nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2009‒04‒18
nine papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Political Mergers as Coalition Formation : Evidence from Japanese Municipal Amalgamations By Weese, Eric
  2. Men, Women, and the Ballot Woman Suffrage in the United States By Sebastian Braun; Michael Kvasnicka
  3. Motivating Politicians: The Impacts of Monetary Incentives on Quality and Performance By Claudio Ferraz; Frederico Finan
  4. Enfranchisement and budget deficits: a theoretical note By Signe Krogstruo; Sébastien Wälti
  5. Gender Interactions within Hierarchies: Evidence from the Political Arena By Stefano Gagliarducci; M. Daniele Paserman
  6. In search of popular subjectness: Identity formation, constitution-making and the democratic consolidation of the EU By Hans-Jörg Trenz
  7. Do institutions limit clientelism?: A study of the district assemblies common fund in Ghana By Banful, Afua Branoah
  8. A Model of Non-Informational Preference Change By Dietrich Franz; List Christian
  9. Consanguineous Marriages and Political Instability on Economic Development and Growth: Panel Regression and Panel Neural Network Analysis By Melike Bildirici; Özgür Ömer Ersin; Meltem Kökdener

  1. By: Weese, Eric
    Abstract: Political coalition formation games can describe the formation and dissolution of nations, as well as the creation of coalition governments, the establishment of political parties, and other similar phenomena. These games have been studied from a theoretical perspective, but the models have not been used extensively in empirical work. This paper presents a method of estimating political coalition formation models with many-player coalitions, and then applies this method to the recent heisei municipal amalgamations in Japan to estimate structural coeffients that describe the behaviour of municipalities. The method enables counterfactual analysis, which in the Japanese case shows that the national government could increase welfare via a counter-intuitive policy involving transfers to richer municipalities conditional on their participation in a merger.
    Keywords: Coalition Formation, Municipal Mergers, Japan
    JEL: C71 H77
    Date: 2008–12
  2. By: Sebastian Braun; Michael Kvasnicka
    Abstract: Woman suffrage led to the greatest enfranchisement in the history of the United States. Before World War I, however, suffrage states remained almost exclusively confined to the American West. The reasons for this pioneering role of the West are still unclear. Studying the timing of woman suffrage adoption at state level, we find that states in which women were scarce (the West) enfranchised their women much earlier than states in which the sex ratio was more balanced (the rest of the country). High sex ratios in the West, that is high ratios of grantors to grantees, reduced the political costs and risks to male electorates and legislators of extending the franchise. They are also likely to have enhanced female bargaining power and may have made woman suffrage more attractive in the eyes of western legislators that sought to attract more women to their states. Our finding of a reduced-form inverse relationship between the relative size of a group and its success in securing the ballot may be of use also for the study of other franchise extensions and for inquieries into the dynamics of political power sharing more generally.
    Keywords: Woman Suffrage, Democratization, Political Economy, Sex Ratio
    JEL: D72 J16 K10 N41 N42
    Date: 2009–03
  3. By: Claudio Ferraz; Frederico Finan
    Abstract: Recent studies have emphasized the importance of the quality of politicians for good government and consequently economic performance. But if the quality of leadership matters, then understanding what motivates individuals to become politicians and perform competently in office becomes a central question. In this paper, we examine whether higher wages attract better quality politicians and improve political performance using exogenous variation in the salaries of local legislators across Brazil’s municipal governments. The analysis exploits discontinuities in wages across municipalities induced by a constitutional amendment defining caps on the salary of local legislatures according to municipal population. Our main findings show that higher wages increases political competition and improves the quality of legislators, as measured by education, type of previous profession, and political experience in office. In addition to this positive selection, we find that wages also affect politicians’ performance, which is consistent with a behavioral response to a higher value of holding office.
    JEL: D72 D78 J33
    Date: 2009–04
  4. By: Signe Krogstruo (Swiss National Bank); Sébastien Wälti (Swiss National Bank)
    Abstract: If women make different economic decisions than men on average, then an increase in women's influence in the political and economic spheres of society might change economic outcomes. In this note, we focus on the impact of female enfranchisement on fiscal policy outcomes. We present a simple median voter model and show that if women have different economic preferences than men, then female enfranchisement leads to a change in government budget deficits..
    Keywords: Fiscal policy, budget deficit, enfranchisement, median voter, gender
    JEL: D78 E62 H62 J16
    Date: 2009–03
  5. By: Stefano Gagliarducci; M. Daniele Paserman
    Abstract: This paper studies gender interactions within hierarchical organizations using a large data set on the duration of Italian municipal governments elected between 1993 and 2003. A municipal government can be viewed as a hierarchy, whose stability over time depends on the degree of cooperation between and within ranks. We find that in municipalities headed by female mayors, the probability of early termination of the legislature is higher. This result persists and becomes stronger when we control for municipality fixed effects as well as non-random sorting of women into municipalities using regression discontinuity in gender-mixed electoral races decided by a narrow margin. The likelihood that a female mayor survives until the end of her term is lowest when the council is entirely male, and in regions with less favorable attitudes towards working women. The evidence is suggestive that female mayors are less able at fostering cooperation among men, or alternatively, that men are more reluctant to be headed by women. Other interpretations receive less support in the data. Our results may provide an alternative explanation for the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions.
    JEL: J16 M54
    Date: 2009–04
  6. By: Hans-Jörg Trenz
    Abstract: This article addresses the critical issue of how constitutional designing of the EU is related to the expression of collective identities. A European collective identity is perceived in terms of the discursive representation of the underlying demos of a European democracy. Against the common view that holds the self-identified political community as prior and independent of constitutional designing, it is claimed that democracy rather operates through the identification of popular subjectness. The demos is signified and recognised as distinct and internally coherent through democratic practice. In the empirical part, it is tested out to what extent public debates on EU constitution-making were linked to the identification of popular subjectness. By drawing on a comparative media survey of constitutional debates from 2002-2007, the paper distinguishes different markers of collective identities (national, European or multiple) that were used for representing and signifying democratic subjects in the EU.
    Keywords: Constitution for Europe; democracy; European identity; European public space; media
    Date: 2009–04–15
  7. By: Banful, Afua Branoah
    Abstract: "Analyses of how coveted central-government resources in Africa are shared have shown widespread patronage, ethnic cronyism, and pork-barrel politics. While some governments have attempted to rectify the situation by establishing revenue-sharing formulas, a key unanswered question is whether such institutions are able to achieve this goal. This paper presents an empirical investigation of a pioneering formula-based system of resource allocation from the central government to local governments in Ghana—the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF). The evidence is consistent with governments being able to politically manipulate resource allocation within the confines of the formula-based system. Nevertheless, this does not suggest that the DACF completely fails to limit political influence. It indicates that other guiding structures of a formula-based system—in particular, how and when the formula can be altered—are important determinants of how well a program such as the DACF is able to resist political pressures." from authors' abstract
    Keywords: Resource sharing, Grants in aid, Intergovernmental relations, Development strategies,
    Date: 2009
  8. By: Dietrich Franz; List Christian (METEOR)
    Abstract: According to standard rational choice theory, as commonly used in political science and economics, an agent''s fundamental preferences are exogenously fixed, and any preference change over decision options is due to Bayesian information learning. Although elegant and parsimonious, this model fails to account for preference change driven by experiences or psychological changes distinct from information learning. We develop a model of non-informational preference change.Alternatives are modelled as points in some multidimensional space, only some of whose dimensions play a role in shaping the agent''s preferences.Any change in these `motivationally salient'' dimensions can change the agent''s preferences. How it does so is described by a new representation theorem. Our model not only captures a wide range of frequently observed phenomena, but also generalizes some standard representations of preferences in political science and economics.
    Keywords: mathematical economics;
    Date: 2009
  9. By: Melike Bildirici; Özgür Ömer Ersin; Meltem Kökdener
    Abstract: Consanguineous marriages are known with its significant effects on human health. However, the practice of consanguineous marriages has strong impacts not only on human capital but also on political stability through the process that consanguineous marriages alter the sociological structure. Though these types of marriages are not maintained by the developed nations at the beginning of the 19th century, they are prefered today in many Asian and African countries. In these countries, the traditional structure could not be broken; a twosome structure is created within the country, within cities, within different regions as well as between regions and between countries. Political stability fails to be achieved efficiently in these countries - the twosome structure reduces both political stability and economic growth. It is observed that, the countries with high consanguineous marriages experience different sociological and economic factors so that the motives towards individualism considered as an important source of industrial development fail to flourish. An important result of the twosome structure is on human capital investments and on economic development. We followed a different approach in analyzing economic development in accordance with consanguineous marriage and political instability in accordance with human capital investments and economic development. In the study, we analyzed 53 countries, and compiled most recent data of consanguineous marriages, literacy rates and political risk as an indicator of political instability. We calculated GDP per capita growth rates between 1900 and 2003. We grouped countries according to their consanguineous marriage rates. Empirical results show that, the group of developed economies overcome consanguineous marriages before 1900 and achieved political stability, high human capital investments and steady growth rates. On the other hand, the countries practicing high consanguineous marriage rates are less immune to political instability and experience negative growth rates and very low human capital investments. The group of countries that lowered their consanguineous marriage rates below 10 % just before 1980, achieved very rapid economic growth afterwards. Empirical analysis based on factor analysis, correlation and covariance matrices suggest that countries with high consanguineous marriages experience high political instability and fall behind in the process of economic development. Based on panel regression and panel neural network analysis, countries with high consanguineous marriages experience high political instability and low human capital investment and they are more likely to benefit efficiently from economic development.
    JEL: O0 O1 O11 O39 O5 R00 R1 R11 R12 Z1 Z13
    Date: 2009–04

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