nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2012‒02‒01
eight papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Why Bother Asking? The Limited Value of Self-Reported Vote Intention By Rogers, Todd; Aida, Masa
  2. Valuing the Vote: The Redistribution of Voting Rights and State Funds Following the Voting Rights Act of 1965 By Elizabeth U. Cascio; Ebonya L. Washington
  3. On the Efficiency of Partial Information in Elections By Jon X. Eguia; Antonio Nicolò
  4. The Power of Political Voice: Women's Political Representation and Crime in India By Mani, Anandi; Iyer, Lakshmi; Mishra, Prachi; Topalova, Petia
  5. Political Ideology and Economic Growth in a Democracy : The French Experience, 1871 - 2009. By François Facchini; Mickaël Melki
  6. Health and the Political Agency of Women By Sonia Bhalotra; Irma Clots-Figueras
  7. Preferences for Redistribution among Emigrants from a Welfare State By Ilpo Kauppinen; Panu Poutvaara
  8. Under-investment in state capacity: the role of inequality and political instability By Mauricio Cárdenas; Didem Tuzemen

  1. By: Rogers, Todd (Harvard University and Analyst Institute, Washington, DC); Aida, Masa (Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, Washington, DC)
    Abstract: How accurate are people when predicting whether they will vote? These self-predictions are used by political scientists to proxy for political motivation, and by public opinion researcher to predict election outcomes. Phone surveys from three elections, including one survey experiment, are analyzed to compare respondents' pre-election vote intention with their actual voting behavior using administrative records (N=29,403). Unsurprisingly, many who predict that they will vote actually do not vote. More surprisingly, many who predict that they will not vote actually do vote (29% to 56%). Records of past voting behavior predicts turnout substantially better than self-prediction. Self-prediction inaccuracy is not caused by lack of cognitive salience of past voting, or by inability to recall past voting. Moreover, self-reported recall of turnout in one past election predicts future turnout just as well as self-prediction. We discuss implications for political science research, behavioral prediction, election administration policy, and public opinion.
    Date: 2012–01
  2. By: Elizabeth U. Cascio; Ebonya L. Washington
    Abstract: The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) has been called one of the most effective pieces of civil rights legislation in US history, having generated dramatic increases in black voter registration and black voter turnout across the South. We show that the expansion of black voting rights in some southern states brought about by one requirement of the VRA – the elimination of literacy tests at voter registration – was accompanied by a shift in the distribution of state aid toward localities with higher proportions of black residents, who held newfound power to affect the reelection of state officials, a finding that is consistent with models of distributive politics. Our estimates imply an elasticity of state transfers to counties with respect to turnout in presidential elections – the closest available measure of enfranchisement – of roughly one.
    JEL: D72 H7 I2 J15 N32
    Date: 2012–01
  3. By: Jon X. Eguia; Antonio Nicolò
    Abstract: We study the relation between the electorate's information about candidates' policy platforms during an election, and the subsequent provision of inefficient local public goods (pork) by the winning candidate. More information does not lead to better outcomes. We show that the efficient outcome in which no candidate proposes to provide any inefficient good is sustained in equilibrium only if voters are not well informed. If the electorate is well informed, electoral competition leads candidates to provide inefficient pork in all equilibria. We show that this result is robust even if candidates care about efficiency.
    Keywords: Elections, information, inefficiency, pork, campaigns
    JEL: H40 D61 D72
    Date: 2011
  4. By: Mani, Anandi (University of Warwick); Iyer, Lakshmi (Harvard Business School); Mishra, Prachi (International Monetary Fund); Topalova, Petia (International Monetary Fund)
    Abstract: Using state-level variation in the timing of political reforms, we find that an increase in female representation in local government induces a large and significant rise in documented crimes against women in India. Our evidence suggests that this increase is good news, as it is driven primarily by greater reporting rather than greater incidence of such crimes. In contrast, we find no increase in crimes against men or gender-neutral crimes. We also examine the effectiveness of alternative forms of political representation: large scale membership of women in local councils affects crime against them more than their presence in higher level leadership positions.
    Keywords: crime; women’s empowerment; minority representation; voice
    Date: 2011
  5. By: François Facchini (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne); Mickaël Melki (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne)
    Abstract: This paper examines the influence of political ideology on economic growth in the French democracy since 1871. It does so by addressing three main issues : the property and the reliability of a political ideology index in the long-run, the robustness of the relationship between ideology and growth and the specific channels through which political ideology affects economic performance. The main conclusion is that, compared with right-wing parties in power, left-wing governments have promoted equity at the expense of economic growth. It also appears that the main channel through which political ideology has impacted economic performance all along the French democratic experience is the budgetary tool (i.e. fiscal and redistributive policies) which influenced employment and income inequalities. By contrast, there seems to be less or even no empirical support for explanations based on the monetary policy or regulation, such as trade policies or the labor market regulation.
    Keywords: French economic history, 19th century, 20th century, political ideology, partisanship, growth, government performance, fiscal policy, public spending, unemployment, inequality.
    JEL: E6 O43 H11 N13
    Date: 2012–01
  6. By: Sonia Bhalotra; Irma Clots-Figueras
    Abstract: We investigate whether politician gender influences policy outcomes in India. We focus upon antenatal and postnatal public health provision since the costs of poor services in this domain are disproportionately borne by women. Accounting for potential endogeneity of politician gender and the sample composition of births, we find that a one standard deviation increase in women’s political representation results in a 1.5 percentage point reduction in neonatal mortality. Women politicians are more likely to build public health facilities and encourage antenatal care, institutional delivery and immunization. The results are topical given that a bill proposing quotas for women in state assemblies is currently pending in the Indian Parliament.
    Keywords: political identity, gender, mortality, health, social preferences, India.
    JEL: H41 I18 O15
    Date: 2011–12
  7. By: Ilpo Kauppinen (Ifo Institute); Panu Poutvaara (University of Munich and Ifo Institute)
    Abstract: This paper studies attitudes towards income redistribution in the country of origin among those who stay in a welfare state, and those who emigrate. We find a striking gender difference among Danish emigrants. Majority of men opposes increasing income redistribution, while majority of women supports it. Women are somewhat more positive towards redistribution also in Denmark, but the gender difference is much smaller. We study to what extent differences in attitudes towards redistribution are driven by beliefs about the determinants of individual success, generalized trust, assimilation to the new home country, and self-selection of emigrants to the United States and other destinations. We do not find evidence of assimilation to political values prevalent in the new home country.
    Keywords: Migration; Emigration; Welfare state; Redistribution; Political preferences
    JEL: F22 J61 H2
    Date: 2012–01
  8. By: Mauricio Cárdenas; Didem Tuzemen
    Abstract: Existing studies have shown that the state's ability to tax, also known as fiscal capacity, is positively related to economic development. In this paper, we analyze the determinants of the government's decision to invest in state capacity, which involves a trade-off between present consumption and the ability to collect more taxes in the future. Using a model, we highlight some political and economic dimensions of this decision and conclude that political stability, democracy, income inequality, as well as the valuation of public goods relative to private goods, are important variables to consider. We then test the main predictions of the model using cross-country data and find that state capacity is higher in more stable and equal societies, both in economic and political terms, and in countries where the chances of fighting an external war are high, which is a proxy for the value of public goods.
    Date: 2011

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