nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2009‒05‒30
eight papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Moderating Political Extremism: Single Round vs Runoff Elections under Plurality Rule By Massimo Bordignon; Guido Tabellini
  2. When do Legislators pass on"Pork"? the determinants of legislator utilization of a constituency development fund in India By Keefer, Philip; Khemani, Stuti
  3. Migration-Regime Liberalization and Social Security: Political-Economy Effect By Assaf Razin; Edith Sand
  4. Lobbying competition over trade policy By Gawande, Kishore; Krishna, Pravin; Olarreaga, Marcelo
  5. The referendum threat, the rationally ignorant voter, and the political culture of the EU By Giandomenico Majone
  6. Uncivil societies - a theory of sociopolitical change By Monga, Celestin
  7. Group Versus Individual Decision-Making: Is there a shift? By Attila Ambrus; Ben Greiner; Parag Pathak
  8. Model for revelation of unfriendly information impacts in mass-media which are directed on change of public opinion By Bocharnikov, Victor; Sveshnikov, Sergey; Voznyak, Stepan; Yuzefovich, Vladimir

  1. By: Massimo Bordignon (DISCE, Università Cattolica); Guido Tabellini (Università Bocconi)
    Abstract: We compare single ballot vs dual ballot elections under plurality rule, assuming sincere voting and allowing for partly endogenous party formation. Under the dual ballot, the number of parties is larger but the influence of extremists voters on equilibrium policy is smaller, because their bargaining power is reduced compared to a single ballot election. The predictions on the number of parties and on policy volatility are consistent with data on municipal elections in Italy, where cities with more (less) than 15,000 inhabitants have dual (single) ballots respectively.
  2. By: Keefer, Philip; Khemani, Stuti
    Abstract: The authors examine a unique public spending program that is proliferating across developing countries, the constituency development fund, to investigate when legislators exert more effort on behalf of their constituents. Using data from India, they find that legislator effort is significantly lower in constituencies where voters are more attached to political parties. They are also lower in constituencies that are reserved for members of socially disadvantaged groups (lower castes), specifically in those reserved constituencies that are candidate strongholds. This result is robust to controls for alternate explanations and implies that legislators pass on pork when voters are more attached to political parties or influenced by identity issues. These findings have implications for the evaluation of constituency development funds. They also provide a new answer to a central issue in political economy, the conditions under which legislators seek to"bring home the pork"to constituents, that attaches great importance to the role of political parties.
    Keywords: Parliamentary Government,Microfinance,Political Systems and Analysis,Politics and Government,Government Policies
    Date: 2009–05–01
  3. By: Assaf Razin; Edith Sand
    Abstract: The pay-as-you-go social security system, increasingly burdened by dwindling labor force, can benefit from immigrants whose birth rates exceed those of the native born birth. The paper examines adynamic political-economy mechanism through which the social security system influences the young decisive voter’s attitudes in favor of a more liberal immigration regime. A Markov equilibrium with social security consists of a more liberal migration policy, than a corresponding equilibrium with no social security. Thus, the social security system effectively provides an incentive to liberalize migration policy through a political-economy mechanism.
    JEL: F2 H0
    Date: 2009–05
  4. By: Gawande, Kishore; Krishna, Pravin; Olarreaga, Marcelo
    Abstract: Competition between opposing lobbies is an important factor in the endogenous determination of trade policy. This paper investigates empirically the consequences of lobbying competition between upstream and downstream producers for trade policy. The theoretical structure underlying the empirical analysis is the well-known Grossman-Helpman model of trade policy determination, modified suitably to account for the cross-sectoral use of inputs in production (itself a quantitatively significant phenomenon with around 50 percent of manufacturing output being used by other sectors rather than in final consumption). Data from more than 40 countries are used in our analysis. Our empirical results validate the predictions of the theoretical model with lobbying competition. Importantly, accounting for lobbying competition also alters substantially estimates of the "welfare-mindedness" of governments in setting trade policy.
    Keywords: Interest groups; Intermediate goods; Lobbies; Political Economy; Trade policy
    JEL: D72 D78 F12 F13 F14
    Date: 2009–05
  5. By: Giandomenico Majone
    Abstract: The chasm separating elite and popular opinion on the achievements and finality of European integration was never so visible as after the negative referendums on the Constitutional and the Lisbon Treaties. The public attitude prevailing in the past has been characterized as one of permissive consensus, meaning that the integration project was seemingly taken for granted by European publics as an accepted part of the political landscape. The current stage of the integration process is best understood as the end of permissive consensus, but EU leaders do not seem to be sufficiently aware of the far-reaching consequences entailed by this change in public attitude. One important reason for this inability, or unwillingness, to assess realistically the new situation is the peculiar political culture grown up in more than half a century of intense, if not always productive, integrationist efforts. A striking demonstration of the hold of this political culture on the minds of Euro-leaders is the view of popular referendums as an unconscionable risk for the integration process--the referendum roulette. One of the favourite arguments against ratification of European treaties by popular referendum is that voters cannot be expected to read and evaluate technically and legally complex texts running into hundreds of pages. It will be shown, however, that this argument is flawed in several respects; carried to its logical conclusion, it would lead to severe restrictions of the franchise even at the national level. The reasons of the current discontent are to be found in the fear of a EU without border and limits and in the loss of confidence among significant parts of the electorate in the EU’s ability to deal with everyday issues. The Union may be entering an age of diminished expectations: leaders realize that the current approach to European integration no longer delivers very much, but there is little demand for an alternative approach that might do better. Some form of differentiated integration may offer the only possibility of avoiding the dilemma of dissolution or irrelevance.
    Keywords: Constitution for Europe; democracy; differentiated integration; federalism; political culture; referendum; treaty reform
    Date: 2009–05–15
  6. By: Monga, Celestin
    Abstract: In times of crises, it is always useful to revisit some of the paradigms that underlie collective thinking and action. For nearly 200 years, most social science has relied on the assumption that the emergence of strong and nurturing social capital through a vibrant civil society yields all kind of positive externalities to society. Following intuition and anecdotal observations from Alexis de Tocqueville, a large body of theoretical and empirical research has attempted to confirm that societies strive politically and economically when they are able to build strong non-state actors and community organizations. Many disciplines-mainly political science, economics, law, and international relations-have constructed influential analytical frameworks in support of that general proposition. This paper examines the philosophical foundations of conventional wisdom and observes that it often fails to take into account the dark side of some civil society groups, from the mafia to Al Qaeda. While acknowledging the potential contribution of civil society to the development process, the paper also cautions again the rush to circumvent the state, which sometimes sustains community-based initiatives in poor countries. It suggests the possibility of the production of negative social capital by non-state actors.
    Keywords: Parliamentary Government,Civil Society,Social Inclusion&Institutions,Corporate Law,Government Diagnostic Capacity Building
    Date: 2009–05–01
  7. By: Attila Ambrus (Department of Economics, Harvard University); Ben Greiner (School of Economics, University of New South Wales); Parag Pathak (Department of Economics, MIT)
    Abstract: We revisit the phenomenon that group decisions differ systematically from decisions of individuals. Our experiment solicits individual and group decisions from the same subjects in two settings, gift-exchange games and lottery choices. With no deliberation and voting, the group decision is determined by the median individual decision, without a shift. With deliberation but no imposed decision rule, the individual one po- sition towards the selfish direction also becomes influential. In lottery choices we find no group shift relative to the median. We demonstrate that the standard practice of comparing means of group and individual decisions would incorrectly identify a level shift.
    Keywords: Decision making, lottery, risky choices
    Date: 2009–05
  8. By: Bocharnikov, Victor; Sveshnikov, Sergey; Voznyak, Stepan; Yuzefovich, Vladimir
    Abstract: In this article we proposes the mathematical model for revelation of deliberate unfriendly information impacts which are fulfilled by means of specially prepared information messages (news, reviews and others) in mass-media. The model calculates the quantitative measure for fact determination of purposeful information impact and evaluation of potential damage to interests of state (party, corporation) from impact fulfilment. The model use the following data: intensity and direction of information streams (publication frequency and themes of news), structure of important state and public problems, structure of social groups of a society, priorities of these social groups, mass-media popularity in social groups, priorities of a state policy. The model is the semantic network in which the relations between concepts we formalize by use of fuzzy measures by Sugeno. We have used this model for revelation of information impacts on public opinion of Russian-speaking national minority of Crimea (Ukraine) during 01.2002 - 02.2005 (final stage of presidential elections). The model also can has important implications for evaluation of election cleanness, for neutralization of dirty voting technologies, for facts determination of unfair competition, when corporations involve a public opinion into own competitive activity.
    Keywords: Information impact; public opinion; fuzzy measures; preferences; social groups
    JEL: D81 L41 D83
    Date: 2009–05–25

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