nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2011‒08‒02
eleven papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Political Legislation Cycle in the Czech Republic By Josef Brechler; Adam Gersl
  2. Parliaments as Condorcet Juries: Quasi-Experimental Evidence on the Representation of Majority Preferences By David Stadelmann; Reiner Eichenberger; Marco Portmann
  3. Evaluating the Median Voter Model’s Explanatory Power By David Stadelmann; Marco Portmann; Reiner Eichenberger
  4. Time to Vote? By Gibson, John; Kim, Bonggeun; Stillman, Steven; Boe-Gibson, Geua
  5. Political economy of the mining sector in Ghana By Ayee, Joseph; Soreide, Tina; Shukla, G. P.; Le, Tuan Minh
  6. Negotiating Political Spaces: Social and Environmental Activism in the Chinese Countryside By Maria Bondes
  7. Autocracies and Development in a Global Economy: A Tale of Two Elites By A. Akerman; A. Larsson; A. Naghavi
  8. Neo-liberalism, consequences on the prospect of democratization in Latin America By Dobra, Alexandra
  9. An Anarchist's reflection on the political economy of everyday life By Boettke, Peter
  10. Who are the outsiders and what do they want? Welfare state preferences in dualized societies By Silja Häusermann, Hanna Schwander
  11. Condorcet admissibility: Indeterminacy and path-dependence under majority voting on interconnected decisions By Nehring, Klaus; Pivato, Marcus; Puppe, Clemens

  1. By: Josef Brechler (Institute of Economic Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic); Adam Gersl (Czech National Bank; Institute of Economic Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic)
    Abstract: There is a wide range of theories that try to explain interactions between politics end economy that are referred as political cycles. Majority of these theories aims at analysis of changes in economic outcomes that are related to elections or other phenomena in the political reality. To induce at least some of these changes it is necessary to alter a country’s legislation which leads to emergence of political legislation cycles – changes in legislation activity over time in an electoral term. The aim of this paper is to study political legislation cycle in the legislative system of the Czech Republic. Obtained results suggest that elections timing has an impact on legislation activity. As electoral term matures and upcoming elections are getting closer an increase is observed in the legislation activity.
    Keywords: political business cycle, economic theory of legislation, voters
    JEL: H61 H62 C49
    Date: 2011–07
  2. By: David Stadelmann; Reiner Eichenberger; Marco Portmann
    Abstract: In parliament, individual representatives vote with a certain probability according to their constituents’ preferences. Thus, the mechanism of the Condorcet Jury Theorem can be fruitfully applied to parliamentary representation: The probability that a majority of representatives votes according to the preferences of the majority of their constituents increases with the number of representatives per district. The political economy literature has so far disregarded this aspect. We provide a theoretical discussion and quasi-experimental evidence for the validity of the Condorcet Jury Theorem in parliamentary representation by contrasting unique data from parliamentary roll call votes and popular referenda decisions.
    Keywords: Condorcet Jury Theorem; Preference Aggregation; Voting Behavior; Legislature; Political Representation
    JEL: D78 D70 D80
    Date: 2011–07
  3. By: David Stadelmann; Marco Portmann; Reiner Eichenberger
    Abstract: We match individual senators’ voting behavior on legislative proposals with 24 real referenda decisions on exactly the same issues with identical wording. This setting allows us to evaluate the median voter model’s quality with revealed constituents’ preferences. Results indicate a limited explanatory power of the median voter model: It explains 17.6 percentage points more than random voting and a senator’s probability to accept a proposal in parliament increases on average by 8.4 percentage points when the district median voter accepts the proposal.
    Keywords: Median Voter Model; Political Representation; Constituents’ Preferences
    JEL: D7 H7
    Date: 2011–07
  4. By: Gibson, John (University of Waikato); Kim, Bonggeun (Seoul National University); Stillman, Steven (University of Otago); Boe-Gibson, Geua (University of Waikato)
    Abstract: Despite the centrality of voting costs to the paradox of voting, little effort has been made to accurately measure these costs outside of a few spatially limited case studies. In this paper, we apply Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools to validated national election survey data from New Zealand. We calculate distance and travel time by road from the place of residence to the nearest polling place and combine our time estimate with imputed wages for all sample members. Using this new measure of the opportunity cost of voting to predict turnout at the individual level, we find that small increases in the opportunity costs of time can have large effects in reducing voter turnout.
    Keywords: paradox of voting, opportunity cost, travel time
    JEL: D7 R4
    Date: 2011–07
  5. By: Ayee, Joseph; Soreide, Tina; Shukla, G. P.; Le, Tuan Minh
    Abstract: With a focus on the institutional set-up and the political environment as central to understanding and rectifying the poor impact of mining on Ghana's economic development, this paper highlights the vulnerabilities in mining sector governance along the industry value chain. The authors explain why it has been difficult to implement policies that would have improved social welfare. They find that incentive problems in institutions directly or peripherally involved in mining governance are a major factor, as are an excessively centralized policy-making process, a powerful executive president, strong party loyalty, a system of political patronage, lack of transparency, and weak institutional capacity at the political and regulatory levels. The paper argues that the net impact of mining on economic development is likely to be enhanced with appropriate reforms in governance. Most importantly, there should be a greater awareness of incentive problems at the political level and their possible implications for sector performance and the economy at large. The set of checks and balances, as stipulated by the Constitution, have to be reinforced. Furthermore, capacity building at different levels and institutions is needed and should be combined with efforts to enhance incentives for institutional performance.
    Keywords: National Governance,Environmental Economics&Policies,Public Sector Corruption&Anticorruption Measures,Mining&Extractive Industry (Non-Energy),Governance Indicators
    Date: 2011–07–01
  6. By: Maria Bondes (GIGA Institute of Asian Studies)
    Abstract: The proliferation of social organizations in China has engendered a lively debate about how to conceptualize these social forces. This paper argues that such a conceptualization should take into account the role that both the party?state and social actors attribute to social organizations. With an empirical case study from the western Chinese countryside, this paper explores how social organizations both adapt to the restrictive authoritarian framework and negotiate the spaces opening up to society in the realms of environmental and social politics. The study shows that while the party?state understands organizations as consultants and partners in service provision, they have a deviating self?image with the Western concepts of “NGO” and “civil society” becoming increasingly relevant as frames of reference. While their practices remain within the limits imposed by the authoritarian framework, they impact policy formulation, local political participation, and the formation of social networks according to their own self?image as members of a budding Chinese civil society.
    Keywords: China, civil society, NGO, social organizations
    Date: 2011–07
  7. By: A. Akerman; A. Larsson; A. Naghavi
    Abstract: Data on the growth performances of countries with similar comparative (dis)advantage and political institutions reveal a striking variation across world regions. While some former autocracies such as the East Asian growth miracles have done remarkably well, others such as the Latin American economies have grown at much lower rates. In this paper, we propose a political economy explanation of these diverging paths of development by addressing the preferences of the country.s political elite. We build a theoretical framework where factors of production owned by the political elites di¤er across countries. In each country, the incumbent autocrat will cater to the preferences of the elites when setting trade policy and the property rights regime. We show how stronger property rights may lead to capital accumulation and labor reallocation to the manufacturing sector. This, in turn, can lead to a shift in the comparative advantage, a decision to open up to trade and an in.ow of more productive foreign capital. Consistent with a set of stylised facts on East Asia and Latin America, we argue that strong property rights are crucial for success upon globalization.
    JEL: F10 F20 P14 P16 O10 O24
    Date: 2011–07
  8. By: Dobra, Alexandra
    Abstract: The present paper aims to analyze the consequences of neo-liberalism on the prospect of democratization in Latin America, by concentrating on two case-studies, Brazil and Chile. The analysis is done on a double level. In a first part it considers the consequences of neo-liberalism on the first dimension of the infra-State level, the State itself and the government. In a second part it moves to the analysis of the second dimension of the infra-State level, the society. This double level of evaluation highlights the deficiency of an efficacious political democratization at the level of the State and the lack of the application of civil rights at the level of society. The neo-liberal context has accentuated democratic lacunas, because it has been ineffective in providing monitoring capacities in the field of democratic norms and institutional implementation.
    Keywords: Neo-liberalism; Latin America; Democratization; Democratic deconsolidation; Depolitization; Public sphere
    JEL: J08 A13 I38 A11
    Date: 2010–10
  9. By: Boettke, Peter
    Abstract: James Scott has written a detailed ethnography on the lives of the peoples of upland Southeast Asia who choose to escape oppressive government by living at the edge of their civilization. To the political economist the fascinating story told by Scott provides useful narratives in need of analytical exposition. There remains in this work a “plea for mechanism”; the mechanisms that enable social cooperation to emerge among individuals living outside the realm of state control. Social cooperation outside the formal rules of governance, nevertheless require “rules” of social intercourse, and techniques of “enforcement” to ensure the disciplining of opportunistic behavior.
    Keywords: economic development; self-regulation; political economy; peasant economy
    JEL: O17 P48
    Date: 2011
  10. By: Silja Häusermann, Hanna Schwander
    Abstract: This paper makes three contributions. First, it presents a new conceptualization and measurement of outsider-status, which is based on social class and which takes into account that the category of outsiders is composed differently in different countries, depending on labor markets and welfare states. Second, it argues theoretically and shows empirically that the class-based measure of insider-and outsider status has a stronger explanatory power with regard to individual-level welfare preferences than the measure based on labor market status. And third, it demonstrates empirically that dualization, combined with skill-levels, shapes people’s preferences with regard to different welfare policies: Outsiders have stronger preferences for redistribution and for social investment than insiders. The analyses are based on micro-level ISSP data.
    Keywords: labour contract; political economy; social policy; unemployment; welfare state
    Date: 2011–07–21
  11. By: Nehring, Klaus; Pivato, Marcus; Puppe, Clemens
    Abstract: Judgement aggregation is a model of social choice where the space of social alternatives is the set of consistent evaluations (`views') on a family of logically interconnected propositions, or yes/no-issues. Unfortunately, simply complying with the majority opinion in each issue often yields a logically inconsistent collection of judgements. Thus, we consider the Condorcet set: the set of logically consistent views which agree with the majority in as many issues as possible. Any element of this set can be obtained through a process of diachronic judgement aggregation, where the evaluations of the individual issues are decided through a sequence of majority votes unfolding over time, with earlier decisions possibly imposing logical constraints on later decisions. Thus, for a fixed profile of votes, the ultimate social choice can depend on the order in which the issues are decided; this is called path dependence. We investigate the size and structure of the Condorcet set ---and hence the scope and severity of path-dependence ---for several important classes of judgement aggregation problems.
    Keywords: judgement aggregation; diachronic; path-dependence; indeterminacy; Condorcet; median rule; majoritarian
    JEL: D71
    Date: 2011–07–24

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