nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2013‒05‒11
eight papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Centralization and accountability: Theory and evidence from the Clear Air Act By Federico Boffa; Giacomo A.M. Ponzetto; Amedeo Piolatto
  2. The political economy of food pricing policy in China By Huang, Jikun; Yang, Jun; Rozelle, Scott
  3. The political economy of food price policy: The case of Kenya By Nzuma, Jonathan Makau
  4. Dealing with the 2007/08 global food price crisis: The political economy of food price policy in Malawi By Chirwa, Ephraim; Chinsinga, Blessings
  5. A Dynamic Politico-Economic Model By Francesco Lancia; Alessia Russo
  6. Political economy of public policies : insights from distortions to agricultural and food markets By Anderson, Kym; Rausser, Gordon; Swinnen, Johan
  7. Food policy volatility and EU policies By Swinnen, Johan; Knops, Louise; Van Herck, Kristine
  8. The political economy of food price policy: Country case study of Mozambique By Nhate, Virgulino; Massingarela, Claudio; Salvucci, Vincenzo

  1. By: Federico Boffa (Institut d'Economia de Barcelona); Giacomo A.M. Ponzetto (Centre de Recerca en Economia Internacional - CREi); Amedeo Piolatto (Universidad de Alicante)
    Abstract: This paper studies fiscal federalism when voter information varies across regions. We develop a model of political agency with heterogeneously informed voters. Rent-seeking politicians provide public goods to win the votes of the informed. As a result, rent extraction is lower in regions with higher information. In equilibrium, electoral discipline has decreasing returns. Thus, political centralization reduces aggregate rent extraction. When the central government provides public goods uniformly across space, the model predicts that a region’s benefits from centralization are decreasing in its residents’ information. We test this prediction using panel data on pollutant emissions and newspaper circulation across the United States. The 1970 Clean Air Act centralized environmental policy at the federal level. In line with our theory, we find that centralization induced a faster decrease in pollution in less informed states.
    Keywords: Political centralization, Government accountability, Imperfect information, Interregional heterogeneity, Elections, Environmental policy, Air pollution.
    JEL: D72 D82 H73 H77 Q58
    Date: 2013–04
  2. By: Huang, Jikun; Yang, Jun; Rozelle, Scott
    Abstract: The overall goal of this paper is to analyse the political economy of food price policies in China during the global food crisis. The results show that given China.s unique economic and political context and the nature of its agricultural markets, the gov
    Keywords: food price, agriculture, price shocks, political economy, Mozambique
    Date: 2013
  3. By: Nzuma, Jonathan Makau
    Abstract: This paper evaluates Kenya.s food price crisis over 2002.11 using a political economy approach. Kenya.s food prices have been high and volatile relative to world food prices. Moreover, domestic food markets are highly integrated while about 30 per cent of
    Keywords: political economy, food prices, policy processes
    Date: 2013
  4. By: Chirwa, Ephraim; Chinsinga, Blessings
    Abstract: The paper examines the underlying political economy motivations of the government.s policy responses to food price increases in 2007/08 focusing particularly on maize as the main staple crop. The main government policy responses to the food price spikes i
    Keywords: food policy, price policy, food security, policy processes, political economy
    Date: 2013
  5. By: Francesco Lancia; Alessia Russo
    Abstract: This paper proposes a dynamic politico-economic theory of intergenerational contracts, whose driving force is the intergenerational con?ict over government spending. Embedding a repeated probabilistic voting setup in a standard OLG model with human capital accumulation, we ?nd that the empowerment of elderly constituencies is key in order to enforce productive policies. The paper characterizes the Markov-perfect equilibrium of the voting game, as well as the welfare properties. The main results are: (i) the existence of a Markov-perfect equilibrium which attains a growth- enhancing intergenerational contract does not require pre-commitment through the establishment of long-lasting institutions; (ii) the political sustainability of the intergenerational contract relies solely on the politico-economic fundamentals that are payo¤-relevant for future constituents; (iii) the implementation of pork-barrel transfers does not necessarily crowd out productive public investment; and, (iv) the greater the degree of intergenerational con?icts over the government spending, the lower the ine¢ ciency.
    JEL: D72 E62 H23 H30 H53
    Date: 2013–03
  6. By: Anderson, Kym; Rausser, Gordon; Swinnen, Johan
    Abstract: The agricultural and food sector is an ideal case for investigating the political economy of public policies. Many of the policy developments in this sector since the 1950s have been sudden and transformational, while others have been gradual but persistent. This paper reviews and synthesizes the literature on trends and fluctuations in market distortions and the political-economy explanations that have been advanced. Based on a rich global data set covering a half-century of evidence on commodities, countries, and policy instruments, the paper identifies hypotheses that have been explored in the literature on the extent of market distortions and the conditions under which reform may be feasible.
    Keywords: Economic Theory&Research,Emerging Markets,Agribusiness,Climate Change Economics,Population Policies
    Date: 2013–05–01
  7. By: Swinnen, Johan; Knops, Louise; Van Herck, Kristine
    Abstract: Changes in global food prices have affected EU producers and consumers and have triggered policy reactions through the EU.s political process. In particular, the EU and member states responded by social policies to protect their consumers, attempts to reg
    Keywords: food prices, EU policies, biofuels, Common Agricultural Policy, political economy
    Date: 2013
  8. By: Nhate, Virgulino; Massingarela, Claudio; Salvucci, Vincenzo
    Abstract: The 2007-09 price shocks affected in particular the prices of food commodities and fuel. As a consequence, Mozambique experienced reduced exports, more expensive imports and increased food and oil prices, contributing to the stagnant poverty rates registe
    Keywords: food price, agriculture, price shocks, political economy, Mozambique
    Date: 2013

This nep-pol issue is ©2013 by Eugene Beaulieu. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.