nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2014‒11‒12
six papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Gender Quotas and Women’s Political Leadership By O'Brien, Diana C.; Rickne, Johanna
  2. Reference Dependence and Politicians' Credibility By Edoardo Grillo
  3. Public debt, fiscal decisions and political power By Waśniewski, Krzysztof
  4. With a Little Help from My Friends: Global Electioneering and World Bank Lending By Erasmus Kersting; Christopher Kilby
  5. Inter-Ethnic Hostility and Mobility of Political Power: Changing Influences of Perceived Horizontal Inequalities By Mikami, Satoru
  6. Why Give it Away When You Need it Yourself? Understanding Public Support for Foreign Aid in China By Cheng, Zhiming; Smyth, Russell

  1. By: O'Brien, Diana C. (Indiana University); Rickne, Johanna (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: Though more than 100 countries have adopted gender quotas, the impacts of these reforms on women’s political leadership remain largely unknown. We exploit a quasi-experiment – a zipper quota imposed by the Swedish Social Democratic national party on municipal party groups – to examine quotas’ effect on women’s selection and survival as leaders within their parties. We find that those municipalities where the quota had a larger impact became more likely to appoint female leaders, but not more likely to support the reelection of women to the post. Extending this analysis, we show that the quota increased the number of qualified female candidates without increasing the diversity among women within the group. These results lend support to the notion that quotas may have an acceleration effect on women’s representation in leadership posts and help dispel the myth that quotas trade short-term gains in women’s descriptive representation for long-term exclusion from political power.
    Keywords: Gender quotas; Political leadership; Party leaders; Political careers; Electoral reforms; Women and politics; Subnational politics
    JEL: G34 G38 J20 J48
    Date: 2014–10–15
  2. By: Edoardo Grillo
    Abstract: We consider a model of electoral competition in which two politicians compete to get elected. Each politician is characterized by a valence, which is unobservable to voters and can take one of two values: high or low. The electorate prefers politicians with high valence, but random shocks may lead to the victory of low-valence ones. Candidates make statements concerning their valence. We show that if voters are standard expected utility maximizers, politicians' statements lack any credibility and no information transmission takes place. By introducing reference-dependent preferences and loss aversion a là Koszegi and Rabin, we show that full revelation is possible. Indeed, if the electorate believes to candidates' announcements, such announcements will affect its reference point. As a result, if voters find out that a candidate lied, pretending to be high valence when she is not, they may decide to support the opponent in order to avoid the loss associated with appointing a candidate worse than expected.
    JEL: D03 D72 D82
    Date: 2014
  3. By: Waśniewski, Krzysztof
    Abstract: The present paper treats the issue of economic foundations, on which political power rests, and the specific problem of public debt in the developed countries. Starting from the general question: “Why do rich governments borrow so much?†the paper develops a model of political power based on the possession of capital, and on the transformation of public possession into private property rights. Empirical investigation follows, in a sample of 21 countries, demonstrating that there is an objectively existing transfer of capital from public borrowing to private property rights; that transfer is connected mostly to the property of non-productive assets, and goes beyond the easily inferable relation to net exports. That the transfer from public borrowing to private property rights is strongly correlated with the relative dispersion or concentration of power in the political system. We are witnessing a progressive withdrawal of public finance and public borrowing as a means of transferring capital, with a simultaneously growing idiosyncrasy (cross-sectinal variance) of fiscality.
    Keywords: fiscal policy, public debt, political power, political systems, property rights, institutional economics, macroeconomics
    JEL: E6 G1 H0 K0
    Date: 2014–11–01
  4. By: Erasmus Kersting (Department of Economics and Statistics, Villanova School of Business, Villanova University); Christopher Kilby (Department of Economics and Statistics, Villanova School of Business, Villanova University)
    Abstract: This paper uses monthly World Bank project-level data to assess the impact of upcoming elections in recipient countries on loan activity. We analyze the extent to which geopolitics influence both the timing and size of loan commitments and disbursements. While developing countries have better access to new World Bank loans when they vote with the U.S. in the United Nations General Assembly, we do not find that the political cycle plays a role in the timing or size of new loans. For already approved loans, disbursement is faster when countries are aligned with the U.S. in the UN. Furthermore, disbursement accelerates prior to elections if the country is geopolitically aligned with the U.S. but decelerates if the country is not. These disbursement patterns are consistent with global electioneering that serves U.S. foreign policy interests.
    Keywords: World Bank; Political Business Cycle; Elections
    JEL: E32 F34 F35 O19
    Date: 2014–10
  5. By: Mikami, Satoru
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to illuminate the origins of inter-ethnic hostility, which need to be addressed if the centripetalism institutions are to function properly. Using intention of ethnic voting as an indicator of inter-group discrimination, this paper tests several classic hypotheses adapted from social psychology based on the surveys conducted in 14 urban areas from six sub-Saharan African countries. Results show, among others, that horizontal inequalities, when perceived either advantageously or disadvantageously, actually increase the level of inter-group hostility, but that the malicious effect is context-dependent: a greedy tendency in terms of socio-economic group inequality is limited to non-minorities; minorities who think their own group is superior to others economically do not have stronger hostility towards others compared to those who do not see any socio-economic gap; perceived horizontal inequalities matter chiefly in the countries without any kind of political power mobility; hostility between groups is not associated with perceived horizontal inequalities in countries where experience of power sharing or change of government has convinced people that political change is not impossible.
    Keywords: Horizontal inequalities , Ethnic voting , Centripetalism , Sub-Saharan Arica , Inter-group discrimination
    Date: 2014–03–14
  6. By: Cheng, Zhiming; Smyth, Russell
    Abstract: Public support for foreign aid in donor countries is highly correlated with how much donor countries are willing to give. There is, perhaps surprisingly, relatively little evidence on the determinants of public support for foreign aid in donor countries. And the evidence that does exist is for donors that are developed democratic countries. In this study we examine the determinants of public support for foreign aid in China. China is a particularly interesting case because it is both a recipient and donor of foreign aid. Thus, one would expect that the public’s perceptions of China’s own development needs would influence its support for China donating to other countries. We find that while political ideology and sense of national identity are the most important determinants of support for foreign aid, several demographic characteristics are also important. We also find that those living in the lower income western provinces and in provinces with higher poverty rates express less support for giving foreign aid. We draw policy implications from the findings for better targeting engagement strategies designed to garner support for foreign aid.
    Keywords: China; public support; foreign aid; donor country
    JEL: D70 F50 P33
    Date: 2014–10–03

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