nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2017‒04‒23
five papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. A Model of Focusing in Political Choice By Salvatore Nunnari; Jan Zapal
  2. Taste-Based Discrimination against Nonwhite Political Candidates: Evidence from a Natural Experiment By Soltas, Evan J.; Broockman, David
  3. What Motivates French Pork: Political Career Concerns or Private Connections? By Brice Fabre; Marc Sangnier
  4. Manipulability of Voting Procedures, Strategic Voting ad Strategic Nomination By Frantisek Turnovec
  5. Electoral Cycles and Public Employment in Brazilian Prefectures: Evidence for the years 2002-2013 By Rafael Alves de Albuquerque Tavares

  1. By: Salvatore Nunnari; Jan Zapal
    Abstract: This paper develops a theoretical model of voters' and politicians' behavior based on the notion that voters focus disproportionately on, and hence overweight, certain attributes of policies. We assume that policies have two attributes and that voters focus more on the attribute in which their options differ more. First, we consider exogenous policies and show that voters' focusing polarizes the electorate. Second, we consider the endogenous supply of policies by office-motivated politicians who take voters' distorted focus into account. We show that focusing leads to inefficient policies, which cater excessively to a subset of voters: social groups that are larger, have more distorted focus, are more moderate, and are more sensitive to changes in a single attribute are more in uential. Finally, we show that augmenting the classical models of voting and electoral competition with focusing can contribute to explain puzzling stylized facts as the inverse correlation between income inequality and redistribution or the backlash effect of extreme policies. JEL Codes: D03, D72, D78 Keywords: Focus; Attention; Salience; Political Polarization; Probabilistic Voting Model; Electoral Competition; Behavioral Political Economy; Income Inequality; Redistribution
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Soltas, Evan J. (University of Oxford); Broockman, David (Stanford University)
    Abstract: We exploit a natural experiment to study voter taste-based discrimination against nonwhite political candidates. In Illinois Republican presidential primary elections, voters do not vote for presidential candidates directly. Instead, they vote delegate-by-delegate for delegate candidates listed as bound to vote for particular presidential candidates at the Republican nominating convention. To maximize their support for their preferred presidential candidate, voters must vote for all that candidate's delegates. However, some delegates' names imply they are not white. Incentives for statistical discrimination against nonwhite delegates are negligible, as delegates have effectively no discretion, and taste-based discrimination against them is costly, as it undermines voters' preferred presidential candidates. Examining within-presidential candidate variation in delegate vote totals in primaries from 2000-2016, we estimate that about 10 percent of voters do not vote for their preferred presidential candidate's delegates who have names that indicate the delegates are nonwhite, indicating that a considerable share of voters act upon racially-discriminatory tastes. This finding is robust to multiple methods for measuring delegate race, to controls for voters' possible prior information about delegates, to ballot order, and to other possible confounds we consider. Heterogeneity across candidates and geographies is also broadly consistent with taste-based theories.
    JEL: D72 J15
    Date: 2017–02
  3. By: Brice Fabre (Paris School of Economics, Institut des Politiques Publiques); Marc Sangnier (Aix-Marseille Univ. (Aix-Marseille School of Economics), CNRS, EHESS and Centrale Marseille)
    Abstract: This paper uses the detailed curricula of French ministers and the detailed accounts of French municipalities to identify governmental investment grants targeted to specific jurisdictions. We distinguish between municipalities in which a politician held office before being appointed as a government’s member and those in which current ministers lived during their childhood. We provide evidence that municipalities in which a minister held office during her career experience a 45% increase in the amount of discretionary investment subsidies they receive during the time the politician they are linked to serves as minister. In contrast, we do not find any evidence that subsidies flow to municipalities from which ministers originate. Additional evidence advocate in favour of a key role of network and knowledge accumulated through connections, illustrated by a persistence of the impact of intergovernmental ties.
    Keywords: pork-barrel economics, distributive politics, political connections, private connections
    JEL: D72 D73 H50 H77
    Date: 2017–02
  4. By: Frantisek Turnovec
    Abstract: In this paper the concepts of manipulation as strategic voting (misrepresentation of true preferences) and strategic nomination (by adding, or removing alternatives) are investigated. The connection between Arrow’s and Gibbard-Satterthwaite theorems is discussed from the viewpoint of dilemma between dictatorship and manipulability. Two famous social choice theorems are related to the problems of dictatorship and manipulability. While the Arrow’s “impossibility” theorem is usually associated with non-existence of non dictatorial social preference function, the Gibbard-Satterthwaite theorem shows that any non-dictatorial non-degenerate social choice function is manipulable. In fact, many authors observe that the both theorems are closely related (Reny, 2000). In this paper we try to reformulate Arrow’s and Gibbard-Satterthwaite theorems from the viewpoint of dilemma between dictatorship and manipulability. In this paper we try to reformulate Arrow’s and Gibbard-Satterthwaite theorems from the viewpoint of dilemma between dictatorship and manipulability.
    Keywords: Czech Republic, Game theoretical models, Public finance
    Date: 2016–07–04
  5. By: Rafael Alves de Albuquerque Tavares
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the effect of the municipal elections on the personnel expenses of Brazilian municipal governments, in search of evidence on the existence of electoral cycles in municipal expenditures. Using data that covers the 2002-2009 period, I estimate a Fixed Effects model. The results of the article indicate that in electoral years there is a decrease in personnel expenses. By separating the type of employment relationship of the worker, this article shows evidence that there is a decrease in the number of appointed and by-contract workers and the maintenance of the number of statutory workers. In addition, the total wage bill is reduced for all types of employment relation.
    Keywords: Electoral Cycles; Municipal Public Finance; Public Sector Employment.
    JEL: E32 H72 C23
    Date: 2017–04–13

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