nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2009‒04‒25
seven papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Media and Political Persuasion: Evidence from Russia By Enikolopov, Ruben; Petrova, Maria; Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina
  2. Financial Liberalisation and Political Variables: a response to Abiad and Mody By Brian Burgoon; Panicos Demetriades; Geoffrey R D Underhill
  3. The Price of Political Opposition: Evidence from Venezuela's Maisanta By Chang-Tai Hsieh; Edward Miguel; Daniel Ortega; Francisco Rodriguez
  4. Gender Interactions Within Hierarchies: Evidence from the Political Arena By Gagliarducci, Stefano; Paserman, M. Daniele
  5. Making the Politician and the Bureaucrat Deliver: Employment Guarantee in India By Ashima Goyal
  6. Federalism and Inter-Regional Redistribution By Jonathan Rodden
  7. Corruption, Institutions and Economic Development By Aidt, T.S.

  1. By: Enikolopov, Ruben; Petrova, Maria; Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina
    Abstract: How do media affect voting behavior? What difference can an independent media outlet make in a country with state-controlled media? Our paper addresses these questions by comparing electoral outcomes and votes reported by survey respondents during the 1999 parliamentary elections in Russia for those geographical areas that had access and those that had no access to the only national TV channel independent from the government ("NTV"). The effect is identified from exogenous variation in the availability of the signal, which appears to be mostly idiosyncratic, conditional on controls. The findings are as follows. 1) The presence of the independent TV channel decreased the aggregate vote for the government party by 2.5 percentage points and increased the combined vote for major opposition parties by 2.1 percentage points. 2) The probability of voting for opposition parties increased for individuals who watched NTV even controlling for voting intentions measured one month prior to the elections. 3) NTV had a smaller effect on votes of people with higher political knowledge and those using alternative sources of political news and a larger effect on retired persons who watch TV substantially more than working individuals.
    Keywords: Media; NTV; Political Persuasion; Russia
    JEL: D0 H0 J0
    Date: 2009–04
  2. By: Brian Burgoon (University of Amsterdam); Panicos Demetriades (University of Leicester); Geoffrey R D Underhill (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: We challenge recent findings by Abiad and Mody (2005) which suggest that financial liberalization has little to do with political variables. This analysis is at odds with some of the established literature, and only with difficulty comes to terms with the considerable cross-national variation in the pace, phasing, and extent of financial reforms over time. Using Abiad and Mody’s own index of financial liberalization, but slightly unbundling and refining their measures of ‘ideological affinity’ and ‘regime type’, we examine what Abiad and Mody call the ‘triggers’ of liberalisation and the dynamics of the subsequent ‘cumulative transformation’. We demonstrate the role of political variables in relation to initial liberalisation episodes, and as variables affecting the cumulative dynamics and sustainability of ongoing financial reform processes, including those which affect the acceptability and costs of liberalization. These factors include (i) shifts to – as opposed to levels in – Left government; (ii) the incidence of Left governments combined with low levels of democracy; (iii) international voter support for free markets; (iv) the extent of social safety nets; (v) the presence of multilateral and bilateral aid programs. Our empirical investigation confirms these factors as statistically significant determinants of financial liberalization, and reveal what Abiad and Mody identify as ‘learning’ to be a highly political process.
    Date: 2008–05
  3. By: Chang-Tai Hsieh; Edward Miguel; Daniel Ortega; Francisco Rodriguez
    Abstract: In 2004, the Chávez regime in Venezuela distributed the list of several million voters whom had attempted to remove him from office throughout the government bureaucracy, allegedly to identify and punish these voters. We match the list of petition signers distributed by the government to household survey respondents to measure the economic effects of being identified as a Chavez political opponent. We find that voters who were identified as Chavez opponents experienced a 5 percent drop in earnings and a 1.5 percentage point drop in employment rates after the voter list was released. A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that the loss aggregate TFP from the misallocation of workers across jobs was substantial, on the order of 3 percent of GDP.
    JEL: N16 O0
    Date: 2009–04
  4. By: Gagliarducci, Stefano; Paserman, M. Daniele
    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.
    Keywords: Discrimination; Gender; Government stability; Hierarchies
    JEL: H72 M54
    Date: 2009–04
  5. By: Ashima Goyal
    Abstract: The paper examines the division of tasks required between politicians and bureaucrats to run an effective rural employment guarantee scheme (EGS) in India, in the context of Indian history and habits.
    Keywords: Politician, bureaucrat, incentives, employment guarantee, rural, India, Indian history, EGS, village management, resources, institution, democracy, African underdevelopment, panchayats, elected local councils
    Date: 2009
  6. By: Jonathan Rodden (Stanford University)
    Abstract: Why do some federations implement highly progressive intergovernmental transfer schemes while others do not? First, this essay establishes some stylized facts, using provincial-level data from nine federations to measure the extent of inter-regional redistribution achieved through intergovernmental transfers in each country. Second, it explores sources of institutional variation that might help account for these persistent cross-country differences, focusing on theories of legislative bargaining, representation, and the distribution of income across regions. Third, it examines the historical conditions under which the basic institutions of federalism were selected.
    Keywords: Federalism, redistribution, inter-governmental transfers, representation.
    JEL: D72 H77 H73
    Date: 2009
  7. By: Aidt, T.S.
    Abstract: Many scholarly articles on corruption give the impression that the world is populated by two types of people: the "sanders" and the "greasers". The "sanders" believe that corruption is an obstacle to development, while the "greasers" believe that corruption can (in some cases) foster development. This paper takes a critical look at these positions. It concludes that the evidence supporting the "greasing the wheels hypothesis" is very weak and shows that there is no correlation between a new measure of managers.actual experience with corruption and GDP growth. Instead, the paper uncovers a strong negative correlation between growth in genuine wealth per capita - a direct measure of sustainable development - and corruption. While corruption may have little average effect on the growth rate of GDP per capita, it is a likely source of unsustainable development.
    Keywords: Corruption, Growth, Sustainable Development.
    JEL: D78 D82
    Date: 2009–04–14

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