nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2017‒05‒14
six papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. The Political Economy of Program Enforcement: Evidence from Brazil By Brollo, Fernanda; Kaufmann, Katja; La Ferrara, Eliana
  2. Concurrent Elections and Political Accountability: Evidence from Italian Local Elections By Emanuele Bracco; Federico Revelli
  3. Do Migrants Transfer Political and Cultural Norms to Their Origin Country? Some Evidence From Some Arab Countries By Jamal Bouoiyour; Amal Miftah
  4. Infrastructure Provision, Politics and Religion: Insights from Tunisia's New Democracy By Antonio Estache; Maleke Fourati
  5. Fairness views and political preferences - Evidence from a large online experiment By Daniel Müller; Sander Renes
  6. Much Ado About Nothing: Is the Market Affected by Political Bias? By Luo, Mancy; Manconi, Alberto; Massa, Massimo

  1. By: Brollo, Fernanda; Kaufmann, Katja; La Ferrara, Eliana
    Abstract: Do politicians manipulate the enforcement of conditional welfare programs to influence electoral outcomes? We study the Bolsa Familia Program (BFP) in Brazil, which provides a monthly stipend to poor families conditional on school attendance. Repeated failure to comply with this requirement results in increasing penalties. First, we exploit random variation in the timing when beneficiaries learn about penalties for noncompliance around the 2008 municipal elections. We find that the vote share of candidates aligned with the President is lower in zip codes where more beneficiaries received penalties shortly before (as opposed to shortly after) the elections. Second, we show that politicians strategically manipulate enforcement. Using a regression discontinuity design, we find weaker enforcement before elections in municipalities where mayors from the presidential coalition can run for reelection. Finally, we provide evidence that manipulation occurs through misreporting school attendance, particularly in municipalities with a higher fraction of students in schools with politically connected principals.
    Date: 2017–04
  2. By: Emanuele Bracco (Lancaster University Management School); Federico Revelli (Università di Torino)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the effects of holding concurrent elections in multi-tiered govern- ment structures on turnout decision and voting behaviour, based on municipal and provincial electoral data from Italy during the 2000s. When the less-salient provincial elections are held concurrently with the highly salient municipal elections, we observe three main effects: (1) turnout increases significantly by almost ten percentage points; (2) issues that are specific of the more salient (mayoral) contest affect the less salient (provincial) contest, with mayors' fiscal decisions impacting on the vote share of provin- cial incumbents; (3) issues that are specific to the less salient (provincial) contest stop affecting provincial elections outcomes. These findings shed light on how voters acquire information on incumbent politicians, and proves that the effectiveness of an election as an accountability tool may be hindered by the concurrence with higher-stakes elections.
    Keywords: concurrent elections, turnout, political accountability, local elections, coat- tails
    JEL: D70 H70
  3. By: Jamal Bouoiyour (University of Pau); Amal Miftah
    Abstract: This paper explores some political and social consequences of international migration experience and remittance receipt in the case of Arab countries using Arab Barometer survey dataset. The main idea is to address whether persons who receive international remittances or have lived in the past in democratic host countries, namely U.S (or Canada) and Europe, can act as agents of changes. Three forms of political participation are considered comprising interest in politics, electoral participation and protest demonstration. Other indicators are taken into account including the perception of economic inequality and cultural constructions of gender in Muslim societies. We find that migration and remittance receipt have a positive influence on the political participation and interest of migrants and families who remain in the country of origin and receive remittances. Moreover, our estimates show that migration experience of male migrants strengthens their likelihood to vote, to be more interested in politics, to perceive the economic inequality as well as to encourage the veiling in their home countries. However, they seem less engaged in a protest demonstration.
    Date: 2017–05–18
  4. By: Antonio Estache; Maleke Fourati
    Abstract: A recent democratic experience in Tunisia in which a religious political party, Ennahdha, took over government for 3 years, provides an opportunity to learn from the interactions between the support to religious parties and improvements in infrastructure access rates. The correlation is not simple. Ennahdha did get, initially, political credit for improvements in regions with low initial networked water connections and it did deliver to the regions where they enjoyed political support. But the support faded as access improved, reducing the political attractiveness of the sector or at least reducing it importance as compared to other concerns voters may have. For sanitation, a correlation is also noted but it is much less robust. Tunisia’s experience suggests that the reputation of religious parties to care for the unmet needs of population is, at least, partially justified. However, water seems to be a much more effective and reliable voters’ grabber than sanitation and this may penalize investment in sanitation, a matter of concern since it has significant health and environmental effects. Moreover, once voters enjoy enough access and once they have seen the overall performance of the party, they treat the party like any other
    Date: 2017–05
  5. By: Daniel Müller; Sander Renes
    Abstract: We elicit distributional fairness ideals of impartial spectators using an incentivized economic experiment in a large and heterogeneous sample of the German population. Our dataset allows us to relate our experimental data on fairness ideals to a large range of socio-demographic characteristics, political preferences and revealed charitable behavior. We document several empirical facts: i) egalitarians are the predominant type, even though egalitarian allocations are Pareto-dominated by maxi-min allocations; ii) females are more egalitarian than men; iii) men are relatively more efficiency-minded; iv) maxi-max preferences are empirically irrelevant; v) left-leaning voters are more likely to be egalitarians whereas right-leaning voters are more likely to be efficiency-minded; and vi) young and highly-educated participants hold different fairness ideals than the rest of the population. Moreover, we show that the experimentally elicited fairness types predict preferences for redistribution and social spending. We also find that egalitarians are more likely to donate to charity than efficiency-minded people, even after controlling for a range of covariates. Hence, our paper also contributes to the emerging literature examining the external validity of laboratory experiments on fairness preferences.larger in-group - out-group bias.
    Keywords: Distributional fairness, impartial spectator, representative online experiment, external validity, political attitudes
    JEL: C90 D31 D63
    Date: 2017–05
  6. By: Luo, Mancy; Manconi, Alberto; Massa, Massimo
    Abstract: We study whether investor behavior is affected by a political bias. We exploit an exogenous change in the market’s perception of political bias in the media: the 2007 acquisition of Dow Jones Newswires (DJNW) by News Corp. We find that investors react to a perceived pro-Republican bias of DJNW: after the acquisition, the prices of "Republican" stocks (stocks of firms making political contributions to the Republican Party) become less sensitive to sentiment in the DJNW. The effect is restricted to DJNW news, and cannot be detected in information channels unaffected by the News Corp. acquisition, such as corporate press releases and earnings surprises. It also appears driven by stocks traded by more profitable investors, short-term investors, and investors more likely to have a Democrat leaning. Finally, we show that in fact the New Corp. acquisition unlikely introduced a political bias in DJNW: there is no significant change in DJNW sentiment for the average Republican (or Democrat) stock after 2007. This suggests that the market tends to counteract a perceived media political bias, and is not always capable to distinguish between real and perceived biases.
    Keywords: Media and financial markets; political bias
    JEL: G00 G14
    Date: 2017–04

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