nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2012‒09‒09
nine papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Voting Power and Proportional Representation of Voters By Yair Tauman; Artyom Jelnov
  3. The Dark Side of the Vote - Biased Voters, Social Information, and Information Aggregation Through Majority Voting By Rebecca B. Morton; Marco Piovesan; Jean-Robert Tyran
  4. The Political Economy of Deforestation in the Tropics By Robin Burgess; Matthew Hansen; Benjamin Olken; Peter Potapov; Stefanie Sieber;
  5. From Policy Preferences to Partisan Support: A Quantitative Assessment of Political Culture in South Dakota By Russell H. Hillberry, William D. Anderson
  6. The Impact of Gender Quotas on Electoral Participation: Evidence from Italian Municipalities By Maria De Paola; Vincenzo Scoppa; Marco Alberto De Benedetto
  7. Money Talks: The Impact of Citizens United on State Elections By Klumpp, Tilman; Mialon, Hugo; Williams, Michael
  9. Public Infrastructures, Production Organizations, and Economic Development By Kohei Daido; Ken Tabata

  1. By: Yair Tauman (Department of Economics, Stony Brook University); Artyom Jelnov (The Faculty of Management, Tel Aviv University, Israel)
    Abstract: Our paper provides a justication for the proportional representative (PR) election system for politically diversied societies. We employ the Shapley value concept to measure the political power of parties in a parliament. We prove that for the PR system if parties' size add up to 1 and is uniformly distributed, the expected ratio of a party size to its political power converges to 1, and the variance decreases to 0 as the number of parties increases. The rate of convergence is high. An empirical evidence from the Netherlands elections supports our result. Using the Shapley-Owen index we obtain similar result (this time numerically only) for a voting model that takes into account ideological differences between parties and voters.
    Date: 2012–08
  2. By: Michael Carter; John Morrow
    Abstract: The political left turn in Latin America, which lagged its transition to liberalized market economies by a decade or more, challenges conventional economic explanations of voting behavior. While the implications of upward mobility for the political preferences of forward-looking voters have been studied, neither the upward mobility model nor conventional myopic median voter models are well equipped to explain Latin America's political transformation. This paper generalizes the forward-looking voter model to consider a broad range of dynamic processes. When voters have full information on the nature of income dynamics in a transition economy, we show that strong support for redistributive policies will materialize rapidly if income dynamics offer few prospects of upward mobility for key sections of the electorate. In contrast, when voters have imperfect information, our model predicts a slow and politically polarizing shift toward redistributive voter preferences under these same non-concave income dynamics. Simulation using fitted income dynamics for two Latin American economies suggests that the imperfect information model better accounts for the observed shift back to the left in Latin America, and that this generalized, forward-looking voter approach may offer additional insights about political dynamics in other transition economies.
    Keywords: income dynamics, redistributive politics, polarization, Bayesianlearning, Latin America.
    JEL: D31 D72 D83 P16
    Date: 2012–01
  3. By: Rebecca B. Morton (Department of Politics, NYU); Marco Piovesan (Harvard University); Jean-Robert Tyran (Department of Economics, University of Vienna, and Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: We experimentally investigate information aggregation through majority voting when some voters are biased. In such situations, majority voting can have a "?dark side"?, i.e. result in groups making choices inferior to those made by individuals acting alone. We develop a model to predict how two types of social information shape efficiency in the presence of biased voters and we test these predictions using a novel experimental design. In line with predictions, we find that information on the popularity of policy choices is beneficial when a minority of voters is biased, but harmful when a majority is biased. In theory, information on the success of policy choices elsewhere de-biases voters and alleviates the inefficiency. In the experiment, providing social information on success is ineffective. While voters with higher cognitive abilities are more likely to be de-biased by such information, most voters do not seem to interpret such information rationally.
    JEL: C92 D7 D02 D03
    Date: 2012–08–08
  4. By: Robin Burgess; Matthew Hansen; Benjamin Olken; Peter Potapov; Stefanie Sieber;
    Abstract: Tropical deforestation accounts for almost one-…fifth of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide and threatens the world’s most diverse ecosystems. The prevalence of illegal forest extraction in the tropics suggests that understanding the incentives of local bureaucrats and politicians who enforce forest policy may be critical to combating tropical deforestation. We …find support for this thesis using a novel satellite-based dataset that tracks annual changes in forest cover across eight years of institutional change in post-Soeharto Indonesia. Increases in the numbers of political jurisdictions are associated with increased deforestation and with lower prices in local wood markets, consistent with a model of Cournot competition between jurisdictions. We also show that illegal logging and rents from unevenly distributed oil and gas revenues are short run substitutes, but this effect disappears over time as political turnover occurs. The results illustrate how incentives faced by local government officials affect deforestation,and provide an example of how standard economic theories can explain illegal behavior.
    Keywords: political economy, corruption, deforestation, Cournot competition, satellite imagery, environmental monitoring, illegal logging, climate change, biodiversity
    JEL: D73 L73
    Date: 2012–04
  5. By: Russell H. Hillberry, William D. Anderson
    Abstract: This study uses cross-county variation in support for 46 ballot measures to identify political subcultures in South Dakota and to study them. A hierarchical clustering method applied to county-level election returns allows the identification of subcultures at various levels of granularity. We choose a threshold that suggests seven subcultures as a useful summary of the data. While the allocation procedure employs only election returns as an input, the identified subcultures match observable regularities in demographics and geography. Subsequent factor analysis of election returns from the ballot measures reveals a multi-dimensional policy space. By contrast, a similar analysis of support for political candidates reveals a single partisan spectrum as a dominant feature of the data. A county’s location in the revealed policy space well explains its location along this partisan spectrum. The link between policy and partisan preferences is robust to the inclusion of a wide variety of additional control measures.
    Keywords: Constraint, political culture, partisanship, efficient classification
    Date: 2012
  6. By: Maria De Paola; Vincenzo Scoppa; Marco Alberto De Benedetto (Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica, Università della Calabria)
    Abstract: We analyze the effect of gender quotas on electoral participation by using a rich dataset of Italian municipal elections. Gender quotas were in force in Italy from 1993 until 1995. Because of the short period covered by the reform, some municipalities never voted using gender quota. This allows us to identify a treatment and a control group and to estimate the effects of gender quotas by using a difference-in-differences estimation strategy. Notwithstanding electoral turnout shows a decreasing trend, we find that turnout has decreased significantly less in municipalities affected by the reform, suggesting that gender quotas have produced an increase in electoral participation. The effect on electoral turnout is driven by an increase in valid ballots, although we find also an increase in blank ballots. The effect is smaller in the Southern part of the country, typically characterized by more traditional gender roles. We also find that female electors react more than males probably because they expect female policy-makers to give particular attention to women’s interests.
    Keywords: Gender Quotas, Political Participation, Electoral Turnout, Natural Experiment, Gender Discrimination
    JEL: D72 D78 J71 J16
    Date: 2012–08
  7. By: Klumpp, Tilman (University of Alberta, Department of Economics); Mialon, Hugo (Emory University); Williams, Michael (Competition Economics)
    Abstract: The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that restrictions on independent political expenditures by corporations and labor unions are unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds (Citizens United v. FEC, 2010). In this paper, we test the hypothesis that the decision gave an electoral boost to Republicans, at the expense of Democrats. The 50 states provide an ideal testing ground for this hypothesis. The ruling only affected a subset of states since the majority of states already had no restrictions on independent expenditures, allowing us to obtain difference-in-differences estimates of the short term effects of the ruling on electoral advantage. We find that Citizens United had a positive and statistically significant effect of approximately seven percentage points on the probability of Republicans winning in state congressional elections.
    Keywords: Citizens United; independent expenditures; state elections; congressional races; campaign contributions; campaign finance
    JEL: D72 K19
    Date: 2012–08–01
  8. By: Tiiu Paas; Vivika Halapuu
    Abstract: The paper is aiming to clarify the possible determinants of peoples’ attitudes towards immigrants depending on their personal characteristics as well as attitudes towards households’ socio-economic stability and a country's institutions relying on the data of the European Social Survey fourth round database. The study is intending to provide empirical evidence-based grounds for the development of policy measures to integrate ethnically diverse societies, taking into account the composition of the country's population as well as other country’s peculiarities. The results of the empirical analysis are consistent with several theories explaining individual and collective determinants of people’s attitudes towards immigrants. Ethnic minorities, urban people, people with higher education and higher income, as well as people who have work experience abroad are, as a rule, more tolerant towards immigrants in Europe. Furthermore, people whose attitudes to socio-economic risks are lower and who evaluate the political and legal systems of a country and its police higher (e.g. political trust) are more tolerant towards immigrants. Respondents’ labour market status of (employed, unemployed) does not have a statistically significant relationship with their attitudes towards immigrants. In addition to the respondent’s personal characteristics and their attitudes, the collective determinants depending on country specific conditions measured by country dummies are valid in explaining people’s attitudes towards immigration.
    Keywords: edattitudes, immigration, tolerance, economic growth, policy implications, Baltic States
    JEL: O40 R11 C31 P51
    Date: 2012
  9. By: Kohei Daido (School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University); Ken Tabata (School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University)
    Abstract: We develop a political economy model of growth to examine economic development led by the interactions between an economic decision concerning a firm’s production technology (CRS vs IRS technology) and a political decision concerning public infrastructures. We show that multiple equilibrium growth paths occur due to differences in expectations regarding the quality of public infrastructures. These multiple paths illustrate why economies with poor initial conditions can catch up to and, furthermore, overtake economies with better initial conditions. Our result could explain the experiences of some East Asian countries where co-evolutions of public infrastructures and industrial transformations spurred economic development.
    Keywords: Public Infrastructure, Political Economy, Production Organization, Overlapping Generations Model
    JEL: H5 O1 O4
    Date: 2012–08

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