nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2015‒08‒19
five papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Strategic Voting under Committee Approval: A Theory By Jean-François Laslier; Karine Van Der Straeten
  2. Forms of Democracies and Financial Development By Pierre MANDON; Clément MATHONNAT
  3. Attack When the World Is Not Watching? International Media and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict By Durante, Ruben; Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina
  4. Reforming the public administration: The role of crisis and the power of bureaucracy By Asatryan, Zareh; Heinemann, Friedrich; Pitlik, Hans
  5. Social Institutions and Gender Inequality in Fragile States: Are they relevant for the Post-MDG Debate? By Boris Branisa; Carolina Cardona

  1. By: Jean-François Laslier (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics); Karine Van Der Straeten (Institute for Advanced Study Toulouse - Institute for Advanced Study Toulouse, TSE - Toulouse School of Economics - Toulouse School of Economics)
    Abstract: We propose a theory of strategic voting under “Commitee Approval”: a fixed-sized commitee of M members is to be elected; each voter votes for as many candidates as she wants, and the M candidates with the most votes are elected. We assume that voter preferences are separable and that there exists a tiny probability that any vote might be misrecorded. We show that best responses involve voting by pairwise comparisons. Two candidates play a critical role: the weakest expected winner and the strongest expected loser. Expected winners are approved if and only if they are preferred to the strongest expected loser and expected losers are approved if and only if they are preferred to the weakest expected winner. At equilibrium, if any, a candidate is elected if and only if he is approved by at least half of the voters. With single-peaked preferences, an equilibrium always exists, in which the first M candidates according to the majority tournament relation are elected.
    Date: 2015–06
  2. By: Pierre MANDON (CERDI - Centre d'études et de recherches sur le developpement international - CNRS - Université d'Auvergne - Clermont-Ferrand I); Clément MATHONNAT (CERDI - Centre d'études et de recherches sur le developpement international - CNRS - Université d'Auvergne - Clermont-Ferrand I)
    Abstract: The empirical literature on the political economy of finance emphasizes the importance of political institutions as crucial determinants of financial development and shows that democratic regimes are positively and robustly correlated with financial development. By using a three years periodic panel of 140 countries over 1984-2007, we show that democratic regimes appear to be significantly and positively correlated with financial development, but the opposition between democracies and dictatorships is not sufficient to account for differentials in financial development between countries. Indeed, our results highlight a significant and highly heterogeneous relationship between democratic regimes and financial development since the positive effect induced by democracies on financial development is explained by the presence of specific democratic political institutions, namely: parliamentary form of government and to a lesser extent federal state form. Thus, democracies seem to better foster financial development if its constitutional arrangement allows horizontal flexibility and vertical stability in the political decision-making process.
    Date: 2014–11–19
  3. By: Durante, Ruben; Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina
    Abstract: Policy makers may strategically time unpopular measures to coincide with other newsworthy events that distract the media and the public, so as to minimize the political cost of these measures. We test this hypothesis in the context of the recurrent Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Combining daily data on attacks on both sides of the conflict with data on the content of evening news for top U.S. TV networks, we show that Israeli attacks are more likely to be carried out when U.S. news are expected to be dominated by important (non-Israel-or-Palestine-related) events on the following day. Several findings indicate that this association is a result of the strategic behavior of Israeli authorities: i) only attacks that bear higher risk of civilian casualties are timed to newsworthy events; ii) attacks are timed to events that are predictable, and iii) the timing of Israeli retaliations against Palestinian attacks is related to U.S. news only in periods of less intense fighting, when retaliation is less urgent. Based on comprehensive content analysis of conflict-related news, we document that the strategic timing of Israeli attacks is aimed at minimizing news coverage on the following day because next-day news stories are especially charged with negative emotional content. We find no evidence of strategic timing for Palestinian attacks.
    Keywords: accountability; conflict; mass media; strategic timing
    JEL: L82 P16
    Date: 2015–07
  4. By: Asatryan, Zareh; Heinemann, Friedrich; Pitlik, Hans
    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
    JEL: H83 H11 D73
    Date: 2015
  5. By: Boris Branisa (Institute for Advanced Development Studies); Carolina Cardona (Institute for Advanced Development Studies)
    Abstract: We focus on an issue that appears particularly relevant for fragile states and which has received little attention: social institutions related to gender inequality, defined as societal practices and legal norms that frame gender roles and the distribution of power between men and women in the family, market, and social and political life. We show empirically that fragile states perform worse than other non-fragile developing countries when considering these social institutions. We suggest that a special set of indicators reflecting social institutions related to gender inequality in both fragile states and non-fragile states should be considered in the post-MDG agenda.
    Keywords: Social institutions, Gender inequality, Developing countries, Fragile States, Millennium Development Goals, Post2015 Development Agenda
    JEL: D63 I39 J16 O1
    Date: 2015–06

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