nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2016‒07‒30
seven papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Polarization and Corruption in America By Mickael Melki; Andrew Pickering
  2. Priming ideology: Why Presidential Elections affect U.S. Judges By Chen, Daniel L.
  3. Forming a Majority Coalition for Carbon Taxes Under a State-Contingent Updating Rule By Ross McKitrick; Jamie Lee
  4. Displaced: A Proposal for International Law to Protect Refugees, Migrants, and States By Goldenziel, Jill Iris
  5. The IAC Probability of a Divided Verdict in a Simple U.S. Presidential Type Election By Laurent, Thibault; Le Breton, Michel; Lepelley, Dominique; de Mouzon, Olivier
  6. Political Rebound Effects as Stumbling Blocks for Socio-ecological Transition By Karl Aiginger
  7. A Note on Lobbying a Legislature By Zaporozhets, Vera

  1. By: Mickael Melki; Andrew Pickering
    Abstract: The hypothesis that ideological polarization reduces corruption is tested using panel data from the US. To identify the causal effect of polarization, polarization is instrumented with lagged political position-taking in geographically neighboring states. Polarization is found to significantly reduce corruption. Consistent with the idea that ideological distance imposes additional electoral discipline on politicians, the beneficial effect of polarization is found to increase when political competition is high and when incumbent governors are eligible to run for office.
    Keywords: Corruption, ideological polarization
    JEL: K4 H0
    Date: 2016–07
  2. By: Chen, Daniel L.
    Abstract: U.S. Presidential elections polarize U.S. Courts of Appeals judges, doubling their dissents, partisan voting, and lawmaking along partisan lines and increasing their reversal of District Court decisions (Berdejo and Chen 2016). Dissents are elevated for ten months before the Presidential elections. I develop a theoretical model showing that the salience of partisan identities drives these behavioral patterns. The polarizing effects are larger in close elections, non-existent in landslide elections, and reversed in wartime elections. I link judges to their states of residence and exploit variation in the timing and importance of a state during the electoral season. Dissents are elevated in swing states and in states that count heavily to winning the election, when these states are competitive. U.S. Senate elections, the timing of which also varies by state, further elevate dissents. I link administrative data on case progression and frequency of campaign advertisements in judges’ states of residence to proxy for a state’s importance during Presidential primaries. Dissents occur shortly before publication, increase with monthly increases in campaign ads, and appear for cases whose legal topic, economic activity, is most heavily covered by campaign ads. Finally, I link the cases to their potential resolution in the Supreme Court. Dissents before elections appear on more marginal cases that cite discretionary miscellaneous issues and procedural (rather than substantive) arguments, which the Supreme Court appears to recognize and only partly remedy. The behavioral changes of unelected Courts of Appeals judges are larger than the behavioral changes of elected judges running for re-election.
    Keywords: Judicial Decision-Making, Group Decision-Making, Moral Decision-Making, Salience
    JEL: D7 K00 Z1
    Date: 2016–07
  3. By: Ross McKitrick (Department of Economics and Finance, University of Guelph); Jamie Lee (Department of Economics and Finance, University of Guelph)
    Abstract: Uncertainty and political polarization over global warming make it difficult to achieve a stable majority coalition supporting carbon taxes, especially since expectations about the future optimal values sharply diverge. We present an alternative approach in which the tax path is not announced in advance but is set to track observed future temperatures. Agents thus form expectations which imply the tax path will be correlated with their preferred price trajectory. Whereas greater variance in beliefs about future global warming undermines support for a compromise policy, the state-contingent proposal attracts majority support irrespective of the divergence of views, and even has robustness properties to strategic voting by dishonest agents.
    Keywords: Carbon tax, State-contingent model, Majority voting, Climate change, Uncertainty
    JEL: Q54 Q58 H23 D72
    Date: 2016
  4. By: Goldenziel, Jill Iris
    Abstract: How can international law better protect both international security and the human rights of people fleeing violence? International refugee law protects only the refugees: those fleeing across borders due to a well-founded persecution on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. The world’s other 42.3 million people displaced by violence have few protections under international law. This article proposes and sketches new international law to address this crucial human rights problem. I argue that a new Displaced Persons Convention to protect people fleeing violent conflict is needed to supplement the 1951 Refugee Convention. The Refugee Convention must be preserved because of the critical protections it provides for the rights of minorities and political dissidents. Adding a new Displaced Persons Convention would better protect the human rights of individuals fleeing violent conflict and state failure, further state interests, and improve international security.
    Date: 2016
  5. By: Laurent, Thibault; Le Breton, Michel; Lepelley, Dominique; de Mouzon, Olivier
    Keywords: Electoral system, Election Inversions, Impartial Anonymous Culture
    JEL: D71 D72
    Date: 2016–07
  6. By: Karl Aiginger (WIFO)
    Abstract: This paper analyses why many citizens believe that the current social and economic system is far from optimal, but do not vote for a change in the desired direction in election processes. There is an increasing erosion of central political parties, and new populist parties are appearing at both extremes of the political spectrum. They are good at attracting angry and disappointed voters but are unable to offer consistent concepts that can produce a social economic system with efficiency, social inclusion and environmental sustainability. Since populist parties agree on what they do not want, and not where to go, both right-wing and left-wing parties are able to cooperate against the prevailing system.
    Date: 2016–07–20
  7. By: Zaporozhets, Vera
    Abstract: We study a simple in?uence game, in which a lobby tries to manipulate the decision of a legislature via monetary o¤ers to one or more members. We compute the minimum budget needed for the lobby to pass the bill and the distribution of this budget between the legislators. We also show the connection of the problem to the combinatorial optimization.
    Keywords: Legislative lobbying; Combinatorial optimization; Knapsack problem
    JEL: C61 D71 D72
    Date: 2016–07

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