nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2010‒01‒10
eleven papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Democratic Citizenship: From Proportionality to a Continuum Approach to Political Participation By Anupama Roy
  2. Political Competition over Distortionary Taxation By Nunez Matias
  3. The Political Resource Curse By Fernanda Brollo; Tommaso Nannicini; Roberto Perotti; Guido Tabellini
  4. Plurality versus proportional electoral rule: which is most representative of voters? By Amedeo Piolatto
  5. The political economy of ethnolinguistic cleavages By Klaus Desmet; Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín; Romain Wacziarg
  6. The European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme: Political Economy and Bureaucratic Rent-Seeking By Mallard, Graham
  7. Anti-Americanism and Public Opinion in the European Union By Lawson, Colin; Hudson, John
  8. Corruption and confidence in public institutions : evidence from a global survey By Clausen, Bianca; Kraay, Aart; Nyiri, Zsolt
  9. The Impact of Institutions and Development on Happiness By Duha T. Altindag; Junyue Xu
  10. Voting as a Lottery By Giuseppe Attanasi; Luca CORAZZINI; Francesco PASSARELLI
  11. Gender Differences in Native Preferences towards Undocumented and Legal Immigration: Evidence from San Diego By Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina; Puttitanun, Thitima

  1. By: Anupama Roy
    Abstract: This paper is an attempt to explore the meaning and significance of political participation within (a) the conceptual framework of democratic citizenship and (b) debates surrounding representative democracy. It consists of three parts; the first examines the idea of representative democracy and the manner in which democratic politics may be sought to be crafted as a continuum between representation and participation; the second looks at the global experience and experiments in electoral designs and political reservation for women; and the third examines debates on women’s political participation and representation in India along with election data to identify possible patterns, followed by a discussion of the ways in which civil society organisations have sought to address themselves to reforming the electoral system, in particular by addressing the voter or empowering her through specific rights. [CWDS OP].
    Keywords: electoral, political, India, election data, rights, voter, empowering, civil society, democratic citizenship, democracy, politics, participation, women,
    Date: 2009
  2. By: Nunez Matias (THEMA, Université de Cergy Pontoise)
    Abstract: Political parties compete over income tax functions, and voters vote and decide whether to pay full taxes or to make an e®ort to modify their tax bur- den. We show that political parties only propose e±cient income tax func- tions, in a similar manner to the probabilistic voting theory. Regarding the shape of income tax functions, it need not be the case that the majority of vot- ers prefer progressive taxation to regressive taxation as a consequence of the distortions. Nevertheless, we prove that the political appeal for progressivity is restored under mild conditions.
    Keywords: Income taxation, Distortions, Efficiency, Progressivity, Political competition
    JEL: H23 H31 D72 D78
    Date: 2009
  3. By: Fernanda Brollo; Tommaso Nannicini; Roberto Perotti; Guido Tabellini
    Abstract: The paper studies the effect of additional government revenues on political corruption and on the quality of politicians, both with theory and data. The theory is based on a version of the career concerns model of political agency with endogenous entry of political candidates. The evidence refers to municipalities in Brazil, where federal transfers to municipal governments change exogenously according to given population thresholds. We exploit a regression discontinuity design to test the implications of the theory and identify the causal effect of larger federal transfers on political corruption and the observed features of political candidates at the municipal level. In accordance with the predictions of the theory, we find that larger transfers increase political corruption and reduce the quality of candidates for mayor.
    Date: 2009
  4. By: Amedeo Piolatto (Universidad de Alicante)
    Abstract: This study compares the representativeness of voters in the proportional electoral system with the situation under plurality rule. Representativeness is commonly measured by comparing parties’ received votes with their shares of seats in the Parliament; this implies that proportional rule should always better represent voters. A coalition within the Parliament, however, rules the country without interference and supports the government; when a coalition is formed, the pivotal role of small parties and the proposal right of the formateur can significantly impact the distribution of power. Focusing on the coalition formation stage, I demonstrate that the proportional rule is more representative only under very specific conditions. If these conditions are not met, introducing some distortions in the distribution of seats among parties can actually improve representativeness.
    Keywords: Electoral systems, proportional rule, plurality rule, voters’ representation
    JEL: C72 D72 H1 P16
    Date: 2009
  5. By: Klaus Desmet (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and CEPR); Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid); Romain Wacziarg (UCLA, NBER and CEPR)
    Abstract: This paper proposes a new method to measure ethnolinguistic diversity and offers new results linking such diversity with a range of political economy outcomes — civil conflict, redistribution, economic growth and the provision of public goods. We use linguistic trees, describing the genealogical relationship between the entire set of 6, 912 world languages, to compute measures of fractionalization and polarization at different levels of linguistic aggregation. By doing so, we let the data inform us on which linguistic cleavages are most relevant, rather than making ad hoc choices of linguistic classifications. We find drastically different effects of linguistic diversity at different levels of aggregation: deep cleavages, originating thousands of years ago, lead to measures of diversity that are better predictors of civil conflict and redistribution than those that account for more recent and superficial divisions. The opposite pattern holds when it comes to the impact of linguistic diversity on growth and public goods provision, where finer distinctions between languages matter.
    Date: 2009–12–16
  6. By: Mallard, Graham
    Abstract: A political economy model is presented that proposes an effective explanation as to why national allocation plans in the emissions trading scheme of the European Union have taken the form they have. The influence of the national bureaucracy, which is omitted in the majority of the related political economy literature, is shown to be potentially significant and costly – particularly through its interaction with the influence of the affected industrialists. The analysis suggests that the role of the national bureaucracy in the design of environmental policy should be carefully considered and structured, and suggests an avenue of potentially important and fruitful future research.
    Date: 2009
  7. By: Lawson, Colin; Hudson, John
    Abstract: The term “anti-Americanism” has become common coinage in public and academic debate, the more so since the election of President G. W. Bush, and especially since 9/11. Yet little is known of its causes and impact. Defining it as opposition to US policy, and using 2003 and 2005 Eurobarometer data we examine individuals` attitudes to the US in five policy dimensions for EU members. We find that over a third of EU voters either approved or disapproved of the US in all five dimensions. We also find there are differences in attitude to US policy related to age, policy preferences and nationality. And, although anti-Americanism is associated with a preference for greater European independence, perhaps surprisingly it is also linked to a desire for a less federal and hence less powerful Europe.
    Keywords: Federalism; anti-Americanism; European Union
    Date: 2009
  8. By: Clausen, Bianca; Kraay, Aart; Nyiri, Zsolt
    Abstract: Well-functioning institutions matter for economic development. In order to operate effectively, public institutions must also inspire confidence in those they serve. The authors use data from the Gallup World Poll, a unique and very large global household survey, to document a quantitatively large and statistically significant negative correlation between corruption and confidence in public institutions. This suggests an important channel through which corruption can inhibit development by eroding confidence in public institutions. This correlation is robust to the inclusion of a large set of controls for country and respondent-level characteristics, and they show how it can plausibly be interpreted as reflecting at least in part a causal effect from corruption to confidence. The authors also show that individuals with low confidence in institutions exhibit low levels of political participation, show increased tolerance for violent means to achieve political ends, and have a greater desire to"vote with their feet"through emigration.
    Date: 2009–12–01
  9. By: Duha T. Altindag; Junyue Xu
    Abstract: This paper demonstrates that institutional factors influence the subjective well-being of individuals differently in rich versus poor countries. A lower level of corruption, a more democratic government and better civil rights increase the well-being of individuals in rich countries, whereas an increase in per capita income has no impact. On the contrary, in poor countries the extent of corruption, democracy and civil rights have no influence on happiness, but an increase in per capita income impacts happiness positively. This stark contrast may be due to the difference of preferences over income and institutional factors.
  10. By: Giuseppe Attanasi; Luca CORAZZINI; Francesco PASSARELLI
    Date: 2009–12
  11. By: Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina (San Diego State University, California); Puttitanun, Thitima (San Diego State University, California)
    Abstract: The literature has noted that native views about legal as opposed to undocumented immigration in the U.S. differ. Furthermore, native views about immigration are known to vary by gender. Yet, most surveys do not inquire native men and women about their views with regards to the two distinct immigrant groups, thus impeding an analysis of differences in preferences towards legal and undocumented immigrants from the same sample of natives. Using a recent San Diego County survey, we examine differences in native male and female opinions with regards to legal and undocumented immigration and their determinants. Native preferences towards immigration appear to significantly differ by gender as well as according to immigrants' legal status. In addition, public finance and welfare concerns are among the key factors driving native male and female preferences towards legal and undocumented immigration. However, native women's attitudes are also impacted by concerns regarding the social integration and economic assimilation of undocumented immigrants possibly related to the alleged prejudice factor.
    Keywords: gender, native preferences, undocumented immigration, legal immigration
    JEL: J61 F22
    Date: 2009–12

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