nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2007‒08‒08
thirteen papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Democracy and the curse of natural resources By Antonio Cabrales; Esther Hauk
  2. Minorities, Social Capital and Voting By Pieter Bevelander; Ravi Pendakur
  3. Minority Voting and Long-term Decisions By Theresa Fahrenberger; Hans Gersbach
  4. How To Win A General Election By A Landslide Victory By Jones, Peter
  5. Party formation in single-issue politics [revised] By Martin J. Osborne; Rabee Tourky
  6. Strategic voting in sequential committees By Iaryczower, Matias
  7. Study on the Political Involvement in Senior Staffing and on the Delineation of Responsabilities Between Ministers and Senior Civil Servants By Alex Matheson; Boris Weber; Nick Manning; Emmanuelle Arnould
  8. Campaigning for the Japanese Lower House: From Mobilising to Chasing Voters? By Patrick Köllner
  9. A Quantile Based Test of Protection for Sale Model By Susumu Imai; Hajime Katayama; Kala Krishna
  10. Special Interest Politics and Intellectual Property Rights: An Economic Analysis of Strengthening Patent Protection in the Pharmaceutical Industry By Chu, Angus C.
  11. Predatory States and Failing States: An Agency Perspective By Avinash Dixit
  12. The dynamics of distributive politics By Battaglini, Marco; Palfrey, Thomas R.
  13. The Enfranchisement of Women and the Welfare State By Graziella Bertocchi

  1. By: Antonio Cabrales; Esther Hauk
    Abstract: We propose a theoretical model to explain empirical regularities related to the curse of natural resources. This is an explicitly political model which emphasizes the behavior and incentives of politicians. We extend the standard voting model to give voters political control beyond the elections. This gives rise to a new restriction into our political economy model: policies should not give rise to a revolution. Our model clarifies when resource discoveries might lead to revolutions, namely, in countries with weak institutions. Natural resources may be bad for democracy by harming political turnover. Our model also suggests a non-linear dependence of human capital on natural resources. For low levels of democracy human capital depends negatively on natural resources, while for high levels of democracy the dependence is reversed. This theoretical finding is corroborated in both cross section and panel data regressions.
    Date: 2007–06
  2. By: Pieter Bevelander (IMER, Malmö University and IZA); Ravi Pendakur (University of Ottawa)
    Abstract: It is widely held that voter turnout among immigrants and ethnic minorities is lower than among the native born. The goal of our paper is to explore the determinants of voting, comparing immigrant, minority and majority citizens in Canada. We use the 2002 wave of the Equality Security Community Survey to explore the relationship between personal characteristics (age, sex, education, and household type) work characteristics, social capital attributes (trust in government, belonging, civic awareness and interaction with others) and ethnic characteristics (ethnic origin, place of birth and religion) and voting. We find that the combination of socio-demographic and social capital attributes largely overrides the impact of immigration and ethnicity. This suggests that it is not the minority attribute that impacts voting. Rather it is age, level of schooling and level of civic engagement which effects voting, both federal and provincial.
    Keywords: political participation, immigrants, ethnic minorities, voting behaviour, social capital
    JEL: D72 J15 J61
    Date: 2007–07
  3. By: Theresa Fahrenberger (Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich); Hans Gersbach (Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich)
    Abstract: In this paper we propose minority voting as a scheme that can partially protect individuals from the risk of repeated exploitation. We consider a committee that meets twice to decide about projects where the first-period project may have a long-lasting impact. In the first period a simple open majority voting scheme takes place. Voting splits the committee into three groups: voting winners, voting losers, and absentees. Under minority voting only voting losers keep the voting right in the second period. We show that as soon as absolute risk aversion exceeds a threshold value minority voting is superior to repeated application of the simple majority rule.
    Keywords: voting, minority, durable decision, risk aversion, tyranny of majority rules
    JEL: D7
    Date: 2007–07
  4. By: Jones, Peter
    Abstract: Some political parties have become victims of high technology politics; especially those in Latin America and the Caribbean who continue to practice limited database thinking. Those who have continued to practice political rule by thuggarism have found themselves behind the political curve of win ability, as the short–termism of this policy lacks sustainability beyond a year. The politics of the end of 20th century and now that of the 21st century has been seriously influenced by Globalization and its intrinsic facets of economic and financial marginalization and or redefinition of power. Many worldwide have used these high technology political strategies to maintain power and retain power when elections have been called. Those who live in the realm of Democratic idiocy will never hold the reigns of power, merely tasting it from time to time as the election political wind blows but never really harnessing its effective power. A good political platform speech is of importance. However, a good platform speech with strong subliminal suggestion and content and intention can never be duplicated. Some have this gift, some learn it while others never quite get there and automatically become a victim of the social, economic and political whirlwind of the New Global Informational Politics which is being used to manipulate uneducated , low educated or poorly educated voting populations worldwide.
    Keywords: Government; Political power
    JEL: H3 H11
    Date: 2006–08–19
  5. By: Martin J. Osborne; Rabee Tourky
    Abstract: We study the implications of economies of party size in a model of party formation. We show that when the policy space is one-dimensional, candidates form at most two parties. This result does not depend on the magnitude of the economies of party size or sensitively on the nature of the individuals' preferences. It does depend on our assumptions that the policy space is one-dimensional and that uncertainty is absent; we study how modifications of these assumptions affect our conclusions.
    Keywords: Political parties, party formation, economies of party size
    JEL: D70 D72
    Date: 2007–07–13
  6. By: Iaryczower, Matias
    Date: 2007–08
  7. By: Alex Matheson; Boris Weber; Nick Manning; Emmanuelle Arnould
    Abstract: Political involvement in administration is essential for the proper functioning of a democracy. Without this an incoming political administration would find itself unable to change policy direction. However public services need protection against being misused for partisan purposes, they need technical capacity which survives changes of government, and they need protection against being used to impair the capacity of future governments to govern.
    Date: 2007–07
  8. By: Patrick Köllner (GIGA Institute of Asian Studies)
    Abstract: Electioneering for the Japanese Lower House has undergone significant changes in recent years. Not only institutional but also other environmental changes are pushing political actors in Japan to complement the hitherto dominant vote-mobilisation approach by vote-chasing strategies. Such strategies target in particular unaffiliated voters and emphasise party leaders. Yet, the notion of an ‘Americanisation’ of campaigning in Japan seems pre-mature at best. Notably, electioneering for the Lower House has become more party-oriented in the course of introducing new voter chasing strategies. It remains to be seen though whether specific campaign instruments and tactics used in recent general elections, such as the manifesto approach, can generate value-added in the longer term.
    Keywords: Election campaigning, mixed-member electoral system, voter targeting, Americanisation thesis, Japan
    Date: 2007–07
  9. By: Susumu Imai (Queen's University); Hajime Katayama (University of Sydney); Kala Krishna (Pennsylvania State University and NBER)
    Abstract: This paper proposes a new test of the Protection for Sale (PFS) model by Grossman and Helpman (1994). Unlike existing methods in the literature, our approach does not require any data on political organizations. We formally show that the PFS model provides the following prediction: in the quantile regression of the protection measure on the inverse import penetration ratio divided by the import demand elasticity, its coefficient should be positive at the quantile close to one. We examine this prediction using the data from Gawande and Bandyopadhyay (2000). The results do not provide any evidence favoring the PFS model.
    Keywords: Quantile Regression, Protection for Sale, Political Economy
    JEL: F13 D72 F17
    Date: 2007–08
  10. By: Chu, Angus C.
    Abstract: Since the 80’s, the pharmaceutical industry has benefited substantially from a series of policy changes that have strengthened the patent protection for brand-name drugs as a result of the industry’s political influence. This paper incorporates special interest politics into a quality-ladder model to analyze the policymakers’ tradeoff between the socially optimal patent length and campaign contributions. The welfare analysis suggests that the presence of a pharmaceutical lobby distorting patent protection is socially undesirable in a closed-economy setting but may improve social welfare in a multi-country setting, which features an additional efficiency tradeoff between monopolistic distortion and international free-riding on innovations.
    Keywords: campaign contributions; intellectual property rights; patent length; special interest politics
    JEL: O34 D72 O31
    Date: 2007–08
  11. By: Avinash Dixit (Princeton University)
    Abstract: In any non-trivial state, policies decided at the top levels of government are administered by middle-level bureaucrats. I examine whether this agency problem can contribute to explaining state failure in matters of provision of public goods. I find some theoretical arguments to support the view that failure is more likely in states whose top rulers have predatory motives. When the bureaucrats’ cost of providing the public good is their private information, rulers must give them incentive rents to achieve truthful revelation. Predatory rulers are less willing to part with such rents; therefore they tolerate more downward distortion in the provision of public goods to reduce the required rent-sharing. When the bureaucrats’ actions are also unobservable, there is a synergistic interaction between more benevolent rulers and more caring or professional bureaucrats. However, these effects manifest themselves differently and to different degrees under different conditions of information. Therefore precise explanations or predictions in individual instances require context-specific analyses.
    Date: 2006–06
  12. By: Battaglini, Marco; Palfrey, Thomas R.
    Date: 2007–07
  13. By: Graziella Bertocchi (Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, CEPR, CHILD and IZA)
    Abstract: We offer a rationale for the decision to extend the franchise to women within a politicoeconomic model where men are richer than women, women display a higher preference for public goods, and women’s disenfranchisement carries a societal cost. We first derive the tax rate chosen by the male median voter when women are disenfranchised. Next we show that, as industrialization raises the reward to mental labor relative to physical labor, women’s relative wage increases. When the cost of disenfranchisement becomes higher than the cost of the higher tax rate which applies under universal enfranchisement, the male median voter is better off extending the franchise to women. A consequent expansion of the size of government is only to be expected in societies with a relatively high cost of disenfranchisement. We empirically test the implications of the model over the 1870-1930 period. We proxy the gender wage gap with the level of per capita income and the cost of disenfranchisement with the presence of Catholicism, which is associated with a more traditional view of women’s role and thus a lower cost. The gender gap in the preferences for public goods is proxied by the availability of divorce, which implies marital instability and a more vulnerable economic position for women. Consistently with the model’s predictions, women suffrage is affected positively by per capita income and negatively by the presence of Catholicism and the availability of divorce, while women suffrage increases the size of government only in non-Catholic countries.
    Keywords: women suffrage, inequality, public goods, welfare state, culture, family, divorce
    JEL: P16 J16 N40 H50 O11
    Date: 2007–07

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