaller in countries with greater levels of government expenditure. The paper thus provides evidence for the microeconomic underpinnings of the argument associated with Ruggie (1982), Rodrik (1998) and others that government spending can bolster support for globalization by reducing the risk associated with it in the minds of voters.
    JEL: F13 P16
    Date: 2007–04

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