nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2007‒11‒24
twelve papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Combinatorial and computational aspects of multiple weighted voting games By Aziz, Haris; Paterson, Mike; Leech, Dennis
  2. Do Interest Groups Affect Immigration? By Giovanni Facchini; Anna Maria Mayda; Prachi Mishra
  3. Political Economy of Immigration in Germany: Attitudes and Citizenship Aspirations By Martin Kahanec; Mehmet Serkan Tosun
  4. The politics of poor law reform in early twentieth century Ireland By Cousins, Mel
  5. Noncooperative Foundations of Stable Sets in Voting Games By Vincent Anesi
  6. One-dimensional bargaining with a general voting rule By Predtetchinski Arkadi
  7. The incidence of graft on developing-country firms By E. Valladares, Elio; Ernesto Lopez-Cordova, J.; Gonzalez, Alvaro
  8. Existence of a Condorcet winner when voters have other-regarding preferences By Sanjit Dhami; Ali al-Nowaihi
  9. Riots, coups and civil war : revisiting the greed and grievance debate By Elbadawi, Ibrahim A.; Bodea, Cristina
  10. Growth, Democracy, and Civil War By Bruckner, Markus; Ciccone, Antonio
  11. The Role of the Natural Resource Curse in Preventing Development in Politically Unstable Countries: Case Studies of Angola and Bolivia By Saraly Andrade; Joaquin Morales
  12. Electoral Economics: Proposition 209 and the Public Concensus By Hartogh, Matthew

  1. By: Aziz, Haris (Computer Science Department, University of Warwick); Paterson, Mike (Computer Science Department, University of Warwick); Leech, Dennis (Economics Department, University of Warwick)
    Abstract: Weighted voting games are ubiquitous mathematical models which are used in economics, political science, neuroscience, threshold logic, reliability theory and distributed systems. They model situations where agents with variable voting weight vote in favour of or against a decision. A coalition of agents is winning if and only if the sum of weights of the coalition exceeds or equals a specified quota. We provide a mathematical and computational characterization of multiple weighted voting games which are an extension of weighted voting games1. We analyse the structure of multiple weighted voting games and some of their combinatorial properties especially with respect to dictatorship, veto power, dummy players and Banzhaf indices. Among other results we extend the concept of amplitude to multiple weighted voting games. An illustrative Mathematica program to compute voting power properties of multiple weighted voting games is also provided.
    Keywords: multi-agent systems ; multiple weighted ; voting games ; game theory, algorithms and ; complexity ; voting power.
    Date: 2007
  2. By: Giovanni Facchini (University of Essex, University of Milan, CEPR, LdA and CESifo); Anna Maria Mayda (Georgetown University, CEPR, LdA and IZA); Prachi Mishra (International Monetary Fund)
    Abstract: While anecdotal evidence suggests that interest groups play a key role in shaping immigration, there is no systematic empirical evidence on this issue. To motivate our analysis, we develop a simple theoretical model where migration policy is the result of the interaction between organized groups with conflicting interests towards labor flows. We evaluate the key predictions of the model using a new, industry-level dataset from the United States that we construct by combining information on the total number of immigrants and H1B visas with data on lobbying expenditures associated with immigration. We find robust evidence that both pro- and anti-immigration interest groups play a statistically significant and economically relevant role in shaping migration across sectors. Barriers to migration are lower in sectors in which business lobbies incur larger lobbying expenditures and higher in sectors where labor unions are more important.
    Keywords: immigration, immigration policy, interest groups, political economy
    JEL: F22 J61
    Date: 2007–11
  3. By: Martin Kahanec (IZA); Mehmet Serkan Tosun (University of Nevada-Reno)
    Abstract: This paper examines resident foreigners’ interest in German citizenship. The study focuses on the roles played by attitudes towards foreigners, political interest of foreigners, intergenerational conflict between natives and foreigners and among foreigners themselves, and regional differences in public finances. To address our research questions, we use a unique dataset from a survey of foreign residents in the German States provided by the Central Archive for Empirical Social Science Research of the University of Cologne. We find that some of the significant negative factors that affect citizenship interest are negative attitudes towards foreigners and generational conflict within foreigner families. On the other hand, interest in political participation, German schooling, home ownership, being born in Germany and being a citizen of non-EU country are important positive factors. Negative experience of foreigners in terms of hostile attitudes, lack of voting rights, or uncertainty of the possibility to stay in Germany mainly discourage foreign residents who actively participate in the labor market, have more years of schooling, and are younger.
    Keywords: immigration, attitudes, citizenship, voting
    JEL: F22 J15 J22
    Date: 2007–11
  4. By: Cousins, Mel
    Abstract: This paper looks at the reform of poor relief in Dublin (the capital city of the then Irish Free State) in the 1920s and 1930s. In particular, it examines the introduction of the Poor Relief (Dublin) Act, 1929 and the role of political parties and interest groups in shaping its final outcome. This study is of particular interest in that it came in the first decade of Irish independence in a transitional phase of political and policy development. As such it took place before the political system took on the more rigid structures to be found in the mature Irish polity. It is one of the very few examples of an initiative by an Irish opposition party leading to significant change in the welfare area. In addition, the reform took place at a time when policies were moving from the more localised model of the nineteenth century to a more centralised approach. This local focus shows very clearly the particular class interests at play in the Dublin reform.
    Keywords: Welfare; poor law; politics; Ireland
    JEL: J61 I38
    Date: 2007–11–01
  5. By: Vincent Anesi (Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University)
    Abstract: This note studies the noncooperative foundations of von Neumann- Morgenstern (vN-M) stable sets in voting games. To do so, we study Markov perfect equilibria of a noncooperative legislative bargaining game, based on underlying simple games. The following result emerges from such an exercise: Every stable set of the underlying simple game is the limit set of undominated Markov perfect equilibria of the bargaining game, which form a strategically stable set of equilibria, when voters are suciently farsighted; thus establishing a relationship between vN-M stability and strategic stability in voting games.
    Keywords: Legislative bargaining, committee, strategic stability, stable set.
    JEL: C71 C78 D71
    Date: 2007–11
  6. By: Predtetchinski Arkadi (METEOR)
    Abstract: We study a model of multilateral bargaining over social outcomes represented by points in the unit interval. An acceptance or rejection of a proposal is determined by a voting rule as represented by a collection of decisive coalitions. The focus of the paper is on the asymptotic behavior of subgame perfect equilibria in stationary strategies as the discount factor goes to one. We show that, along any sequence of stationary subgame perfect equilibria, as the discount factor goes to one, the social acceptance set collapses to a point. This point, called the bargaining outcome, is independent of the sequence of equilibria and is uniquely determined by the set of players, the utility functions, the recognition probabilities, and the voting rule. The central result of the paper is a characterization of the bargaining outcome as a unique zero of the characteristic equation.
    Keywords: microeconomics ;
    Date: 2007
  7. By: E. Valladares, Elio; Ernesto Lopez-Cordova, J.; Gonzalez, Alvaro
    Abstract: This pap er measures the extent to which firms in developing countries are the target of bribes. Using new firm-level survey data from 33 African and Latin American countries, we first show that perceptions adjust slowly to firms ' experience with corrupt officials and hence are an imperfect proxy for the true incidence of graft. We then construct an experience-based index that reflects the probability that a firm will be asked for a bribe in order to complete a specified set of business transactions. On average, African firms are three times as likely to be asked for bribes as are firms in Latin America, although there is substantial variation within each region. Last, we show that graft appears to be more prevalent in countries with excessive regulation and where democracy is weak. In particular, our results suggest that the incidence of graft in Africa would fall by approximately 85 percent if countries in the region had levels of democracy and regulation similar to those that exist in Latin America.
    Keywords: Public Sector Corruption & Anticorruption Measures,Corruption & Anitcorruption Law,Crime and Society,E-Business,Access to Finance
    Date: 2007–11–01
  8. By: Sanjit Dhami; Ali al-Nowaihi
    Abstract: This paper studies the impact of the governance of a group, whether be it unanimity, simple majority or qualified majority, on its size, composition, and inclination to change the status quo. Somewhat surprisingly, we show that not only unanimity might favor the formation of larger groups than majority, but also a change of status quo. This paper therefore suggests that unanimity, often blamed for the European inertia of the last two decades, was only a scapegoat.
    Keywords: Redistribution; other regarding preferences; single crossing property
    JEL: D64 D72 D78
    Date: 2007–11
  9. By: Elbadawi, Ibrahim A.; Bodea, Cristina
    Abstract: The most influential recent work on the determinants of civil wars found the factors associated with the grievance motivation to be largely irrelevant. Our paper subjects the results of this empirical work to further scrutiny by embedding the study of civil war in a more general analysis of varieties of violent contestation of political power within the borders of the state. Such an approach, we argue, will have important implications for how we think theoretically about the occurrence of domestic war as well as how we specify our empirical tests. In the empirical model, the manifestation of domestic conflict range from low intensity violence and coups to civil war. Our multinomial specification of domestic conflict supports the hypothesis that diversity accentuates distributional conflict and thus increases the risk of civil war. We also find that democracies may be more efficient than autocracies in reducing the risk of civil war.
    Keywords: Post Conflict Reconstruction,Population Policies,Social Conflict and Violence,Peace & Peacekeeping,Hazard Risk Management
    Date: 2007–11–01
  10. By: Bruckner, Markus; Ciccone, Antonio
    Abstract: Are civil wars partly caused by low economic growth? And do democratic institutions attenuate the impact of low growth on the likelihood of civil war? Our approach to answering these questions exploits that international commodity prices have a significant effect on income growth in Sub-Saharan African countries. We show that lower income growth makes civil war more likely in non-democracies. This effect is significantly weaker in democracies. So much so, that we do not find a link between growth and civil war in countries with democratic institutions. Our results therefore point to an interaction between economic and institutional causes of civil war.
    Keywords: civil war; Commodity prices; growth; rainfall
    JEL: O0 P0 Q0
    Date: 2007–11
  11. By: Saraly Andrade (Toulouse School of Economics); Joaquin Morales (Institute for Advanced Development Studies, Bolivia)
    Abstract: For about three decades now, development economics researchers have consistently claimed that third world resource-rich countries were not developing as well and/or as fast as they were expected to, given that their natural resources endowment was considered a great opportunity for development. The phenomenon of underperformances concerning primary commodity exporters relative to non resource-rich countries has been often referred to as to the “Natural Resource Curse”. The authors use an historical and political approach to the manifestations of the curse in the specific cases of Angola and Bolivia, both resource abundant countries, but suffering among the lowest development standards in their respective continents. In chapter one, the authors make a quick review of the literature explaining both causes and manifestations of the Resource Curse. The authors go beyond the classical Dutch Disease explanations and show how natural resources lead to behaviours of looting, rent-seeking and civil confrontations. In chapter two, the authors present the framework where they adjust the “African Anti-growth Policy Syndromes” described by Paul Collier to the specific case of the Natural Resource curse. In addition, they add some considerations of the negative effect of natural resource extraction by analysing externalities on environment, education and inequalities. Chapters three and four analyse the case studies of Angola and Bolivia respectively, emphasizing the role of historical context explaining policy behaviour and the critical impact of unexpected windfalls and sudden price collapses. The authors find that natural resources could sustain long lasting conflicts, but that conditions of fractionalization of society determine the possibility of conflict. A country divided in two rigid political factions is more prone to internal conflict, like in Angola, whether in countries where frontiers between blocks are blurried or the country is multi-polar, like in Bolivia, the risks of long-lasting civil war seem less important. Apart from conflict, the authors show that lack of institutions and inequality make of natural resources a source of political instability that has far more impact on economic performances than other factors.
    Keywords: Natural Resource curse, Rent-seeking, Civil War, Angola, Bolivia
    JEL: N2 N5 O1
    Date: 2007–11
  12. By: Hartogh, Matthew
    Abstract: Abstract: The question posed is whether proposition 209 unconstitutionally bars a remedy to discrimination against a specified group "women and minorities", and thereby denies equal protection of the laws to a targeted group. The partial template for this problem is provided by the Supreme Court’s disposition of Romer v. Evans. The conclusion of my analysis here is that it does not. My analysis relies on two theories, one formal and one political. The formal proposition is this: a remedy is only meaningful as a response to an injury. In equal protection and discrimination jurisprudence, the Federal courts have imposed, and the Supreme Court has upheld, quotas, busing, and other affirmative measures against discrimination where there has been a judicial finding of past discrimination. There has been no such finding against the University of California or any of the contracting agencies of the state of California. Further, each time such a remedy to a demonstrated injury has been imposed, the Court has demanded that the remedy conform to a tight fit to the demonstrated injury. No injury has been demonstrated here, therefore no remedy exists, and to quote Chief Justice Marshall in McCulloch vs. Maryland "what does not exist can not be taken away."
    Keywords: economics law discrimination game theory welfare
    JEL: K2 K13
    Date: 2007–01–01

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