nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2015‒01‒26
ten papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Working paper No. 240 Bloc – party Politics and Economic Outcomes. What Are the Effects of Local Parties? By Lakomaa, Erik; Korpi, Martin
  2. Patronage Politics and the Development of the Welfare State: Confederate Pensions in the American South By Shari Eli; Laura Salisbury
  3. Fair Apportionment in the View of the Venice Commission's Recommendation By László Á. Kóczy; Balázs Sziklai; Péter Biró
  4. The Institutional Presidency from a Comparative Perspective: Argentina and Brazil since the 1980s By Mariana Llanos; Magna Inácio
  5. Multidimensional electoral competition between differentiated candidates By Dimitrios Xefteris
  6. Liberalization policy: An empirical analysis of economic and social interventions in Western democracies By Höpner, Martin; Petring, Alexander; Seikel, Daniel; Werner, Benjamin
  7. A Methodological Note on a Weighted Voting Experiment By Eric Guerci Author-Name: Nobuyuki Hanaki Author-Name: Naoki Watanabe; Gabriele Esposito Author-Name: Xiaoyan Lu
  8. The Political Economy of the 2014 Farm Bill By Orden, David; Zulauf, Carl R.
  9. Power Sharing in the Asia-Pacific By Benjamin Reilly
  10. Researching Ethnic Relations as the Outcome of Political Processes By Anaïd Flesken

  1. By: Lakomaa, Erik (Stockholm School of Economics); Korpi, Martin (The Ratio institute)
    Abstract: In a much cited 2008 article, Per Pettersson-Lidbom uses regression discontinuity to test for Swedish party effects on economic policies such as municipal taxation, spending and employment. We reassess the issue using the same estimator as Pettersson-Lidbom but new data on all factual coalitions, including minority coalitions as well as those previously deemed as undefined on a left and right wing political scale (constituting about 20 percent of the sample used in Pettersson-Lidbom’s study). This makes it possible to remove a systematic bias against centre-right coalitions in Pettersson-Lidbom’s study. We find that a majority of the previous findings stand, with sometimes even slightly stronger effects, but not as regards the proportional income tax rate and number of government employees per capita. Parties seem to matter for economic outcomes, but not always, and some parties more than others.
    Keywords: Democracy; Voting behaviour; Economic policy; Political systems
    JEL: C21 D72 D78 H71 H72
    Date: 2014–12–31
  2. By: Shari Eli; Laura Salisbury
    Abstract: Beginning in the 1880s, southern states introduced pensions for Confederate veterans and widows. They continued to expand these programs through the 1920s, while states outside the region were introducing cash transfer programs for workers, poor mothers, and the elderly. Using legislative documents, application records for Confederate pensions, and county-level census and electoral data, we argue that political considerations guided the enactment and distribution of these pensions. We show that Confederate pensions programs were introduced and funded during years in which Democratic gubernatorial candidates were threatened at the ballot box. Moreover, we offer evidence that pensions were disbursed to counties in which these candidates had lost ground to candidates from alternative parties.
    JEL: H0 I38 N0 N41 N42
    Date: 2015–01
  3. By: László Á. Kóczy (Óbuda University); Balázs Sziklai (Hungarian Academy of Sciences); Péter Biró (Corvinus University)
    Abstract: In this paper we analyze the consequences of the fairness recommendation of the Venice Commission in allocating voting districts among larger administrative regions. This recommendation requires the size of any constituency not to differ from the average constituency size by more than a fixed limit. We show that this minimum difference constraint, while attractive per definition, is not compatible with monotonicity and Hare-quota properties, two standard requirements of apportionment rules. We present an algorithm that efficiently finds an allotment such that the differences from the average district size are lexicographically minimized. This apportionment rule is a well-defined allocation mechanism compatible with and derived from the recommendation of the Venice Commission. Finally, we compare this apportionment rule with mainstream mechanisms using real data from Hungary and the United States.
    Keywords: Apportionment, voting, elections, Venice Commission, proportionality, lexicographic ordering JEL Codes: C71, D72
    Date: 2013–11
  4. By: Mariana Llanos (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies); Magna Inácio (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais)
    Abstract: This paper focuses on the evolution of the institutional presidency – meaning the cluster of agencies that directly support the chief of the executive – in Argentina and Brazil since their redemocratization in the 1980s. It investigates what explains the changes that have come about regarding the size of the institutional presidency and the types of agency that form it. Following the specialized literature, we argue that the growth of the institutional presidency is connected to developments occurring in the larger political system – that is, to the political challenges that the various presidents of the two countries have faced. Presidents adjust the format and mandate of the different agencies under their authority so as to better manage their relations with the political environment. In particular, we argue that the type of government (coalition or single-party) has had consequences for the structure of the presidency or, in other words, that different cabinet structures pose different challenges to presidents. This factor has not played a significant role in presidency-related studies until now, which have hitherto mostly been based on the case of the United States. Our empirical references, the presidencies of Argentina and Brazil, and typical cases of coalitional as well as single-party presidentialism respectively all allow us to show the impact of the type of government on the number and type of presidential agencies.
    Keywords: Argentina, Brazil, institutional presidency, presidential office, coalition presi-dentialism, comparative political institutions
    Date: 2014–10
  5. By: Dimitrios Xefteris
    Abstract: It is known that multidimensional Downsian competition fails to admit an equilibrium in pure strategies unless very stringent conditions on the distribution of voters’ bliss points are imposed (Plott 1967). This paper revisits this problem considering that the two vote share maximizing candidates are differentiated. That is, candidates strategically decide positions only in some of the n dimensions while in the rest their positions are assumed to be fixed. These fixed dimensions may be viewed as candidates’ immutable characteristics (race, religion, culture, etc.). We find that if candidates are sufficiently differentiated - if in the fixed dimensions their positions are sufficiently different - then a unique Nash equilibrium in pure strategies is guaranteed to exist for any distribution of voters’ bliss points. Perhaps more importantly, we show that this is true even if there exists a unique fixed dimension and candidates instrumentally decide their positions in all other n-1 dimensions.
    Keywords: electoral competition, multidimensional model, equilibrium existence, differentiated candidate
    Date: 2015–01
  6. By: Höpner, Martin; Petring, Alexander; Seikel, Daniel; Werner, Benjamin
    Abstract: Political-economic classics of different schools agreed that capitalism inherently and inevitably leads to a decline of market principles. Analyzing indicators of liberalization policies for 21 OECD-countries in five economic and social policy fields, we demonstrate that Western industrialized countries are subject to a convergent trend towards market-creating policies. This stands in stark contrast to the theoretical expectations of classical works in the field of political economy. Since the first half of the 1980s at the latest, Western democracies have entered a new phase of economic liberalization. From a methodological perspective, our findings suggest that the methods for the causal analysis of convergent liberalization policies cannot be identical with the methods that have been used for analyzing the development and consolidation of the varieties of capitalism in the postwar era.
    Date: 2014
  7. By: Eric Guerci Author-Name: Nobuyuki Hanaki Author-Name: Naoki Watanabe; Gabriele Esposito Author-Name: Xiaoyan Lu
    Abstract: We conducted a sensitivity analysis of the results of weighted voting experiments by varying two features of the experimental protocol by Montero et al. (2008): (1) the way in which the roles of subjects are reassigned in each round (random role, RR, versus fixed role, FR) and (2) the number of proposals that subjects can simultaneously approve (multiple approval, MA, versus single approval, SA). It was observed that the differences in these protocols had impacts on the relative frequencies of minimum winning coalitions as well as how negotiations proceed. Our analysis favors a protocol with FR-SA for future research, because this protocol induces subjects to commit fewer errors in their decision making than the protocol with RR-MA, and because proposal-objection dynamics are more frequently observed under FR-SA than under RR-MA.
    Date: 2013–12
  8. By: Orden, David; Zulauf, Carl R.
    Abstract: This article assesses the political economy of the 2014 farm bill, which eliminated annual fixed direct payments but offers enhanced downside risk protection against low prices or declining revenue. The farm bill secured substantial bipartisan majorities in a politically contentious Congress. The countercyclical structure of U.S. support is reaffirmed and crop insurance is enhanced as a safety net pillar. Open policy issues include the distribution of benefits among crops, the design of multiple year support around moving-average revenue benchmarks versus fixed references prices, and questions related to crop insurance, including the overall level of premium subsidies. In an international context, we conclude the 2014 farm safety net likely would not have been enacted had multilateral agreement been reached on the 2008 Doha Round negotiating documents; conversely, the 2014 farm bill makes achieving those limits more difficult.
    Keywords: Agricultural policy, 2014 farm bill, farm subsidies, commodity programs, crop insurance, conservation, WTO, Agricultural and Food Policy, Crop Production/Industries, Livestock Production/Industries, Q17, Q18, Q28, K33, N52,
    Date: 2015
  9. By: Benjamin Reilly (Murdoch University)
    Abstract: Executive power sharing has been practiced widely in the Asia-Pacific region, in both for-mal and informal ways. This paper examines the theory and practice of these various ap-proaches to the sharing or dividing of governing power across the region. I look first at the broad issues of executive structure and the distinction between presidential and parliamentary systems across the region, at the divergent approaches taken to both formal and informal practices of executive inclusion, and at the empirical relationship between these variables and broader goals of political stability. Following this, I construct an “index of power sharing” to compare the horizontal sharing of powers across the region over time. Finally, I look at the experience of vertical power sharing via measures such as federalism, devolution, and autonomy.
    Keywords: power sharing, ethnicity, parties, elections, Asia
    Date: 2014–09
  10. By: Anaïd Flesken (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies)
    Abstract: Ethnic diversity is often seen to be detrimental to peace and stability, particularly if ethnicity is the basis for political mobilization. Mobilization is assumed to increase the salience of ethnicity, and with it in-group cohesion, out-group animosity, and national instability; yet the mechanisms have rarely been studied empirically. This article argues that we need to study ethnicity as the outcome of political processes, focus on the attitudinal mechanisms underlying ethnic relation; and examine this phenomenon at the individual level. To this end, the article first disaggregates the term “ethnicity” into attributes, meanings, and actions. Referring to constructivism, it then argues that political science should focus on meanings. Building on the theory and findings of social psychology, this paper shows that political science must distinguish analytically between meanings regarding different in- and out-group processes. Doing so can help advance the study of ethnic relations and conflict-management practices.
    Keywords: ethnic relations, ethnic conflict, institutional engineering, constructivism
    Date: 2014–08

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