nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2018‒07‒09
twelve papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Representation of the people: Franchise extension and the "Sinn Féin election" in Ireland, 1918 By De Bromhead, Alan; Fernihough, Alan; Hargaden, Enda
  2. Crisis and Extremism: Can a Powerful Extreme Right Emerge in a Modern Democracy? Evidence from Greece’s Golden Dawn By Costas Roumanias; Spyros Skouras; Nicos Christodoulakis
  3. Do Electoral Rules Matter for Female Representation? By Paola Profeta; Eleanor Woodhouse
  4. Political Legacies By Fong, Christian; Malhotra, Neil; Margalit, Yotam M.
  5. Implementation by vote-buying mechanisms By Eguia, Jon; Xefteris, Dimitrios
  6. Voting on behalf of a future generation: A laboratory experiment By Yoshio Kamijo; Yoichi Hizen; Tatsuyoshi Saijo; Teruyuki Tamura
  7. Cohesive Institutions and Political Violence By Fetzer, Thiemo; Kyburz, Stephan
  8. Do Criminally Accused Politicians Affect Economic Outcomes? Evidence from India By Nishith Prakash; Marc Rockmore; Yogesh Uppal
  9. Gender and climate change: Do female parliamentarians make difference? By Mavisakalyan, Astghik; Tarverdi, Yashar
  10. Transnationalizing democracy properly: Principles and rules for granting consociated citizens voting rights and partisan representation in the parliaments of nation states By Blatter, Joachim
  11. Aristotle vs. Plato: The distributive origins of the Cold War By Grigoriadis, Theocharis
  12. Grants-in-aid and the prospect of re-election: The impact of EU funds on mayoral elections in Poland By Monika Banaszewska; Ivo Bischoff

  1. By: De Bromhead, Alan; Fernihough, Alan; Hargaden, Enda
    Abstract: Electoral reforms in 1918 nearly tripled the number of people eligible to vote in Ireland. Following the reforms - the largest franchise extensions in UK history - the previously obscure Sinn Féin party secured 73 of Ireland's 105 seats, an outcome that presaged a guerrilla war and ultimately independence from the United Kingdom. This paper examines the relationship between the franchise extension and the election results. We find little evidence of a connection between the two. New female voters appear less likely to have supported Sinn Féin. New male voters were slightly more likely to vote for Sinn Féin, but the magnitude of this effect was small and statistically insignificant. In fact, non-voting appears particularly high for both groups of new voters. Our results suggest that the extension of the franchise cannot explain Sinn Féin's victory. We conclude their electoral success was more likely driven by a change of heart on behalf of the Irish electorate, rather than a change in its composition.
    Keywords: Voting,Elections,Ireland,Sinn Féin
    JEL: D72 N44 N94
    Date: 2018
  2. By: Costas Roumanias; Spyros Skouras; Nicos Christodoulakis
    Abstract: By local and international standards, Golden Dawn (GD) is at the far end of Extreme Right, yet it has emerged as Greece’s third largest party, gaining most of its electoral support within months, in early 2012. Its electoral rise has been attributed to the severe economic crisis the country had previously and since experienced. We investigate this remarkable case study econometrically, using both panel vote-share, and individual vote-intent regressions. Dramatic changes in parameters provide congruent evidence that GD’s success was due to a change in voter behaviour, rather than changes in individual characteristics or contextual conditions. Around one third of this change was due to GD’s success in taking ownership of the previously ownerless niche issues of immigration and law-and-order; the remaining change is attributed to its success in attracting financially distressed voters and voters fitting a typical Extreme Right demographic. Auxiliary evidence suggests this change was driven by a massive realignment of voters fleeing mainstream parties, after a coalition government imposed harsh austerity measures.
    Date: 2018–06
  3. By: Paola Profeta; Eleanor Woodhouse
    Abstract: How do electoral rules affect the representation of women? We collect panel data on the universe of Italian politicians from all levels of government over the period 1987-2013 and obtain a complete picture of the career paths of male and female politicians across the whole arc of their careers in public office. We use our unique dataset to analyse the effects on female political representation of an Italian reform which, in 2005, changed the electoral rule for national elections from (mostly) majoritarian to proportional, but did not affect sub-national level elections. We find that proportional electoral rules favour the election of women. We propose a new channel through which this result is obtained, related to the different nature of political competition in the two electoral systems: under proportional rules, parties place women less frequently in competitive seats. This is consistent with the fact that proportional systems value gender diversity more than majoritarian ones, while majoritarian systems rely on head-to-head electoral races, which are not gender neutral. We also find that electoral rules have weaker effects on female representation in geographical areas where traditional gender roles are dominant.
    Keywords: electoral systems, majoritarian, proportional, difference-in-differences
    JEL: H70
    Date: 2018
  4. By: Fong, Christian (Stanford University); Malhotra, Neil (Stanford University); Margalit, Yotam M. (Tel Aviv University)
    Abstract: Politicians are widely perceived to lose significance upon leaving office. Yet media accounts often highlight politicians' legacies as a source of influence that endures even after they retire. This article assesses these contrasting views by investigating the substance, endurance, and significance of political legacies. We develop a theoretical account of legacies and their relevance to contemporary politics, emphasizing that in addition to "hard legacies"--concrete and enduring policy achievements--politicians often establish "soft" legacies--memories enshrined in the public's consciousness. Soft legacies can be, but are not necessarily, tied to the substance of one's hard legacy. We ground our theoretical account empirically by testing a series of observable implications using data from online discussion forums, original surveys of both citizens and political elites, thousands of former politicians' Wikipedia pages, and a randomized experiment. We find that establishing a lasting legacy is a key motivation of public officials. More generally, our findings provide substantial evidence that legacies influence contemporary policy debates long after a leader steps down.
    Date: 2017–08
  5. By: Eguia, Jon (Michigan State University, Department of Economics); Xefteris, Dimitrios (University of Cyprus)
    Abstract: Simple majority voting does not allow preference intensities to be expressed, and hence fails to implement choice rules that take them into account. A vote-buying mechanism, instead, permits preference intensities to be revealed since each agent can buy any quantity of votes x to cast for an alternative of her choosing at a cost c(x) and the outcome is the most voted alternative. In the context of binary decisions, we characterize the class of choice rules implemented by vote-buying mechanisms. Rules in this class can assign any weight to preference intensities and to the number of supporters for each alternative.
    Keywords: implementation; mechanism design; vote-buying; social welfare; utilitarianism; quadratic voting
    JEL: D61 D71 D72
    Date: 2018–06–26
  6. By: Yoshio Kamijo (School of Economics and Management, Kochi University of Technology); Yoichi Hizen (School of Economics and Management, Kochi University of Technology); Tatsuyoshi Saijo (School of Economics and Management, Kochi University of Technology); Teruyuki Tamura (Kyoto College of Economics)
    Abstract: Although future generations are affected by on-going economic, social, and environmental conditions, the current political process allows present-day voters to ignore future generations’ needs. This paper investigates a new voting rule wherein some people are given extra votes to serve as proxies for future generations (or individuals close to future generations). We predict that this voting scheme affects the voting behavior of those who do not receive an extra vote (i.e., single-ballot voters) because they are less likely to become a pivot, while proxy voters are expected to behave in support of the future generation. To test this prediction, we compare three scenarios wherein single-ballot voters would cast a vote: (a) one-voter-one-vote scenario wherein all voters cast only a single ballot; (b) a standard proxy-voting scenario wherein other voters cast two ballots, and the second vote is to cast for the benefit of a future generation; and (c) a non-proxy-voting scenario wherein other voters cast two ballots with no explanation for the second vote. Single-ballot voters are less inclined to vote for the future-oriented option in the non-proxy-voting scenario than in the one-voter-one-vote scenario. However, the results show that this reaction can be mitigated if the second vote is explained as being cast on behalf of the future generation.
    Keywords: Voting rule, proxy vote, Demeny voting, future generation, intergenerational equity
    Date: 2018–06
  7. By: Fetzer, Thiemo (University of Warwick); Kyburz, Stephan (Center for Global Development)
    Abstract: Can institutionalized transfers of resource rents be a source of civil conflict? Are cohesive institutions better in managing distributive conflicts? We study these questions exploiting exogenous variation in revenue disbursements to local governments together with new data on local democratic institutions in Nigeria. We make three contributions. First, we document the existence of a strong link between rents and conflict far away from the location of the actual resource. Second, we show that distributive conflict is highly organized involving political militias and concentrated in the extent to which local governments are non-cohesive. Third, we show that democratic practice in form having elected local governments significantly weakens the causal link between rents and political violence. We document that elections (vis-a-vis appointments), by producing more cohesive institutions, vastly limit the extent to which distributional conflict between groups breaks out following shocks to the available rents. Throughout, we confirm these findings using individual level survey data.
    Keywords: conflict ; ethnicity ; natural resources ;political economy ; commodity prices
    JEL: Q33 O13 N52 R11 L71
    Date: 2018
  8. By: Nishith Prakash (University of Connecticut); Marc Rockmore (Clark University); Yogesh Uppal (Youngstown State University)
    Abstract: We study the causal impact of electing criminally accused politicians to state legislative assemblies in India on the subsequent economic performance of their constituencies. Using data on the criminal background of candidates running for state assembly elections and a constituency-level measure of economic activity proxied by intensity of night-time lights, we employ a regression discontinuity design that controls for unobserved heterogeneity across con-stituencies and find 22-percentage point lower yearly growth in the intensity of night-time lights arising from the election of a criminally accused politician. These effects are driven by serious, financial and the number of criminal charges and appear to be concentrated in the less devel-oped and more corrupt Indian states. Similar findings emerge for the provision of public goods using data on India’s major rural roads construction program.
    Keywords: Criminal Accusations, Politicians, Night-time Lights, Regression Discontinuity, India
    JEL: D72 D73 O40 O12
    Date: 2017–03
  9. By: Mavisakalyan, Astghik; Tarverdi, Yashar
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether female political representation in national parliaments influences climate change policy outcomes. Based on data from a large sample of countries, we demonstrate that female representation leads countries to adopt more stringent climate change policies. We exploit a combination of full and partial identification approaches to suggest that this relationship is likely to be causal. Moreover, we show that through its effect on the stringency of climate change policies, the representation of females in parliament results in lower carbon dioxide emissions. Female political representation may be an underutilized tool for addressing climate change.
    Keywords: gender,political representation,climate change,environmental policy
    JEL: D70 J16 Q54 Q58
    Date: 2018
  10. By: Blatter, Joachim
    Abstract: How can we democratically govern a world of high levels of cross border flows and transnational (inter)dependencies? I offer a new approach that focusses on the horizontal expansion of national demoi and on granting "consociated citizens" voting rights and partisan representation in the parliaments of nation states. The first two sections point to failed attempts to democratize a vertically layered system of governance, and to pitfalls of proposals to strengthen the role of national parliaments in inter- and supranational politics. Afterwards, I turn to the horizontal alternative. In the first major section, I introduce membership principles that provide the groundwork for a horizontal and differentiated expansion of national demoi. I start with pointing to the fact that the spread of multiple citizenship is leading to an emerging system of horizontally overlapping demoi and that we should realize the potential, but also the need to explicitly constitutionalize such a system. Next, I show how fuzzy set theory paves the way to reconceptualize political inclusion in such a way that inclusion can take place in the form of graded membership. Furthermore, in order to transform these conceptual innovations into a normatively adequate reform proposal, I rehabilitate and redefine proportional equality and proportional representation. Finally, I demonstrate how the realignment of the boundary of the kratos and the boundary of the demos of nation states can be organized in a "demoicratic" way that includes two steps: First, representatives of the peoples of two or more nation states sign "joint declarations of interdependence" and recognize each other reciprocally as "consociated peoples and states." Second, individual members of consociated peoples sign "declaration of interest and identification," and thereby register as "consociated citizens" of the other participating nation states. In the second major section, I present electoral principles that make a system of horizontally overlapping transnational democracies feasible and productive for dealing with the challenges of an (inter)dependent world. These principles aim at strengthening "responsible party government," the preeminent form of democratic governance within liberal nation states that is currently threatened by the mutually enforcing trends towards international technocracy and national populism.
    Keywords: transnational democracy,citizenship,voting,parties and representation,horizontally overlapping and graded membership in national demoi,Transnationale Demokratie,Bürgerschaft,Wahlen,Parteien und Repräsentanten,horizontal überlappende und abgestufte Mitgliedschaften in den politischen Gemeinschaften von Nationalstaaten
    Date: 2018
  11. By: Grigoriadis, Theocharis
    Abstract: Competing definitions of justice in Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Politics indicate the existence of two distinct economic systems with different normative priorities. The three-class society of the Platonic economy (guardians, auxiliaries, producers) gives rise to guardians who by virtue are expected to enforce output targets on producers directly or through auxiliaries. The three-class society of the Aristotelian economy (rich, middle, poor) facilitates the emergence of different ruling coalitions and compensates efficiency losses of vertical production processes with political gains derived from representative governance. In the Aristotelian economy, the middle class is better off than in the Platonic economy (auxiliaries), because a just society (polity) is achieved under its rule. I argue that the equilibrium solutions of the Platonic and Aristotelian systems provide the normative foundations for the distinction between plan and market.
    Keywords: Plato,Aristotle,central planning,market mechanism,political regimes,economic systems
    JEL: D63 P11 P14 P16 P21 P26 P52
    Date: 2018
  12. By: Monika Banaszewska (Poznan University of Economics and Business); Ivo Bischoff (University of Kassel)
    Abstract: We want to find out whether grants-in-aid help the recipient government to get re-elected. We take Poland as our testing ground and analyze the impact of EU funds spent within a municipality on mayoral elections in 2010 and 2014. We employ an instrumental variables approach to account for the endogeneity of EU funds. Our results show that EU funds do not generally increase the mayors’ chance of reelection. This result holds for total EU funds spent as well as for funds spent on investments. We test whether the impact of EU funds is moderated by municipal characteristics. We find no effect for the economic or fiscal situation of municipalities, a positive but economically negligible effect for human capital endowment and a substantial effect for the share of pro-European citizens. Spending EU funds increases incumbent mayors’ chance of re-election in municipalities with a large share pro-EU citizens and reduces it in municipalities dominated by EU sceptics.
    Keywords: grants-in-aid, EU, Poland, local elections, instrumental variable regressions
    JEL: D72 H77
    Date: 2018

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