nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2009‒07‒17
four papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Competing on Good Politicians By Galasso, Vincenzo; Nannicini, Tommaso
  2. The Successful Ghana Election of 2008: A Convenient Myth? Ethnicity in Ghana's elections revisited By Jockers, Heinz; Kohnert, Dirk; Nugent, Paul
  3. Development of Direct Democracy in Swiss Cantons between 1997 and 2003 By Fischer, Justina AV

  1. By: Galasso, Vincenzo (Bocconi University); Nannicini, Tommaso (Bocconi University)
    Abstract: Is electoral competition good for political selection? To address this issue, we introduce a theoretical model in which ideological parties select candidates between party loyalists and experts, and allocate them into the electoral districts. Non-ideological voters, who care about national and local policies, strongly prefer experts. We show that parties compete on good politicians by allocating them to the most contestable districts. Empirical evidence on Italian members of parliament confirms this prediction. We find that politicians with higher ex-ante quality − as measured by years of schooling, previous market income, and local government experience − are more likely to run in a contestable district. Indeed, despite being different on average, the characteristics of politicians belonging to opposite parties converge to high-quality levels in close races. Furthermore, politicians elected in contestable districts make fewer absences in parliament; this is shown to be driven more by a selection effect than by reelection incentives.
    Keywords: political competition, political selection, probabilistic voting
    JEL: D72 H00
    Date: 2009–07
  2. By: Jockers, Heinz; Kohnert, Dirk; Nugent, Paul
    Abstract: Ghana’s 2008 elections have been hailed by national and international observers as a model for Africa. This perception has prevailed despite persistent concerns about 'ethnic block voting' and electoral fraud. Electoral malpractice and vote rigging along ethnic lines in Ghana's virtual two-party system could regain a decisive importance as a 'third force' which could tip the balance in future, possibly coming to represent an even more important factor than the smaller opposition parties. Unfortunate diplomatic and technocratic biases in election monitoring, combined with a reluctance on the part of the responsible authorities to investigate, in what appears to be a long history of fraudulent 'ethnic block voting', amounts to a dangerous time bomb of unresolved conflict which could explode in future elections.
    Keywords: elections; ethnicity; election observation; informal institutions; impunity; Ghana; Africa;
    JEL: Z1 N47 D72
    Date: 2009–06–01
  3. By: Fischer, Justina AV
    Abstract: This paper describes institutions of direct democracy between 1997 and 2003 in 26 Swiss cantons (states), specifically the statutory initiative and referendum, the constitutional initiative, and the fiscal referendum. In particular, it discusses their applications, but also the legal requirements for making use of them, including the signature requirements, the time available for their collection, and the financial thresholds. Optional and mandatory forms of these direct-legislative institutions are distinguished. This paper also provides calculations of the index and sub-indices of direct democracy for the additional years 1997 to 2003, in continuation of Stutzer (1999), using the identical methodology. Extending Trechsel and Serdült (1999) and Stutzer (1999) this paper includes the political institutions of the so-called Landsgemeinde cantons. Description of these institutions is based on the author’s reading of 26 cantonal constitutions in their versions between 1997 and 2003.
    Keywords: institutions; direct democracy; direct legislation; initiative; referendum; fiscal referendum; constitution; Switzerland: culture
    JEL: H4 D7 H11 I31 H72 K19 H73 N40
    Date: 2009–07–08
  4. By: Ratbek Dzhumashev
    Abstract: In this paper, we analyse implications of corruption on growth. We extend existing growth models by incorporating ubiquitous corruption as a by-product of the public sector. Corruption affects both taxation and public good provision, and therefore causes income redistribution and inefficiencies in the public sector. These effects of corruption lead to lower growth through distortions of investment incentives and resources allocation.
    Keywords: Corruption, growth, public goods, tax evasion
    JEL: D92 D72 E20 E60 H26 H41 O17 O41
    Date: 2009–06

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