nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2012‒09‒22
six papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Female Representation but Male Rule? Party Competition and the Political Glass Ceiling By Folke, Olle; Rickne, Johanna
  2. Citizenry Accountability in Autocracies. The Political Economy of Good Governance in China By Gilli, Mario; Li, Yuan
  3. Frontier Issues of the Political Economy of Migration By Gil S. Epstein
  4. The Inter-linkages between Democracy and Per Capita GDP Growth: A Cross Country Analysis By Madeeha Gohar Qureshi; Eatzaz Ahmed
  5. Public Education and Democracy in a Simple Model of Persistent Inequality By Franciscos Koutentakis
  6. The Economic Causes and Consequences of Social Instability in China By Jobn Knight

  1. By: Folke, Olle (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)); Rickne, Johanna (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: A large literature has studied the context that affects women’s numerical representation, but few have moved beyond numbers to study the drivers of a gender gap in political influence among elected politicians. Using panel data for the careers of 35.000 Swedish municipal politicians over six election cycles we first document the said gender gap. Women are substantially less likely to be re-elected for office, which is the most important pre-condition for obtaining influential appointments. Turing to the determinants we find that supply factors, primarily family responsibilities, explain some of this gap. Meanwhile, demand factors such as experience, age, education and income do not. Finding that competition between political parties closes the gap, we argue that a negative bias against women among party selectors thrives in contexts where meritocracy is not enforced. Positive correlations between competition and measures of competence for elected politicians of both genders further support this conclusion.
    Keywords: Careers in politics; Political competition; Supply of politicians
    JEL: H10 J16 J21 J45
    Date: 2012–09–05
  2. By: Gilli, Mario (University of Milan-Bicocca); Li, Yuan (University of Duisburg--Essen)
    Abstract: Do the citizens have a role in constraining policies in autocratic governments? Usually the political and economic literature model autocracy as if the citizens have no role in constraining leader’s behavior, but actually autocratic government are afraid of possible citizens’ revolts. In this paper we focus on contemporary China to analyze how citizens might induce an autocratic government to adopt congruent policies. Although there is no party or electoral competition, the leader fears deposition by coup d’état of the selectorate and revolutionary threats from citizens. We build a three player political agency model to study the role of both these constraints and we show that the effectiveness of the selectorate and of revolutionary threats are crucial factors in determining the policy outcomes. In particular, we show that the citizens can effectively discipline the leader because of the revolution threat notwithstanding the selectorate size, but this may result in a failed state when the costs of revolting and the selectorate size are small. As the size of the selectorate and the costs of revolution vary dramatically across countries, our result explain why different types of autocracies arise. In particular our model and results provide a useful framework to interpret China policy in the last twenty years.
    Keywords: Autocracy; Accountability; Revolt; Chinese Economic Reform
    JEL: D02 D74 H11
    Date: 2012–09–05
  3. By: Gil S. Epstein (Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University, Israel IZA, Bonn and CReAM, London)
    Abstract: Migration has a strong economic impact on the sending and host countries. Since individuals and groups do not benefit equally from migration, interest groups emerge to protect and take care of their narrow self-interests and compete for rents generated by migration. Narrow self-interests may be present not only for interest groups but also for ruling politicians and civil servants. In this paper we consider how political culture is important for determining policy and how interest groups affect, via a lobbying process, the choice of public policy. We also consider how interest groups and lobbying activities affect assimilation and attitudes towards migrants and international trade. The narrow interests of the different groups may cause a decrease in social welfare, in some cases, and may enhance welfare in other situations.
    Keywords: Migration, Political Economy, Culture, Minorities, Politicians.
    JEL: F22 P48 O15
    Date: 2012–09
  4. By: Madeeha Gohar Qureshi (Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad.); Eatzaz Ahmed (Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad)
    Abstract: The empirical growth literature gives no clear indication as to how democracy impacts growth; there is evidence of both positive and negative effects and also of no direct link in democracy and growth nexus. In this study an attempt has been made to resolve this controversy by putting this question in a dynamic simultaneous equation framework that combines in a system the regression in differences with regression in levels applied on a cross county data set over the period 1987-2002. This type of modelling not only controls for the endogeneity of the explanatory variables and the unobserved country-specific effects but also allows us to analyse the impact of democracy on per capita GDP growth and the reverse causation from per capita GDP growth on political and civil freedom simultaneously. Our result shows evidence in support of a quadratic impact of the democracy on per capita GDP growth (an inverted U relationship) that is per capita GDP is found to be increasing in democracies at low levels but after a certain moderate level of democracy this relation turns negative. The support of reverse causation from per capita GDP growth to political and civil freedom is found only in countries grouped as partially free and free democracies. However we do not find any evidence in support of Lipset Hypothesis that prosperity leads to increase in propensity to experience political freedom taking all countries into consideration.
    Keywords: Democracy, Per Capita GDP Growth, Quadratic Relationship, Lipset Hypothesis
    JEL: C22 O43
    Date: 2012
  5. By: Franciscos Koutentakis (University of Crete)
    Abstract: The paper introduces public education fi��nanced by linear taxation into a standard model of persistent inequality. It obtains the straightforward conclusion that agents with income above the average will prefer a positive tax rate. This implies a majority of agents supporting the introduction of public education suggesting that democracy is necessary and sufficient condition for redistribution.
    Keywords: Public education, persistent inequality, democracy
    JEL: H4
    Date: 2012–07–18
  6. By: Jobn Knight
    Abstract: Social instability is a concept that economists rarely analyse, and yet it can lurk behind much economic policy-making. China’s leadership has often publicly expressed its concerns to avoid ‘social instability’. It is viewed as a threat both to the political order and to the continued rapid growth of the economy. This threat to growth in turn endangers the maintenance of social stability. This paper examines the likely economic determinants of social instability, using both surveys and other evidence. After explaining the determinants of China’s rapid growth, the paper goes on to examine the likely mechanisms by which social instability can affect the growth rate. There is a case for more research on the role of social instability in the economic development process.
    Keywords: China, Civl unrest, Corruption, Developmental state, Economic growth, Governance, Happiness, Inequality, Social instability
    JEL: O15 O20 O43 P26
    Date: 2012

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