nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2010‒08‒06
ten papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Revealed Political Power By Jinhui H. Bai; Roger Lagunoff
  2. Identification of Voters with Interest Groups Improves the Electoral Chances of the Challenger By Vjollca Sadiraj; Jan Tuinstra; Frans van Winden
  3. The Role of Ethnic Identity and Economic Issues in the 2007 Kenyan Elections By Roxana Gutiérrez-Romero
  4. Triggers and Characteristics of the 2007 Kenyan Electoral Violence By Stefan Dercon; Roxana Gutiérrez-Romero
  5. Determinants of Protests: Longitudinal Evidence from Ukraine’s Orange Revolution By Carlos Bozzoli; Tilman Brück
  6. Preferences for Redistribution and Pensions: What Can We Learn from Experiments? By Tausch, Franziska; Potters, Jan; Riedl, Arno
  7. The Political Economy of Fiscal Consolidation By Robert Price
  8. Aproximações de um olhar foucauldiano sobre o institucionalismo de Thorstein Veblen By Marco Antonio Ribas Cavalieri; Iara Vigo de Lima
  9. Are Female Ministers Bad for Reforms?– A Test of the Azarov Hypothesis By Tom Coupe
  10. The Political Economy of Regional Cooperation in South Asia By Desai, V.V.

  1. By: Jinhui H. Bai; Roger Lagunoff
    Date: 2010–07–29
  2. By: Vjollca Sadiraj; Jan Tuinstra; Frans van Winden
    Abstract: This short paper investigates the consequences of voters identifying with special interest groups in a spatial model of electoral competition. We show that, by effectively coordinating voting behavior, identification with interest groups leads to an increase in the size of the winning set, that is, the set of policy platforms for the challenger that will defeat the incumbent. Consequently, our paper points at a novel process through which interest groups can enhance the electoral chances of a challenger.
    JEL: D71 D72
    Date: 2010–07
  3. By: Roxana Gutiérrez-Romero
    Abstract: This paper investigates the factors that shaped Kenyan’s voting intentions in the 2007 presidential election. Using data from a public opinion survey conducted two weeks before the election we are able to evaluate the relative importance of what shaped voting behavior comprehensively, taking into account factors such as ethnicity, access to public services, incidence of poverty and wealth differences across ethnic groups and across generations. We find strong evidence that ethnic identity was the main factor determining voting intentions and to a lesser extent grievances, economic well-being, and access to public and private goods. However, the relative importance of these factors depends on whether Kenyan voters identify themselves first and foremost in terms of their ethnicity, occupation or nationality. Those who identify themselves in terms of their ethnicity were influenced the most by access to public services. This evidence supports theories that suggest ethnic identity is a proxy used by voters to assess which candidate will give them greater access to public goods.
    Keywords: Voting behavior, ethnic identity, Kenya
    JEL: D72 D01
    Date: 2010
  4. By: Stefan Dercon; Roxana Gutiérrez-Romero
    Abstract: Following the 2007 disputed Kenyan Presidential election unprecedented levels of violence erupted across the country adding to the history of troubled elections in Africa. This paper offers quantitative and qualitative evidence on the incidence, impacts and issues that triggered electoral violence. Using two surveys conducted before and after the election we find that one out of three Kenyans were affected by the violence regardless of their ethnicity and wealth. The chances of being a victim of violence were higher in areas with land conflicts and where politically-connected gangs operated. Violence, which was mainly triggered by the perception that the election had been rigged, reduced trust and social capital among communities making violence more likely to reoccur.
    Keywords: Voting, Electoral Violence, Rule of Law, Institutions, Africa, Kenya
    Date: 2010
  5. By: Carlos Bozzoli (DIW Berlin); Tilman Brück (DIW Berlin)
    Abstract: This paper is the first study that analyzes the drivers of political protest using longitudinal data from a critical revolution that changed –at least temporarily– the political landscape in a transition country. We make use of a rich dataset consisting of panel data collected before and after the so called “Orange” revolution in Ukraine. Our empirical approach tackles two different –and equally interesting– features of the revolution: the determinants of participation (both in the protests and counter-protests) and the “selection” of participants into different levels of involvement (i.e. intensity of participation). We consider different drivers of participation, from traditional proxies for opportunities and grievances, but we also analyze the role of political and economic preferences, risk tolerance, life satisfaction, and indicators of network connectivity. What emerges from this study is a more nuanced pattern of participation that does not link uniquely to a single theoretical model.
    Date: 2010
  6. By: Tausch, Franziska (Maastricht University); Potters, Jan (Tilburg University); Riedl, Arno (Maastricht University)
    Abstract: Redistribution is an inevitable feature of collective pension schemes and economic experiments have revealed that most people have a preference for redistribution that is not merely inspired by self-interest. Interestingly, little is known on how these preferences interact with preferences for different pension schemes. In this paper we review the experimental evidence on preferences for redistribution and suggest some links to redistribution through pensions. For that purpose we distinguish between three types of situations. The first deals with distributional preferences behind a veil of ignorance. In the second type of situation, individuals make choices in front of the veil of ignorance and know their position. Finally, we discuss situations in which income is determined by interdependent rather than individual choices. In the closing parts of the paper we discuss whether and how these experimental results speak to the redistribution issues of pensions. For example, do they argue for or against mandatory participation? Should we have less redistribution and more actuarial fairness? How does this depend on the type of redistribution involved?
    Keywords: redistribution, fairness, pension, insurance, experiment
    JEL: C90 D01 D63 D64 H55
    Date: 2010–07
  7. By: Robert Price
    Abstract: This paper explores the political economy of fiscal adjustment. It begins with an examination of the evidence for, and sources of, ‘deficit bias’, including political and governance factors, public attitudes, the role of financial markets and imprecision about which debt targets should be pursued. It then examines the evidence regarding the exogenous and policy-related factors which affect the success of fiscal consolidation efforts. This is followed by a discussion of the role of fiscal institutions, including fiscal rules and autonomous agencies. The final section considers how the political economy of fiscal policy has changed with the financial crisis, giving some indications as to what may be needed to re-establish a consolidation path and make it less prone to setbacks.<P>L'économie politique de l'ajustement budgétaire<BR>Ce document explore l’économie politique de l’ajustement budgétaire. Il commence par examiner l’existence et les sources d’un biais en faveur des déficits. Parmi ces sources on peut citer les facteurs de politique économique et de gouvernance, les attitudes de la population, le rôle des marchés financiers et le manque de précision concernant les cibles de dette à atteindre. Il s’intéresse ensuite aux facteurs exogènes ou liés à l’action des pouvoirs publics qui affectent le succès des efforts d’assainissement des finances publiques. Enfin le rôle des institutions budgétaires est abordé, y compris celui des règles budgétaires et des agences autonomes. La dernière section s’interroge sur la façon dont la crise financière a modifié l’économie politique de la politique budgétaire en donnant quelques pistes sur ce qui pourrait s’avérer nécessaire pour rétablir une trajectoire de consolidation et la rendre moins vulnérable aux rechutes.
    Keywords: taxation, budgets, institutions, fiscal policy, public expenditure, fiscal consolidation, fiscal sustainability, political economy, deficit, debt, institutions, politique budgétaire, finances publiques, imposition, dépenses publiques, économie politique, soutenabilité des finances publiques, consolidation budgétaire, déficit, dette
    JEL: E62 E65 H30 H60 H61 H62 H63
    Date: 2010–05–31
  8. By: Marco Antonio Ribas Cavalieri (Department of Economics, Universidade Federal do Paraná); Iara Vigo de Lima (Department of Economics, Universidade Federal do Paraná)
    Abstract: Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929), considered the first institutionalist author, tried to formulate, in the passage of the 19th century to the 20th, an original system of political economy that was alternative to classical, neoclassical, historicist and marxist thoughts. In this paper, this system of political economy is considered from the Michel Foucault’s (1926-1984) archeology of knowledge perspective. Hence, the paper has two more specific objectives. First, to expose how Foucault’s archeology of knowledge can be used to the study of an original system of political economy. Second, to show that the Veblenian system can be viewed as an instance, incipient and hesitant as it is, in the direction of a surpassing of what Foucault named modern episteme.
    Keywords: Thorstein Veblen, Michel Foucault, history of economic thought, archeology of knowledge, institutionalism
    JEL: B15 B49 B31
    Date: 2010
  9. By: Tom Coupe (Kyiv School of Economics, Kyiv Economics Institute)
    Abstract: In this paper, we test Ukrainian Prime Minister Azarov’s claim that ‘conducting reforms is not women’s business’ and that therefore women should not be appointed in a government that aims to do reforms. Using a cross country dataset, we find that countries with a higher proportion of women among the ministers do not reform less.
    Keywords: reforms, gender
    JEL: P P
    Date: 2010–07
  10. By: Desai, V.V.
    Abstract: Regional cooperation arrangements (RCAs) have produced vastly dissimilar performances; some have spurred remarkable expansion in trade and cooperation among members, while several others have achieved little. Studies show that performances vary because RCAs differ from one another in important characteristics, namely the (i) objectives they aim to achieve, (ii) balance of power among member states, and (iii) political structures and processes of decision-making within individual member states. Subject characteristics uniquely influence and condition the functioning of RCAs. An assessment of the performance of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) reveals that the extremely skewed balance of power within the region and antagonistic inter-state relations among member states have stunted the organization’s effectiveness. To reverse the situation, SAARC’s member countries need to repair the prevailing atmosphere of distrust and suspicion, and build cordial inter-state relations. They also need to empower the SAARC Secretariat to function as a competent and neutral facilitator of cooperation in South Asia.
    Keywords: South Asia; regional cooperation arrangements; South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation; SAARC; political economy; trade; economic integration
    JEL: F53 F59
    Date: 2010–07–01

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