nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2017‒11‒05
33 papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Do Parties Punish MPs for Voting Against the Party Line? By Björn Kauder; Niklas Potrafke; Marina Riem
  2. Distributive Politics inside the City? The Political Economy of Spain's Plan E By Felipe Carozzi; Luca Repetto
  3. Conservative Politicians and Voting on Same-Sex Marriage By Björn Kauder; Niklas Potrafke
  4. Did the Egyptian protests lead to change? Evidence from Egypt's first free Presidential elections By Nelly El-Mallakh
  5. Partisan Determinants of Federal Highway Grants By Frank Goetzke; William Hankins; Gary A. Hoover
  6. The Political Cost of Being Soft on Crime: Evidence from a Natural Experiment By Francesco Drago; Roberto Galbiati; Francesco Sobbrio
  7. The Perils of Voter Mobilization By Benjamin Marx; Vincent Pons; Tavneet Suri
  8. Externalities, Institutions and Public Perception: The Political Economy of European Integration Revisited By Hans Peter Grüner
  9. The Limits of Political Compromise: Debt Ceilings and Political Turnover By Alexandre B. Cunha; Emanuel Ornelas
  10. Public Opinion on Education Policy in Germany By Philipp Lergetporer; Katharina Werner; Ludger Wößmann
  11. Trump’s victory like Harrison, not Hayes and Bush By Fabrice Barthélémy; Mathieu Martin; Ashley Piggins
  12. The Politics of International Trade By Wilfred J. Ethier; Arye L. Hillman
  13. Who Voted for Brexit? A Comprehensive District-Level Analysis By Sascha Becker; Thiemo Fetzer; Dennis Novy
  14. Demand and Supply of Populism By L. Guiso; H. Herrera; M. Morelli; T. Sonno
  15. The Real Estate Transfer Tax and Government Ideology: Evidence from the German States By Manuela Krause; Niklas Potrafke
  16. The Big Five personality traits and partisanship in England By Aidt, T.; Rauh, C.
  17. Spreading Lies By Redlicki, B.
  18. Democracy by mistake By Daniel Treisman
  19. Do mergers of large local governments reduce expenditures? - Evidence from Germany using the synthetic control method By Roesel, Felix
  20. From Weber to Kafka: Political Instability and the Rise of an Inefficient Bureaucracy By Gabriele Gratton; Luigi Guiso; Claudio Michelacci; Massimo Morelli
  21. How voters use grade scales in evaluative voting By Antoinette Baujard; Frédéric Gavrel; Herrade Igersheim; Jean-François Laslier; Isabelle Lebon
  22. East Versus West on the European Populism Scale By Jonas A. Gunnarsson; Gylfi Zoega
  23. Can Television Reduce Xenophobia? The Case of East Germany By Lars Hornuf; Marc Oliver Rieger
  24. Rent Seeking: The Social Cost of Contestable Benefits By Arye L. Hillman; Ngo Van Long
  25. A Theory of Trade Policy under Dictatorship and Democratization By Benjamin Zissimos
  26. The Single-Peaked Domain Revisited: A Simple Global Characterization By Puppe, Clemens
  27. Creativity over Time and Space By Michel Serafinelli; Guido Tabellini
  28. State-Endorsed Popular Culture: A Case Study of the North Korean Girl Band Moranbong By Tai Wei Lim
  29. Signing Statements and Presidentializing Legislative History By John M. de Figueiredo; Edward H. Stiglitz
  30. Consultative Democracy & Trust By Bogliacino, Francesco; Grimalda, Gianluca; Jimenez, Laura
  31. Negative Returns: U.S. Military Police and Anti-American Terrorism By Eugen Dimant; Tim Krieger; Daniel Meierrieks
  32. Activated History - The Case of the Turkish Sieges of Vienna By Christian Ochsner; Felix Rösel
  33. German elections and what to expect for the European agenda By Parthie, Sandra; Eichert, Wolfgang

  1. By: Björn Kauder; Niklas Potrafke; Marina Riem
    Abstract: We examine whether parties punish politicians who vote against the party line in roll-call votes. Using data of German members of parliament over the legislative period 2009-2013, we take into account that the effect of punishment differs along the list of candidates because a candidate is punished more when he loses positions at the threshold of promising list positions. The dataset includes the voting behavior of 257 MPs in 218 roll-call votes. Our results do not show that parties account for the voting behavior by punishing politicians who have voted against the party line. Political parties may attract different groups of voters by tolerating politicians who vote according to their own credo. Qualities other than the voting behavior seem to matter to political parties when nominating candidates.
    Keywords: voting against the party line, adherence to the party line, roll-call votes, proportional representation, party lists, selectorate
    JEL: D72 D78 P16
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Felipe Carozzi; Luca Repetto
    Abstract: We study distributive politics inside cities by analysing how local governments allocate investment projects to voters across neighbourhoods. In particular, we ask whether politicians use investment to target their own supporters. To this aim, we use detailed geo-located investment data from Plan E, a large fiscal stimulus program carried out in Spain in 2009-2011. Our empirical strategy is based on a close-elections regression-discontinuity design. In contrast to previous studies – which use aggregate data at the district or municipal level – we exploit spatial variation in both investment and voter support within municipalities and find no evidence of supporter targeting. Complementary results indicate that voters may be responding to investment by increasing turnout. Overall, our findings suggest that distributive politics only play a minor role inside the city.
    Keywords: political economy, distributive politics, partisan alignment, local governments
    JEL: H70 R53 D72
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Björn Kauder; Niklas Potrafke
    Abstract: We examine whether conservative politicians are less likely to support same-sex marriage when they run for office in safe districts using new data based on a roll-call vote in the national German parliament. The results show that the margin of the majority for the incumbent in the previous election was a strong predictor for supporting same-sex marriage. When the majority increased by one percentage point, the likelihood of voting in favour of same-sex marriage decreased by around 1.3 percentage points. We conjecture that politicians are election-motivated – even when submitting roll-call votes on a matter of conscience.
    Keywords: same-sex marriage, gay rights, safe districts, vote margins, supermajorities, roll-call votes
    JEL: D72 D78 P16
    Date: 2017
  4. By: Nelly El-Mallakh (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne)
    Abstract: Did the Egyptian protests lead to political change? I examine the effects of the first and second waves of Egyptian protests that started in 2011, on voting outcomes during Egypt's first free Presidential elections that took place between May and June 2012. I geocoded the “martyrs” - demonstrators who died during the protests - using unique information from the Statistical Database of the Egyptian Revolution and exploited the variation in districts' exposure to the Egyptian protests. Using official elections' results collected from the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) and controlling for districts' characteristics using Census data, I find suggestive evidence that higher exposure to protests' intensity leads to a higher share of votes for former regime candidates, both during the first and second rounds of Egypt's first presidential elections after the uprisings. From the period of euphoria following the toppling of Mubarak to the sobering realities of the political transition process, I find that protests led to a conservative backlash, alongside negative economic expectations, general dissatisfaction with government performance, decreasing levels of trust towards public institutions, and increasing recognition of limitations on civil and political liberties
    Keywords: Egyptian protests; Presidential elections; voting outcomes; martyrs
    JEL: D72 D74
    Date: 2017–10
  5. By: Frank Goetzke; William Hankins; Gary A. Hoover
    Abstract: Using data on federal highway grants from the Department of Transportation’s Federal High- way Administration, this paper investigates several questions regarding the political economy of highway funding. We investigate the period 1994 - 2008 and examine whether political align- ment and political ideology play a role in determining how much highway funding per capita a state receives. We find evidence that Republican-dominated House of Representatives del-egations receive more highway funding per capita compared to Democrats, especially in rural states. We also find that senators in the party of the president are able to secure more highway funding per capita. Overall, the distribution of highway spending over this time period appears to have been determined by political rather than deterministic considerations and in a way that is consistent with how the Interstate Highway System has distributed Republican voters to rural areas.
    Keywords: federal highway administration grants, political alignment, political ideology
    JEL: D72 H77
    Date: 2017
  6. By: Francesco Drago; Roberto Galbiati; Francesco Sobbrio
    Abstract: We provide evidence about voters’ response to crime control policies. We exploit a natural experiment arising from the Italian 2006 collective pardon releasing about one third of the prison population. The pardon created idiosyncratic incentives to recidivate across released individuals and municipalities. We show that municipalities where resident pardoned individuals have a higher incentive to recidivate experienced higher recidivism. Moreover, in these municipalities: i) newspapers were more likely to report crime news involving pardoned individuals; ii) voters held worse beliefs on the incumbent governments ability to control crime and iii) with respect to the previous elections, the incumbent national government experienced a worse electoral performance in the April 2008 national elections relative to the opposition coalition. Overall, our findings indicate that voters keep incumbent politicians accountable by conditioning their vote on the observed effects of their policies.
    Keywords: accountability, voting, natural experiment, crime, recidivism
    JEL: D72 K42
    Date: 2017
  7. By: Benjamin Marx; Vincent Pons; Tavneet Suri
    Abstract: Voter mobilization campaigns face trade-offs in young democracies. In a large-scale experiment implemented in 2013 with the Kenyan Electoral Commission (IEBC), text messages intended to mobilize voters boosted participation but also decreased trust in electoral institutions after the election, a decrease that was stronger in areas that experienced election-related violence, and for individuals on the losing side of the election. The mobilization backfired because the IEBC promised an electronic voting system that failed, resulting in manual voting and tallying delays. Using a simple model, we show signaling high institutional capacity via a mobilization campaign can negatively affect beliefs about the fairness of the election.
    JEL: O55 P16
    Date: 2017–10
  8. By: Hans Peter Grüner
    Abstract: This paper develops a politico-economic model of the joint dynamics of economic interaction and political integration. Based on the theoretical model, we derive several hypotheses on how to explain the recently observable decline in popular support for European integration. These hypotheses are matched with data from various sources in order to scrutinize their empirical validity. The paper proposes a five pillar approach to prevent a counterproductive process of disintegration. Accordingly, (i) common policies must better fit voter preferences, reduce inequality and unemployment, (ii) policy processes must become more efficient, (iii) institutions must enable voters to properly attribute policy outcomes to political actors, (iv) policies should foster cross border political debates, and (v) any further deepening or enlargement of the Union should be based on European wide popular support. We discuss a series of specific policy measures that help to achieve these goals.
    JEL: D62 D7 F02 F15
    Date: 2017–07
  9. By: Alexandre B. Cunha; Emanuel Ornelas
    Abstract: We study the desirability of limits on the public debt and of political turnover in an economy where incumbents have an incentive to set public expenditures above the socially optimal level due to rent-seeking motives. Parties alternate in office and cannot commit to future policies, but they can forge a political compromise where each party curbs excessive spending when in office if it expects future governments to do the same. In contrast to the received literature, we find that strict limits on government borrowing can exacerbate political economy distortions by making a political compromise unsustainable. This tends to happen when political turnover is limited. Conversely, a tight limit on the public debt fosters a compromise that yields the efficient outcome if political turnover is vigorous. Our analysis thus suggests that to sustain good economic policies, a society needs to restrict either the extent of political turnover or the ability of governments to issue debt, but not both.
    Keywords: debt limits, political turnover, efficient policies, fiscal rules
    JEL: E61 E62 H30 H63
    Date: 2017
  10. By: Philipp Lergetporer; Katharina Werner; Ludger Wößmann
    Abstract: To better understand the political economy constraints of education policy, we have conducted the annual ifo Education Survey in Germany since 2014. This paper summarizes selected key findings on the German publics’ preferences for education policies ranging from early childhood education and schools to the apprenticeship system, universities, and lifelong learning. While the emerging picture is complex and multifaceted, some general patterns emerge. The majority of Germans is surprisingly open to education reform and favors clear performance orientation. Survey experiments indicate that information can have substantial effects on public policy preferences. Overall, education policies seem important for respondents’ voting behavior.
    Keywords: education policy, public opinion, political economy, survey experiments, Germany
    JEL: I28 D72 H52
    Date: 2017
  11. By: Fabrice Barthélémy; Mathieu Martin; Ashley Piggins (CEMOTEV, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France)
    Abstract: Donald Trump won the 2016 U.S. Presidential election with fewer popular votes than Hillary Clinton. This is the fourth time this has happened, the others being 1876, 1888 and 2000. In our earlier paper “The architecture of the Electoral College, the House size effect, and the referendum paradox” (Electoral Studies 34 (2014) 111-118), we analyzed these earlier elections (and others) and showed how the electoral winner can often depend on the size of the House of Representatives. A sufficiently larger House would have given electoral victories to the winner of the popular vote in both 1876 and 2000. An exception is the election of 1888. In this note we show that Trump’s victory in 2016 is like Harrison’s in 1888, and unlike 1876 and 2000. This note updates the analysis of our earlier paper to include the 2016 election.
    Date: 2017
  12. By: Wilfred J. Ethier; Arye L. Hillman
    Abstract: Traditional international trade models explain comparative advantage and describe aggregate gains for a country from trade and from terms-of-trade improvement but do not address the politics of international trade policy. A positive or predictive model that studies the politics of trade policy requires two premises, both with public choice origins: (1) that political self-interest underlies policy determination of trade policy rather than social-welfare objectives, and (2) politically assignable rents are preferred to budgetary revenue from trade restrictions and aggregate gains from terms-of-trade improvement. Originating political-economy models of protectionism and reciprocal trade liberalization acknowledge on both premises. Subsequent popular (and popularly replicated) models of trade policy include the first premise but not the second. The popular models are inconsistent with the actual conduct of trade policy. We also present public-choice perspectives on strategic trade policy, the most-favored nation clause, preferential trading, duty-free zones, globalization, and direct voting on trade policy, and we review and interpret empirical evidence.
    Keywords: political support, rent creation, budgetary revenue, trade negotiations
    JEL: F13
    Date: 2017
  13. By: Sascha Becker; Thiemo Fetzer; Dennis Novy
    Abstract: On 23 June 2016, the British electorate voted to leave the European Union. We analyze vote and turnout shares across 380 local authority areas in the United Kingdom. We find that exposure to the EU in terms of immigration and trade provides relatively little explanatory power for the referendum vote. Instead, we find that fundamental characteristics of the voting population were key drivers of the Vote Leave share, in particular their education profiles, their historical dependence on manufacturing employment as well as low income and high unemployment. At the much finer level of wards within cities, we find that areas with deprivation in terms of education, income and employment were more likely to vote Leave. Our results indicate that a higher turnout of younger voters, who were more likely to vote Remain, would not have overturned the referendum result.
    Keywords: political economy, voting, referendum, migration, austerity, globalisation, UK, Scotland, EU
    JEL: D72 N44 R23 Z13
    Date: 2017
  14. By: L. Guiso; H. Herrera; M. Morelli; T. Sonno
    Abstract: We define as populist a party that champions short-term protection policies while hiding their long-term costs by using anti-elite rhetoric to manipulate beliefs. We provide a framework that rationalizes this definition and generates sharp implications for people support to populist platforms (the demand side), for the timing of appear ance of populist parties and their chosen orientation (the supply side) as well as for non-populist parties response to populist success (an equilibrium market reaction). Using individual data on voting in European countries we document that key fea tures of the demand for populism as well as the supply heavily depend on turnout incentives, previously neglected in the populism literature. Once turnout effects are properly taken into account, economic insecurity drives consensus to populist policies directly as well as through indirect negative effects on trust and attitudes towards migrants. On the supply side, populist parties are more likely to emerge and prosper when countries deal with systemic economic insecurity crisis that both left-oriented incumbent parties (relying on government-based policies) and right-oriented (relying on markets) find hard to address, disappointing voters who lose faith in them and abstain. Relative entry space determines the orientation choice of populist parties, i.e., whether they enter on left or right of the political spectrum. The typical non-populist party policy response is to reduce the distance of their platform from that of new populist entrants, thereby magnifying the aggregate supply of populist policies. Keywords: voter participation, short term protection, anti-elite rhetoric, populist entry.
    Date: 2017
  15. By: Manuela Krause; Niklas Potrafke
    Abstract: In 2006, the reform of the German fiscal constitution realigned legislative powers between the federal and the state governments. Since 2007, the German state governments have been allowed to design real estate transfer tax rates. We investigate whether government ideology predicts the levels and increases in the real estate transfer tax rates; and show that leftwing and center governments were more active in increasing the real estate transfer tax rates than rightwing governments. The result is important because many voters were disenchanted with the policies and platforms of the established German parties in the course of the euro and refugee crisis. Disenchantment notwithstanding, the established political parties are still prepared to offer polarized policies.
    Keywords: taxation, real estate transfer tax, reform, partisan politics, government ideology, German states
    JEL: D72 H20 H71 P16 R38
    Date: 2017
  16. By: Aidt, T.; Rauh, C.
    Abstract: We propose a new framework for the study of the psychological foundation of party identification. We draw a distinction between the part of an individual's party preference that is stable throughout adult life and the dynamic part responding to lifecycle events and macro shocks. We theorize that the Big Five personality traits exert a causal effect on the stable part of an individual's party preference and provide evidence from a large nationally representative English panel dataset in support of this theory. We find that supporters of the major parties (Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats) have substantively different personality traits. Moreover, we show that those not identifying with any party, who are close to holding the majority, are similar to those identifying with the Conservatives. We show that these results are robust to controlling for cognitive skills and parental party preferences, and to estimation on a subsample of siblings. The relationship between personality traits and party identification is stable across birth cohorts.
    Keywords: Big Five personality traits, Party identification, Partisanship, England
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2017–10–23
  17. By: Redlicki, B.
    Abstract: The recent increase in partisan media has generated interest in what drives media outlets to become more partisan. I develop a model where a media outlet can report news with a partisan slant and the news then spread by word of mouth in a population of agents with heterogeneous preferences. The level of slant has an impact on whether the agents find the news credible and on their incentives to pass the news to others. The analysis elucidates how partisanship of media can be driven by political polarisation of the public and by the tendency of people to interact with people with similar political views. Extensions of the model shed light on the influences of social media and the fact that people with different political views tend to trust different media outlets.
    Keywords: media slant, partisan media, word of mouth, Bayesian persuasion
    JEL: D82 D83 L82
    Date: 2017–10–26
  18. By: Daniel Treisman
    Abstract: How does democracy emerge from authoritarian rule? Influential theories contend that incumbents deliberately choose to share or surrender power. They do so to prevent revolution, motivate citizens to fight wars, incentivize governments to provide public goods, outbid elite rivals, or limit factional violence. Examining the history of all democratizations since 1800, I show that such deliberate choice arguments may help explain up to one third of cases. In about two thirds, democratization occurred not because incumbent elites chose it but because, in trying to prevent it, they made mistakes that weakened their hold on power. Common mistakes include: calling elections or starting military conflicts, only to lose them; ignoring popular unrest and being overthrown; initiating limited reforms that get out of hand; and selecting a covert democrat as leader. These mistakes reflect well-known cognitive biases such as overconfidence and the illusion of control.
    JEL: K00 N20 P16
    Date: 2017–10
  19. By: Roesel, Felix
    Abstract: States merge local governments to achieve economies of scale. Little is known to which extent mergers of county-sized local governments reduce expenditures, and influence political outcomes. I use the synthetic control method to identify the effect of mergers of large local governments in Germany (districts) on public expenditures. In 2008, the German state of Saxony reduced the number of districts from 22 to 10. Average district population increased substantially from 113,000 to 290,000 inhabitants. I construct a synthetic counterfactual from states that did not merge districts for years. The results do neither show reductions in total expenditures, nor in expenditures for administration, education, and social care. There seems to be no scale effects in jurisdictions of more than 100,000 inhabitants. By contrast, I find evidence that mergers decreased the number of candidates and voter turnout in district elections while vote shares for populist right-wing parties increased.
    Keywords: Municipal mergers,Local government,Expenditures,Synthetic control method,Local elections,Voter turnout
    JEL: D72 H11 H72 R51
    Date: 2017
  20. By: Gabriele Gratton; Luigi Guiso; Claudio Michelacci; Massimo Morelli
    Abstract: A well functioning bureaucracy can promote prosperity, as Max Weber maintained. But when bureaucracy gets jammed—a Kafkian situation—it causes stagnation. We propose a dynamic theory of the interaction between legislation and the efficiency of bureaucracy. When bureaucracy is inefficient, the effects of politicians’ legislative acts are hard to assess. Incompetent politicians thus have strong incentives of passing laws to acquire the reputation of skillful reformers. But a plethora of often contradictory laws can itself lead to a collapse in bureaucratic efficiency. This interaction can spawn both Weberian and Kafkian steady states. A temporary surge in political instability, which increases the likelihood of a premature end of the legislature, exerts pressure for reforms, or results in the appointment of short-lived technocratic governments can determine a permanent shift towards the nightmare Kafkian steady state. The aggregate experience of Italy in its transition from the so-called First to the Second Republic fits the narrative of the model quite well. Using micro-data for Italian MPs, we also provide evidence consistent with the claim that when political instability is high, politicians signal their competence through legislative activism, which leads to the overproduction of laws and norms.
    Date: 2017
  21. By: Antoinette Baujard (Univ Lyon, UJM Saint-Etenne, GATE L-SE UMR 5824, F-42023 Saint- Etienne, France); Frédéric Gavrel (CREM (UMR CNRS 6211), University of Caen Normandie and Condorcet Center); Herrade Igersheim (CNRS and Beta (UMR 7522), University of Strasbourg); Jean-François Laslier (CNRS and Paris School of Economics (UMR 8545)); Isabelle Lebon (CREM (UMR CNRS 6211), University of Caen Normandie, and Condorcet Center)
    Abstract: During the first round of the 2012 French presidential election, participants in an in situ experiment were invited to vote according to “evaluative voting”, which involves rating the candidates using a numerical scale. Various scales were used: (0,1), (-1,0,1), (0,1,2), and (0,1,...,20). The paper studies scale calibration effects, i.e., how individual voters adapt to the scale, leading to possibly different election outcomes. The data show that scales are not linearly equivalent, even if individual ordinal preferences are not inconsistent. Scale matters, notably because of the symbolic power of negative grades, which does not affect all candidates uniformly.
    Keywords: Evaluative Voting, Range voting, Approval voting, In Situ Experiment, Calibration
    JEL: D72 C93
    Date: 2017
  22. By: Jonas A. Gunnarsson; Gylfi Zoega
    Abstract: We study a sample of individuals in 20 European countries that includes eight East European countries in order to identify whether these eight countries differ from the Western countries in the popularity of right-wing populist parties once we have controlled for personal attributes. The results show variation among the East European countries so that they are not distinct from Western Europe. In particular, in Hungary and Poland populist right-wing parties enjoy greater support once account is taken of the variables above. Moreover, we find that a right-wing identity, a negative view of immigrants, not being satisfied with democracy, being negative on homosexuality, and mistrust in both the national and the European parliament seem to be the factors heavily correlated with voting for a right-wing populist party in Europe. Also, men are more likely to vote for a right-wing populist party as are the old and the less educated. Having experienced unemployed also increased the probability of voting for these parties.
    Keywords: populist right-wing parties, survey evidence
    JEL: P16 Z18
    Date: 2017
  23. By: Lars Hornuf; Marc Oliver Rieger
    Abstract: Can television have a mitigating effect on xenophobia? To examine this question, we exploit the fact that individuals in some areas of East Germany – due to their geographic location – could not receive West German television until 1989. We conjecture that individuals who received West German television were exposed more frequently to foreigners and thus have developed less xenophobia than people who were not exposed to those programs. Our results show that regions that could receive West German television were less likely to vote for right-wing parties during the national elections from 1998 to 2013. Only recently, the same regions were also more likely to vote for left-wing parties. Moreover, while counties that hosted more foreigners in 1989 were also more likely to vote for right-wing parties in most elections, we find counties that recently hosted more foreign visitors showed less xenophobia, which is in line with intergroup contact theory.
    Keywords: mass media, television, xenophobia, attitudes towards foreigners, East Germany, natural experiment
    JEL: D72 L82 P30
    Date: 2017
  24. By: Arye L. Hillman; Ngo Van Long
    Abstract: A major contribution of the public-choice school is the recognition by Gordon Tullock that contestable rents give rise to social losses because of unproductive resource use. Contestable rents usually are politically assigned privileges. Contestable rents can also be found outside of government decisions. We describe the example of rents in academia in different cultures. The primary empirical question regarding rent seeking concerns the magnitude of the social loss from the contesting of rents. Direct measurement is impeded by lack of data and indeed denial that rent seeking took place. Contest models provide guidance regarding social losses. We provide a generalized contest model. Social losses from rent seeking are diminished in high-income democracies because rent seeking usually takes place by groups seeking ‘public good’ benefits. Rents are also less visible in democracies, because political accountability requires that rents be assigned in indirect non-transparent ways. These restraints are not present in autocracies, where rent seeking is also facilitated by corruption and by the need to influence a smaller number of decision makers. Ideology can influence whether rent seeking is recognized to exist.
    Keywords: rent seeking, contests, political discretion, academic merit, ideology, political correctness
    JEL: H00
    Date: 2017
  25. By: Benjamin Zissimos
    Abstract: This paper develops a new model of trade policy under dictatorship and democratization. The paper makes two contributions. One is to provide a deeper understanding of the relationship between political institutions and economic efficiency by studying the endogenous interaction between the form of government and trade policy. The paper’s second contribution is to show how a dictatorship can manipulate trade policy to maintain its grip on power in the face of permanent world price shocks, thus opening the door to a re-examination of trade policy re- sponses to technology shocks. The model is used to explain an interesting episode of trade policymaking between 1815 and 1846, during which time Britain substantially liberalized trade while Prussia, on the other side of the grain market, significantly increased protectionism.
    Keywords: commitment problem, efficiency, fiscal capacity, institutions, trade policy
    JEL: D30 D74 F11 F13 P16
    Date: 2017
  26. By: Puppe, Clemens
    Abstract: It is proved that, among all restricted preference domains that guarantee consistency (i.e. transitivity) of pairwise majority voting, the single-peaked domain is the only minimally rich and connected domain that contains two completely reversed strict preference orders.This result has a number of corollaries, among other things it implies that a single-crossing (‘order-restricted’) domain can be minimally rich only if it is a subdomain of a single-peaked domain.
    JEL: D71 C72
    Date: 2017
  27. By: Michel Serafinelli; Guido Tabellini
    Abstract: Creativity is often highly concentrated in time and space, and across different domains. What explains the formation and decay of clusters of creativity? In this paper we match data on thousands of notable individuals born in Europe between the XIth and the XIXth century with historical data on city institutions and population. After documenting several stylized facts, we show that the formation of creative clusters is not preceded by increases in city size. Instead, the emergence of city institutions protecting economic and political freedoms facilitates the attraction and production of creative talent. Keywords: innovation, agglomeration, political institutions, immigration, gravity. JEL: R10, O10, J61, N13
    Date: 2017
  28. By: Tai Wei Lim
    Abstract: This article examines the emergence of Moranbong as a new popular cultural phenomenon in North Korea. I am interested to examine the patron–client relationship in North Korea by analysing the personal patronage extended by North Korean autocrat Kim Jong-un to the all-female pop band Moranbong. In return for propaganda performances to convey images of material well-being of the regime and extolling the virtues of the ultimate leader, the autocratic regime bestows social recognition, legitimacy and fame to Moranbong members as a reward. Through an analysis of patron–client relationship in the North Korean political system, I move on to examine the ideological contents of Moranbong and the propaganda value-add they bring to the North Korean political system. Here, interpretations of Moranbong's symbolisms by both internal and external audiences are examined based on media reports and other writings that originated from both Korean and international sources.
    Keywords: Korea, popular culture, Moranbong
  29. By: John M. de Figueiredo; Edward H. Stiglitz
    Abstract: Presidents often attach statements to the bills they sign into law, purporting to celebrate, construe, or object to provisions in the statute. Though long a feature of U.S. lawmaking, the President has avowedly attempted to use these signing statements as tool of strategic influence over judicial decisionmaking since the 1980s—as a way of creating “presidential legislative history” to supplement and, at times, supplant the traditional congressional legislative history conventionally used by the courts to interpret statutes. In this Article, we examine a novel dataset of judicial opinion citations to presidential signing statements to conduct the most comprehensive empirical examination of how courts have received presidential legislative history to date. Three main findings emerge from this analysis. First, contrary to the pervasive (and legitimate) fears in the literature on signing statements, courts rarely cite signing statements in their decisions. Second, in the aggregate, when courts cite signing statements, they cite them in predictably partisan ways, with judges citing Presidents’ signing statements from their own political parties more often than those of the opposing parties. This effect, however, is driven entirely by the behavior of Republican-appointed appellate jurists. Third, courts predominately employ signing statements to buttress aligned statutory text and conventional sources of legislative history, and seemingly never rely on them to override contrary plain statutory text or even unified traditional legislative history. This suggests that signing statements have low rank among interpretative tools and courts primarily use them to complement rather than substitute for congressional legislative history. In this sense, Presidents have largely failed to establish an alternative corpus of valid interpretive material.
    JEL: H70 K00
    Date: 2017–10
  30. By: Bogliacino, Francesco; Grimalda, Gianluca; Jimenez, Laura
    Abstract: We report experimental results from three Colombian villages concerning the impact of a voting mechanism on interpersonal trust and trustworthiness. The vote is purely consultative in that participants are asked to declare in a secret ballot the most “appropriate” plan of action for individuals involved in a “Trust Game”. The plan of action that is most voted is then publicly announced. The mechanism is unbinding, as only the aggregate result of the voting is disclosed and it has no bearing on individual decisions. In spite of the strategic irrelevance of the announcement, we observe an increase in both trust and trustworthiness after the announcement is carried out, in comparison to the baseline condition where no voting takes place.
    Keywords: Experiments, Trust, Voting
    JEL: C9 D7 H4
    Date: 2017–10–21
  31. By: Eugen Dimant; Tim Krieger; Daniel Meierrieks
    Abstract: We investigate the effect of U.S. military aid and U.S. troop deployments on anti-American terrorism, using a sample of 106 countries between 1986 and 2011. We find that greater military commitment leads to more anti-American terrorism. We study the underlying mechanisms using a mediation analysis and show that both U.S. military aid and troop deployments in foreign countries do not improve local state capacity. Rather, we find that more military aid (but not troop deployments) is linked to poorer political-institutional outcomes in aid-receiving countries, explaining the positive association between U.S. military aid and anti-American terrorism. Our findings suggest that U.S. military policy does not make the United States safer from transnational terrorism.
    Keywords: U.S. military aid, U.S. troop deployments, anti-American terrorism, transnational terrorism, mediation analysis
    JEL: D74 F35 F50
    Date: 2017
  32. By: Christian Ochsner; Felix Rösel
    Abstract: We study whether long-gone but activated history can shape social attitudes and behavior even after centuries. We exploit the case of the sieges of Vienna in 1529 and 1683, when Turkish troops pillaged individual municipalities across East Austria. In 2005, Austrian right-wing populists started to campaign against Turks and Muslims and explicitly referred to the Turkish sieges. We show that right-wing voting increased in once pillaged municipalities compared to non-pillaged municipalities after the campaigns were launched, but not before. The effects are substantial: Around one out of ten votes for the far-right in a once pillaged municipality is caused by salient history. We conclude that campaigns can act as tipping points and catalyze history in a nonlinear fashion.
    Keywords: salience, persistence, right-wing populism, political campaigns, collective memory, Turkish sieges, Austria
    JEL: D72 N43 N44 Z13
    Date: 2017
  33. By: Parthie, Sandra; Eichert, Wolfgang
    Abstract: While the populist equivalents to the likes of Marine Le Pen's Front National or Geert Wilder's Dutch party are much less center-stage in the German elections, the outcome and thus the impact on the EU is still uncertain. However, all the probable coalitions will not overhaul the current German stance on European politics. But proposals to change the governance of the EU Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) are on the agenda of all parties, of course with very different emphasis.
    Date: 2017

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