nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2013‒06‒30
eleven papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Strategic voting and happiness By Francesca Acacia; Maria Cubel
  2. Democracy, Dictatorship and the Cultural Transmission of Political Values By Ticchi, Davide; Verdier, Thierry; Vindigni, Andrea
  3. Party Representation in English and Welsh Constituencies, 1690-1740 By Dan Bogart; Robert Oandasan
  4. A political economy model of the vertical fiscal gap and vertical fiscal imbalances in a federation By Bev Dahlby; Jonathan Rodden
  5. Cooperation under Democracy and Authoritarian Norms By Björn Vollan; Yexin Zhou; Andreas Landmann; Biliang Hu; Carsten Herrmann-Pillath
  6. Is it worth it? On the returns to holding political office By Heléne Lundqvist
  7. Religion, Politician Identity and Development Outcomes:Evidence from India By Sonia Bhalotra; Guilhem Cassan; Irma Clots-Figueras; Lakshmi Iyer
  8. Politics and IMF Conditionality By Axel Dreher; Jan-Egbert Sturm; Raymond Vreeland
  9. Dominance Solvable Approval Voting Games By Sébastien Courtin; Matias Nùnez
  10. Voting under the Threat of Secession: Accommodation vs. Repression. By Anesi, Vincent; De Donder, Philippe
  11. The Politics of Transport Infrastructure Policies in Colombia By Sebastián Nieto-Parra; Mauricio Olivera; Anamaría Tibocha

  1. By: Francesca Acacia (University of Edinburgh); Maria Cubel (University of Barcelona & IEB)
    Abstract: In this paper we extend the research on happiness and spatial theory of voting by exploring whether strategic and sincere voting affect subjective well-being. We conduct the analysis with data on a large sample of individuals over 50 elections in 16 OECD countries. The results of the analysis show the existence of a negative effect of strategic voting on subjective well-being. In addition, the likelihood of being satisfied decreases when individuals vote strategically for a political party that wins the electoral race. Furthermore, when we analyse separately left-wing and right-wing voters, we find that the described effect holds for left-wing voters but no for right-wing voters. We discuss this evidence in the light of expressive voting theory (Hilman, 2010) and lack of empathy with future selves (Kahneman and Thaler, 1991). Our results are robust to different measures of strategic voting and subjective well-being.
    Keywords: Happiness, life satisfaction, strategic voting, political ideology
    JEL: D72 D03 I31
    Date: 2013
  2. By: Ticchi, Davide (IMT Lucca); Verdier, Thierry (Paris School of Economics); Vindigni, Andrea (IMT Lucca)
    Abstract: We develop a theory of endogenous regimes transitions (with a focus on democratic consolidation), which emphasizes the role of political culture and of its interaction with political institutions. Political culture reflects the extent of individual commitment across citizens to defend democracy against a potential military coup, and it is an endogenous state variable of the model along with formal political institutions. We focus on two agencies of political socialization: the family and the state. Parents invest resources in order to transmit their own political values (commitment to democracy) to their children. The state invests resources in public indoctrination infrastructures. The model displays two-way complementarities between political regimes and political culture diffusion. Consolidated democracy emerges when sufficiently many people are committed to democracy. Otherwise the model features persistent fluctuations in and out of democracy as well as cycles of political culture. Importantly, the politico-economic equilibrium may exhibit a persistent (although declining) incongruence between political institutions and political culture, which tends to evolve more slowly than formal institutions.
    Keywords: political culture, socialization, democracy, military, nondemocracy, political economy, political transitions, institutional consolidation, path dependency
    JEL: P16 H11 H26 H41
    Date: 2013–06
  3. By: Dan Bogart (Department of Economics, University of California-Irvine); Robert Oandasan (Compass Lexecon)
    Abstract: The Whig and Tory parties played an important role in British politics in the decades following the Glorious Revolution. Scholars have used The History of Parliament series as a key source for data on political parties, yet most editions omit tabular data on the party affiliation of individual MPs. In this paper, we introduce newly created data on the political affiliation of all MPs serving in England and Wales between 1690 and 1740. We then measure the strength of Whig Party representation across English and Welsh constituencies and for the first time present maps of party representation. The Whigs are shown to be more strongly represented in municipal boroughs compared to counties and they were stronger in small and oligarchical boroughs compared to large and more democratic boroughs. We also find that the Whigs were stronger in southeastern boroughs and counties. The patterns are broadly similar during the Rage of Party (1690 to 1721) and the Walpole Era (1722 to 1740). The main difference is that the Whigs lost strength in the North during the Walpole Era and they were weaker in constituencies with contested elections under Walpole.
    Keywords: Political parties; Whigs; Tories; Rage of Party; Walpole; Glorious Revolution
    JEL: N43 P16 D72
    Date: 2013–06
  4. By: Bev Dahlby (University of Calgary); Jonathan Rodden (Stanford University)
    Abstract: We develop a political economy model of intergovernmental transfers. Vertical fiscal balance occurs in a federation when the ratio of the marginal benefit of the public services provided by the federal and provincial governments is equal to their relative marginal costs of production. With majority voting in national elections, the residents of a "pivotal province" will determine the level of transfers such that the residents of that province achieve a vertical fiscal balance in spending by the two levels of government. We test the predictions of the model using Canadian time series data and cross-section data for nine federations.
    Keywords: Fiscal federalism, vertical fiscal imbalance, fiscal gap
    JEL: H71 H73 H77
    Date: 2013
  5. By: Björn Vollan; Yexin Zhou; Andreas Landmann; Biliang Hu; Carsten Herrmann-Pillath
    Abstract: There is ample evidence for a “democracy premium”. Laws that have been implemented via election lead to a more cooperative behavior compared to a top-down approach. This has been observed using field data and laboratory experiments. We present evidence from Chinese students and workers who participated in public goods experiments and a value survey. We find a premium for top-down rule implementation stemming from people with stronger individual values for obeying authorities. When participants have values for obeying authorities, they even conform to non-preferred rule. Our findings provide strong evidence that the efficiency of political institutions depends on societal norms.
    Keywords: Deterrent effect of legal sanctions, expressive law, authoritarian norms, public goods, democratic voting, China
    JEL: A13 C92 D02 D72 H41
    Date: 2013–06
  6. By: Heléne Lundqvist (Stockholm University)
    Abstract: Despite the key role played by political payoffs in theory, very little is known empirically about the types of payoffs that motivate politicians. The purpose of this paper is to bring some light into this. I estimate causal effects of being elected in a local election on monetary returns. The claim for causality, I argue, can be made thanks to a research design where the income of some candidate who just barely won a seat is compared to that of some other candidate who was close to winning a seat for the same party, but ultimately did not. This research design is made possible thanks to a comprehensive, detailed data set covering all Swedish politicians who have run for office in the period 1991{2006. I establish that monetary returns are absent both in the short and long run. In stead, politicians seem to be motivated by non-monetary returns, and I show that being elected locally once (for exogenous reasons) can be an effective starting point for enjoying such payoffs.
    Keywords: Returns to politics, political career concerns, regression discontinuity design
    JEL: C23 D72 J44
    Date: 2013
  7. By: Sonia Bhalotra (University of Bristol); Guilhem Cassan (Center for Research in the Economics of Development, University of Namur); Irma Clots-Figueras (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid); Lakshmi Iyer (Harvard Business School)
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether the religious identity of state legislators in India influences development outcomes, both for citizens of their religious group and for the population as a whole. To control for politician identity to be correlated with constituency level voter preferences or characteristics that make religion salient, we use quasi-random variation in legislator identity generated by close elections between Muslim and non-Muslim candidates. We find that increasing the political representation of Muslims improves health and education outcomes in the district from which the legislator is elected. We find no evidence of religious favoritism: Muslim children do not benefit more from Muslim political representation than children from other religious groups.
    Keywords: religion, politician identity, infant mortality, primary education, India, Muslim
    JEL: I15 J13 H41 P16
    Date: 2013–06
  8. By: Axel Dreher (KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich, Switzerland); Jan-Egbert Sturm (KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich, Switzerland); Raymond Vreeland (Georgetown University, Washington D.C.)
    Abstract: Bailouts sponsored by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are famous for their conditionality: in return for continued installments of desperately needed loans, governments must comply with austere policy changes. Many have suggested, however, that politically important countries face rather weak stringency. Obstacles to testing this hypothesis include finding a measure of political importance that is not plagued by endogeneity and obtaining data on IMF conditionality. We propose to measure political importance using temporary membership on the United Nations Security Council and analyze a newly available dataset on the level of conditionality attached to (a maximum of) 314 IMF arrangements with 101 countries over the 1992 to 2008 period. We find a negative relationship: Security Council members receive about 30 percent fewer conditions. This suggests that the major shareholders of the IMF trade softer conditionality in return for political influence over the Security Council.
    Keywords: IMF, UN Security Council, Voting, Aid, Conditionality
    JEL: O19 O11 F35
    Date: 2013–06
  9. By: Sébastien Courtin; Matias Nùnez (Universit´e de Cergy-Pontoise, THEMA, UMR CNRS 8184; Universit´e de Cergy-Pontoise, THEMA, UMR CNRS 8184)
    Abstract: This work provides necessary and sufficient conditions for the dominance solvability of approval voting games. Our conditions are very simple since they are based on the approval relation, a binary relation between the alternatives. We distinguish between two sorts of dominance solvability and prove that the most stringent one leads to the election of the set of CondorcetWinners whereas this need not be the case for the weak version.
    Keywords: Approval voting, Strategic voting, Dominance-solvability, Condorcet Winner
    JEL: C72 D71 D72
    Date: 2013
  10. By: Anesi, Vincent; De Donder, Philippe
    Date: 2013–07
  11. By: Sebastián Nieto-Parra; Mauricio Olivera; Anamaría Tibocha
    Abstract: This paper analyses the Policy-Making Process (PMP) of transport infrastructure projects in Colombia for the period 2002-10. It aims to identify the main bottlenecks to improve the implementation of public policies in the main phases of the transport infrastructure policy cycle, namely planning, budgeting, execution, and monitoring and evaluation. The main results draw three conclusions. Firstly, there is a need to improve the planning and prioritisation stages of roads construction. Secondly, information problems affect monitoring and evaluation. Finally, the institutional weakness in the transport sector causes co-ordination failures between different transport modes (horizontal level) as well as inadequate separation of responsibilities and management of resources between national and sub-national governments (vertical level). This paper contributes to the research studying the PMP in Latin American economies.<BR>Cet article analyse le processus de formulation des politiques de mise en place de projets d'infrastructure de transport en Colombie pour la période 2002-10. Il identifie les principaux obstacles qui doivent être traités afin d'améliorer la mise en oeuvre des politiques publiques dans les principales phases du cycle de l'infrastructure de transport, à savoir la planification, la budgétisation, l'exécution, le suivi et l'évaluation. Les principaux résultats conduisent à trois conclusions. Tout d'abord, il est nécessaire d'améliorer la planification et la priorisation de la construction du réseau des voies. Deuxièmement, les problèmes d'information affectent le suivi et l'évaluation. Enfin, la défaillance institutionnelle dans le secteur des transports provoque des échecs dans la coordination entre les différents modes de transport (niveau horizontal) ainsi que dans la séparation insuffisante des responsabilités et de la gestion des ressources entre les gouvernements nationaux et sous-nationaux (niveau vertical). Ce document contribue aux travaux de recherche sur le processus de formulation des politiques des pays latino-américains.
    Keywords: infrastructure, political economy, game theory, transport policies, policy making process, infrastructure, économie politique, théorie des jeux, politiques de transport, processus de formulation des politiques
    JEL: D78 H11 H54 O18 P16
    Date: 2013–04–09

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