nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2015‒08‒07
six papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. The Political Legacy of Entertainment TV By Durante, Ruben; Pinotti, Paolo; Tesei, Andrea
  2. Negative Voters: Electoral Competition with Loss-Aversion By Lockwood, Ben; Rockey, James
  3. The Welfare State and Migration:Coalition-formation dynamics By Assaf Razin
  4. Producer Attitudes Toward Mandatory Agricultural Marketing Organizations: Evidence from the California Fresh Peach and Nectarine Industry By Plakias, Zoe T.; Goodhue, Rachael E.; Williams, Jeffrey
  5. Population location, commuting and local public goods: A political economy approach By Acocella Nicola; Di Bartolomeo Giovanni
  6. Reforming the Public Administration. The Role of Crisis and the Power of Bureaucracy By Zareh Asatryan; Friedrich Heinemann; Hans Pitlik

  1. By: Durante, Ruben; Pinotti, Paolo; Tesei, Andrea
    Abstract: We investigate the political impact of entertainment television in Italy over the past thirty years by exploiting the staggered introduction of Silvio Berlusconi's commercial TV network, Mediaset, in the early 1980s. We find that individuals in municipalities that had access to Mediaset prior to 1985 - when the network only featured light entertainment programs - were significantly more likely to vote for Berlusconi's party in 1994, when he first ran for office. This effect persists for almost two decades and five elections, and is especially pronounced for heavy TV viewers, namely the very young and the old. We relate the extreme persistence of the effect to the relative incidence of these age groups in the voting population, and explore different mechanisms through which early exposure to entertainment content may have influenced their political attitudes.
    Keywords: entertainment; Italy; political participation; television; voting
    JEL: D72 L82 Z13
    Date: 2015–07
  2. By: Lockwood, Ben (Department of Economics University of Warwick,); Rockey, James (University of Leicester)
    Abstract: This paper studies how voter loss-aversion affects electoral competition in a Downsian setting. Assuming that the voters’ reference point is the status quo, we show that loss-aversion has a number of effects. First, for some values of the status quo, there is policy rigidity both parties choose platforms equal to the status quo, regardless of other parameters. Second, there is a moderation effect when there is policy rigidity, the equilibrium policy outcome is closer to the moderate voters’ ideal point than in the absence of loss-aversion. In a dynamic extension of the model, we consider how parties strategically manipulate the status quo to their advantage, and we find that this increases policy rigidity. Finally, we show that with loss-aversion, incumbents adjust less than challengers to changes in voter preferences. The underlying force is that the status quo works to the advantage of the incumbent. This prediction of asymmetric adjustment is new, and we test it using elections to US state legislatures. The results are as predicted: incumbent parties respond less to shocks in the preferences of the median voter. JEL classification: electoral competition ; loss-aversion ; incumbency advantage ; platform rigidity
    Keywords: D72 ; D81
    Date: 2015
  3. By: Assaf Razin (tel aviv university)
    Abstract: We develop a dynamic political-economic theory of welfare state and immigration policies, featuring three distinct voting groups: skilled work- ers, unskilled workers, and old retirees. The essence of inter - and intra- generational redistribution of a typical welfare system is captured with a proportional tax on labor income to nance a transfer in a balanced- budget manner. We provide an analytical characterization of political- economic equilibrium policy rules consisting of the tax rate, the skill com- position of migrants, and the total number of migrants. When none of these groups enjoy a majority (50 percent of the voters or more), political coalitions will form. With overlapping generations and policy-determined influx of immigrants, the formation of the political coalitions changes over time. These future changes are taken into account when policies are shaped.
    Date: 2015
  4. By: Plakias, Zoe T.; Goodhue, Rachael E.; Williams, Jeffrey
    Abstract: We examine how various producer-level and farm-level factors affect producers' support for marketing orders, focusing on the California fresh peach and nectarine industries and the 2011 referendum vote in which their marketing orders were terminated. We form hypotheses regarding the effects of different factors. We then employ marketing order referendum voting data and additional data collected via a producer survey to test these hypotheses empirically. Some of our results conform to our predictions. For example, we find that producers with greater production of peaches and nectarines were less likely to vote for continuance of the marketing order. However, some results did not conform to our predictions. We found that gross income from farming and related activities to be insignificant and producers with some organic production or some direct sales are both more likely to vote for continuation. Our results suggests important dimensions of differentiation between producers for policymakers, regulators and industries to consider as they ponder the future of marketing orders.
    Keywords: marketing order, referendum, voting, producer heterogeneity, peaches, nectarines, Agribusiness, Agricultural and Food Policy, Industrial Organization, Political Economy, D72, L51, Q13, Q18,
    Date: 2015
  5. By: Acocella Nicola; Di Bartolomeo Giovanni
    Date: 2013–09
  6. By: Zareh Asatryan; Friedrich Heinemann; Hans Pitlik (WIFO)
    Abstract: The need to balance austerity with growth policies has put government efficiency high on the economic policy agenda in Europe. Administrative reforms which boost the efficiency of the administration can alleviate the trade-off between consolidation and public service provision. Against such backdrop, this study explores the determinants of efficiency enhancing public administration reforms for a panel of EU countries using a novel reform indicator. The findings support the political-economic reasoning: an economic and fiscal crisis is a potent catalyst for reforms, but a powerful bureaucracy effectively constrains the opportunities of a crisis to promote this particular type of reform. Furthermore, there is evidence for horizontal learning from other EU countries, and for vertical learning associated with a particular type of EU transfers.
    Keywords: Euro crisis, public sector efficiency, cohesion policy, theory of bureaucracy
    Date: 2015–07–23

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