nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2015‒03‒27
twelve papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Political Selection under Alternative Electoral Rules By Vincenzo Galasso; Tommaso Nannicini
  2. Turnout and Closeness: Evidence from 60 Years of Bavarian Mayoral Elections By Felix Arnold
  3. Revisiting the link between PAC contributions and lobbying expenditures By James Lake
  4. Vote buying or (political) business (cycles) as usual? By Aidt, Toke; Asatryan, Zareh; Badalyan, Lusine; Heinemann, Friedrich
  5. Between plurality and proportionality: an analysis of vote transfer systems By Csató, László
  6. The Impact of Political Economic Sensitivities on Trade Regimes among Politically Asymmetric Countries By Young-Han Kim; Hye-Young Lee
  7. Wealth Distribution and Individual Voting Preferences: A Comparative Perspective By Piotr Paradowski; Lindsay Flynn
  8. The Use of Social Media as a Means of Political Communication: Comparision of AKP and CHP’s Facebook Comments in the Local Elections of 30 March 2014 By Emine Kılıçaslan; Hale Bozkurt
  9. Crime, Incentives and Political Effort: A Model and Empirical Application for India By Kai Gehring; T. Florian Kauffeldt; Krishna Chaitanya Vadlamannati
  10. A Global Index of Information and Political Transparency By Andrew Williams
  11. Changing Political Economy, Policies, and Journalism: The conflicts between journalists, media organizations and the government in Taiwan (2003-2013) By YU-CHIH LIN
  12. Implicit and Explicit Ways of Expressing Personal Opinion on Twitter: The Tea Party Movement in the USA By Elena V. Gabrielova

  1. By: Vincenzo Galasso; Tommaso Nannicini
    Abstract: We study the patterns of political selection in majoritarian versus proportional systems. Political parties face a trade-off in choosing the mix of high and low quality candidates: high quality candidates are valuable to the voters, and thus help to win the elections, but they crowd out the parties’ most preferred loyal candidates. In majoritarian elections, the share of high quality politicians depends on the distribution of competitive versus safe (single-member) districts. Under proportional representation, politicians’ selection depends on the share of swing voters in the entire electorate. We show that, as the share of competitive districts increases, the majoritarian system begins to dominate the proportional system in selecting high quality politicians. However, when the share of competitive districts becomes large enough, a non-linearity arises: the marginal (positive) effect of adding high quality politicians on the probability of winning the election is reduced, and proportional systems dominate even highly competitive majoritarian. Keywords: electoral rules, political selection, probabilistic voting. JEL codes: D72, D78, P16.
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Felix Arnold
    Abstract: One prediction of the calculus of voting is that electoral closeness positively affects turnout via a higher probability of one vote being decisive. I test this theory with data on all mayoral elections in the German state of Bavaria between 1946 and 2009. Importantly, I use constitutionally prescribed two-round elections to measure electoral closeness and thereby improve on existing work that mostly uses ex- post measures that are prone to endogeneity. The results suggest that electoral closeness matters: A one standard deviation increase in close- ness increases turnout by 1.68 percentage points, which corresponds to 1 6 of a standard deviation in this variable. I also evaluate how other factors like electorate size or rain on election day affect turnout differentially depending on the closeness of the race.
    Keywords: Turnout, closeness, mayoral elections, Bavaria, two-round ballot
    JEL: D72 H70
    Date: 2015
  3. By: James Lake (Southern Methodist University)
    Abstract: Data on campaign contributions of PACs (political action committees) in the US does not contain the PACs' issues of concern. Additionally, while recent US lobbying data details the issues of concern for an interest group, it does not detail the Congressional representatives lobbied by the interest group. Expanding the time-frame of earlier work, I confirm that PACs engaging in lobbying and campaign contributions account for the majority of such political money despite representing a small minority of all PACs. I show how this allows construction of a novel dataset that decomposes representative-specific contributions across issues as well as issue-specific lobbying expenditures across representatives. This decomposition can qualitatively a¤ect results regarding the relationship between political money and Congressional voting behavior on trade policy.
    Keywords: Interest groups, Campaign finance, Contributions, Lobbying, Access, Trade policy, Free Trade Agreements
    JEL: D72 P16
    Date: 2015–02
  4. By: Aidt, Toke; Asatryan, Zareh; Badalyan, Lusine; Heinemann, Friedrich
    Abstract: We provide new evidence on the short-run effect of elections on monetary aggregates. We study month-to-month fluctuations in the growth rate of M1 in a sample of 85 low and middle income democracies from 1975 to 2009. The evidence shows an increase in the growth rate of M1 during election months of about one tenth of a standard deviation. A similar effect can neither be detected in established OECD democracies nor in the months leading up to the election. The effect is larger in democracies with many poor and uneducated voters, and in Sub-Saharan Africa and in East-Asia and the Pacific. We show that the election month monetary expansion is demand driven and can be best explained by systemic vote buying. Systemic vote buying requires significant amounts of cash to be disbursed right before elections. The finely timed increase in M1 that we observe in the data is consistent with this. The timing is inconsistent with a monetary cycle aimed at creating an election time boom and it cannot be, fully, accounted for by other possible explanations.
    Keywords: political business cycles,vote buying,monetary economics
    JEL: D72 E51 O10
    Date: 2015
  5. By: Csató, László
    Abstract: The paper considers a general model of electoral systems combining district-based elections with a compensatory mechanism in order to implement any outcome between strictly majoritarian and purely proportional seat allocation. It contains vote transfer and allows for the application of three different correction formulas. Analysis in a two-party system shows that a trade-off exists for the dominant party between the expected seat share and the chance of obtaining majority. Vote transfer rules are also investigated by focusing on the possibility of manipulation. The model is applied to the 2014 Hungarian parliamentary election. Hypothetical results reveal that the vote transfer rule cannot be evaluated in itself, only together with the share of constituency seats. With an appropriate choice of the latter, the three mechanisms can be made functionally equivalent.
    Keywords: electoral systems, mixed-member systems, vote transfer, two-party system, Hungary
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2015
  6. By: Young-Han Kim (Sungkyunkwan University); Hye-Young Lee (Sungkyunkwan University)
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of political economic sensitivities of the trade regime among politically asymmetric countries. Our concerns focus on the effects of firm’s lobbying activity in each country, not only tariff setting, but also on the trade regime's decision, especially considering the countries’ asymmetries in political economic sensitivities. We derive the following conclusion from our oligopolistic political economy model. If the country has a greater political bias, then the domestic government prefers to participate in unilateral trade regime or bilateral trade regimes. However, if the country’s political factor is insignificant, then the government prefers to carry out complete free trade. These results imply that Korea-China-Japan FTA negotiation could be accelerated when three countries’ political sensitivities are larger. Moreover, China, which has the greatest political sensitivity, would be more likely to participate in Korea-China-Japan FTA. We find that the sharp contrast between these results and the previous literature stems mainly from the asymmetries of political economic sensitivities when domestic governments determine the political tariff and trade regime.
    Keywords: Political Economic Sensitivities; Trade Regime; Lobbying; Strategic Trade Policy
    JEL: F12 F13 F15
    Date: 2014–12
  7. By: Piotr Paradowski (Luxembourg Income Study); Lindsay Flynn (University of Virginia)
    Abstract: The political science literature has neglected the role that economic wealth may play in shaping voting preferences during national elections, most likely because of a lack of data on wealth. This paper examines the influence of net worth as well as its subcomponents, such as debts (housing and non-housing) and assets (financial and non-financial) on individual voting preferences in the United States, with reference to Sweden and Germany. It is found that especially in the United States, and marginally in Sweden and Germany, one’s net worth influences their vote. This paper utilizes individual-level data from the American National Election Studies (ANES), the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES), and the Luxembourg Wealth Study Database (LWS). Statistical matching methods are utilized to integrate the electoral and wealth surveys. The availability and our harmonization of household socio-economic characteristics as well as the individual socio-demographic and labor market characteristics in LWS, and CSES/ANES make this process possible. This procedure also involves the the use of probit analysis and the calculation of predicted probabilities.
    Keywords: wealth, voting, statistical matching
    Date: 2014–10
  8. By: Emine Kılıçaslan (Trakya University); Hale Bozkurt (Adnan Menderes University)
    Abstract: The developments in the field of internet and computers have paved the way for the formation of social media and a new media was born. Also, these developments created new platforms for communication. Rapid changes have occurred especially in the last decade. These changes have led social media to develop and pervade into every aspect of our life. In this respect the web 2-based internet has offered people new social environments where they can share theid ideas, feelings and knowledge and even their creativity. Particularly, these developments in social media were seen for politicians as a new field of propaganda and political communication. For this reason, social media platforms are used as an important means for political advertising in election campaigns. This situation arising as a result of technologcial developments has given rise to the widespread appearance of political communication in social media platforms. The use of social media becomes highly important for politicians in political campaigns. Therefore, the notion of ‘digital politics’ and ‘online politics’ have found a place in the political and academic literature. This study is an examination of the working of campaigns taking place in social media during the 30 March 2014 local elections in Turkey. The use of Facebook in political campaigns as a means of political communication is analyzed using the content analysis method. In this way, the political discourses of AKP and CHP are compared on the basis of their campaigns in the last local elections.
    Keywords: Political Communication, Social Media, Local Elections
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2014–10
  9. By: Kai Gehring (University of Heidelberg); T. Florian Kauffeldt (University of Heidelberg); Krishna Chaitanya Vadlamannati (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)
    Abstract: The large share of politicians facing criminal accusations in India has sparked a public debate and an emerging literature that assesses its causes and effects. We develop a model of the incentives faced by members of parliament when deciding whether to engage in effort for their constituency to assess the effect of their having a criminal background on their decision. We use direct and clearly identifiable measures of effort in the 14 Lok Sabha over the 2004-2009 legislative period: attendance rates, parliamentary activity, and utilization rates of a local area development scheme. The findings suggest that criminal MPs exhibit on average about 5% lower attendance rates and lower utilization rates, but no difference in parliamentary activity. The results depend on the development level of the constituency, a proxy for rent-seeking possibilities and monitoring intensity, as well as on the measurement of criminal background. We use selection on observables, matching techniques, and treatment effect regressions to demonstrate why these negative relations should constitute an upper bound estimate for the causal effect of criminality and to show they are unlikely to be driven by selection on unobservabels.
    Keywords: India; Elections; Crime; Good and bad politicians; Development; Attendance and activity in parliament; Political economy
    JEL: D72 H11 I38
    Date: 2015–03–24
  10. By: Andrew Williams (University of Western Australia)
    Abstract: Interest in the political and economic consequences of transparency has grown significantly over the past decade. The literature, however, has been hampered by methodological issues over what actually constitutes ‘transparency’, as well as the lack of a quantitative indicator that has substantial coverage across countries, and time. This paper uses a methodology similar to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index to construct composite indicators of what we call Informational Transparency, and Political Transparency. These new indicators have been taken from 24 individual sources, with scores being derived annually between 1980 – 2010 across more than 180 countries. A brief example looking at the effects of transparency on economic growth shows that countries that have improved their informational transparency grew strongly over this period, however, there appears to be no growth benefits from improved political transparency
    Date: 2014
  11. By: YU-CHIH LIN (Newcastle University, UK)
    Abstract: Over the last decade, the media environment in Taiwan has changed dramatically. A global magazine 'Foreign Policy', on 20th February 2014, specifically discussed these issues and described Taiwanese media as sensationalist without depth. In deed, the exaggerated and lurid news contents are the productions of Taiwanese journalism; however, the most important question worthy of examining is the phenomenon or the problem embedded in the political economy, the policies and the journalistic field in Taiwan. This research focuses on how the changing political economy and policies have changed media environment and the conflicts journalists have struggled towards media organizations and the government from 2003 to 2013. In 2003, the government in Taiwan announced a policy, governmental product placement, in order to promote policies or governors in news without informing audiences or readers the news was purchased by the government. This policy has changed the media environment in Taiwan for more than ten years due to the so- called democratic government using money to manipulate journalism and interfere with the production of news. This paper explores how governmental product placement has influenced the media environment and the conflicts of individual journalists with the government and media organizations from 2003 to 2013. The concepts of Bourdieu, the critical political economy of journalism and the crisis of neoliberalism are the theoretical framework of this research. This research adopted semi-structured, in-depth interviewing to do fieldwork in Taiwan from 17th July to 21st September 2013 and interviewed 30 journalists working for the most influential 13 TV stations. The informants were 7 males and 23 females with 2 to 21-year working experiences. Their positions were junior journalists, senior journalists, TV presenters and chief editors.The findings of this research are mainly four aspects: First, news in Taiwan has become definitely a commodity with very clear selling and purchasing deals. Sometimes, it might be buy one get one free deal. Sometimes, news might be not for individual sale, but for a package sale with advertisements. Second, journalists towards the conflicts against professional journalism might choose to compromise due to ‘salary’. Without enough economic capital, they do not dare to fight. They choose to survive rather than fight for professional journalism. Even though few journalists try to fight for professionalism, finally, they might be disappointed and choose to leave the journalistic industry.Third, even though journalists try hard to accumulate their capital, when they achieve higher positions, they are satisfied with what they own, the economic, cultural, social, and symbolic capital. They might complain the media environment, but they see no reasons to fight for professional journalism. Fourth, the government in Taiwan might interfere with the process of news production. The government might directly ask journalists to report the specific angels or even ask to check the news content beforehand. The roles of media organizations are essential; if media organizations allow the government to check the news before broadcasting, journalists might suffer more conflicts and struggle more.
    Keywords: governmental product placement; news; commodity; professional journalism; conflict; field; habitus; capital; critical political economy; neoliberalism
    JEL: P16 D29
    Date: 2014–05
  12. By: Elena V. Gabrielova (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: This article examines the linguistic tools adopted by Twitter users to express their personal opinion on the Tea Party movement in the USA. The purpose of the current research is to define the link between the content of the message and the way it is expressed either implicitly or explicitly. The focus is on the linguistic tools aimed at fulfilling different functions. The investigation is based on the content analysis of tweets collected for three months and processed by program Atlas.ti. The program allows the coding of messages, defining the frequency of codes and their correlations. We conclude that people tend to express their opinion explicitly if they are positive about the protest or their aim is to proselytize. Simultaneously, Twitter users take advantage of metaphors, quotations and questions to express their opinion implicitly if they are negative or critical about the movement. The findings of this research illustrate how Twitter users communicate with each other and discuss political issues, and in what way they influence each other’s opinion using various linguistic tools while being restricted to only 140 characters
    Keywords: linguistic tools, media consumption, blog, online communication, protest movement
    JEL: Z00
    Date: 2015

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