nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2015‒12‒12
seven papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Projecting a Range of Possible Results in the December 2015 Elections for National Assembly in Venezuela By David Rosnick
  2. Selection of Public Servants into Politics By Thomas Braendle; Alois Stutzer
  3. Political Institutions, Technology and Growth: a dynamic panel approach By Zuazu Bermejo, Izaskun
  4. Elections and Property Rights: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Russia By Timothy Frye; Andrei Yakovlev
  5. Key drivers of EU budget allocation: Does power matter? By Vera Zaporozhets; Mar\'ia Garc\'ia-Vali\~nas; Sascha Kurz
  6. Building consensus and establishing compacts in social policy: Notes for an analytical framework By Maldonado Valera, Carlos; Palma, Andrea
  7. An Empirical Note on Tribalism and Government Effectiveness By Kodila-Tedika, Oasis; Asongu, Simplice

  1. By: David Rosnick
    Abstract: This paper finds that a wide range of outcomes are possible in the December 6 National Assembly elections, based on current polling data; and that there is potential for significant disparity between the popular vote and the distribution of seats among the opposing parties and coalitions. The paper simulates, based on the 2010 election results, the 2015 election under various assumptions regarding the government’s share of the vote and the degree to which the opposition is fractured among different coalitions. The projections look at the percent increase in votes the opposition would need in order to secure a simple majority, three-fifths, and two-thirds majority in the Assembly. These results are potentially important because of widespread misunderstanding of the Venezuelan electoral system, and the emphasis on national polls which may differ considerably from the election results for a legislative body under the current voting system. The paper also shows how the current system of disproportional representation for sparsely populated states — similar to a combination of the U.S. Senate and House into a single chamber — will favor the government.
    Keywords: Latin America, elections, electoral system, Venezuela
    JEL: N N4 N46
    Date: 2015–12
  2. By: Thomas Braendle; Alois Stutzer
    Abstract: Countries differ substantially in how they deal with politicians that come from the public sector. Most constitutions include incompatibility and ineligibility rules due to concerns about conflicts of interest and the politicization of the public service. We study how these rules affect the attractiveness of parliamentary mandates for public servants and thus the selection into politics. We compile a novel dataset that captures the fraction of public servants in 76 national legislatures as well as the respective (in)compatibility regimes. On average, there are seven percentage points fewer public servants in parliaments where a strict regime is in force. Supplementary evidence based on IV estimations shows that the fraction of public servants in parliament is positively correlated with government consumption, but not correlated with government effectiveness.
    Keywords: political selection; public servants; incompatibility; political representation; compensation of politicians; government consumption
    JEL: D72 K39
    Date: 2015–12
  3. By: Zuazu Bermejo, Izaskun
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether the effect of political institutions on sectoral economic performance is determined by the level of technological development of industries. Building on previous studies on the linkages among political institutions, technology and economic growth, we employ the dynamic panel Generalized Method of Moments (GMM) estimator for a sample of 4,134 country-industries from 61 industries and 89 countries over the 1990-2010 period. Our main findings suggest that changes of political institutions towards higher levels of democracy, political rights and civil liberties enhance economic growth in technologically developed industries. On the contrary, the same institutional changes might retard economic growth of those industries that are below a technological development threshold. Overall, these results give evidence of a technologically conditioned nature of political institutions to be growth-promoting.
    Keywords: political, development, develogical, dynamic, panel, institutions, technological, data
    JEL: H70 O10 O43 P16 C23
    Date: 2015–10
  4. By: Timothy Frye (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Andrei Yakovlev (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: The relative bargaining power of rulers and right-holders is thought to be a key determinant of property rights, but because it both shapes and is shaped by property rights, it is difficult to estimate the impact of bargaining power on property rights. We take advantage of a natural experiment by comparing the responses of managers interviewed just before and just after a surprising parliamentary election in Russia that weakened the relative bargaining power of the ruling party. This electoral shock had little impact on the perceived property rights of the average firm, but firms with close economic ties to the state viewed their property as more vulnerable after the election. By exploiting largely exogenous variation in the timing of survey interviews, we estimate the impact of bargaining power on property rights with greater precision. We also contribute to the literature on elections under autocracy by focusing on their economic, rather than political impacts on individuals
    Keywords: Elections, property rights, hostile takeover, natural experiment
    JEL: Z
    Date: 2015
  5. By: Vera Zaporozhets; Mar\'ia Garc\'ia-Vali\~nas; Sascha Kurz
    Abstract: We examine the determinants of the EU budget expenditures allocation among different countries. In line with earlier literature, we consider two alternative explanations for the EU budget distribution: political power vs. needs view. Extending the original data set from Kauppi and Widgr\'en (2004), we analyze the robustness of their predictions when applying a different measure of power and more sophisticated econometric techniques. We conclude that the nucleolus is a good alternative to the Shapley-Shubik index in distributive situations such as the case of EU budget allocation. Our results also show that when explaining budget shares, the relative weight of political power based on the nucleolus is lower than the predictions of previous studies based on the Shapley-Shubik index.
    Date: 2015–12
  6. By: Maldonado Valera, Carlos; Palma, Andrea (Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL) United Nations)
    Abstract: Although democracy is no longer the exception in Latin America, in many cases the political feasibility of major social and fiscal covenants remains a standing challenge, which explains the interest that the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has in covering this issue, with the support of the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), in the framework of the project “Social covenant for more inclusive social protection”. This paper opens a line of inquiry into analysis of the emergence of compacts and consensuses in the social policy sector, presenting a methodological proposal to conduct ex post case studies of compacts and consensuses that have emerged in this sector in democratic contexts, as well as ex ante assessments of the possibilities for a broad social accord or consensus in specific contexts. This methodological proposal is built on three case studies on major consensus-based social policy reforms in Chile, Mexico and Uruguay, which will be published in the Social Policies series.
    Date: 2014–06
  7. By: Kodila-Tedika, Oasis; Asongu, Simplice
    Abstract: This study assesses the relationship between tribalism (the tribalism index) and government effectiveness (per the World Bank) in 65 countries using cross-sectional data averages from 2000-2010. This study finds that countries with high-tribal populations generally enjoy bad governance in terms of government ineffectiveness. Government ineffectiveness and tribalism are found to mutually reinforce each other in a robust relationship.
    Keywords: Institutions, Tribalism, Government effectiveness
    JEL: D02 D73 I20 O55
    Date: 2015–06

This nep-pol issue is ©2015 by Eugene Beaulieu. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.