nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2019‒09‒23
nineteen papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Gender Differences in Political Career Progression: Evidence from U.S. Elections By Ryan Brown; Hani Mansour; Stephen O'Connell; James Reeves
  2. Winning a district election in a clientelistic society: Evidence from decentralized Indonesia By Farah, Alfa
  3. We Were The Robots: Automation and Voting Behavior in Western Europe By Massimo Anelli; Italo Colantone; Piero Stanig
  4. The Political Cost of Being Soft on Crime: Evidence from a Natural Experiment By Francesco Drago; Roberto Galbiati; Francesco Sobbrio
  5. How effective are monetary incentives to vote? Evidence from a nationwide policy By Gonzales Mariella; Gianmarco León-Ciliotta; Luis R. Martinez
  6. Eat Widely, Vote Wisely ? Lessons from a Campaign Against Vote Buying in Uganda By null null; Horacio Larreguy; Benjamin Marx; Otis Reid
  7. The Art of Compromising: Voting with Interdependent Values and the Flag of the Weimar Republic By Alex Gershkov; Andreas Kleiner; Benny Moldovanu; Xianwen Shi
  8. The Political Economy of the Prussian Three-class Franchise By Becker, Sascha O.; Hornung, Erik
  9. COLLECTIVE EMOTIONS AND PROTEST VOTE By Carlo Altomonte; Gloria Gennaro; Francesco Passarelli
  10. Hidden Networks within the European Parliament: a Spatial Econometrics Approach. By Giovanna Iannantuoni; Elena Manzoni; Francesca Rossi
  11. Reconsidering the Role of Farmer Politics in Swedish Democratization By Bengtsson, Erik
  12. The impact of election information shocks on populist party preferences: Evidence from Germany By Gerling, Lena; Kellermann, Kim Leonie
  13. Trimming Extreme Opinions in Preference Aggregation By Philippos Louis; Matías Núñez; Dimitrios Xefteris
  14. Inversions in US Presidential Elections: 1836-2016 By Michael Geruso; Dean Spears; Ishaana Talesara
  15. Pluralism and political economy in interwar britain: G.D.H. Cole on economic planning By Carlos Eduardo Suprinyak
  16. Education and the Geography of Brexit By Robert Calvert Jump; Jo Michell
  17. The Rule of Law, Democracy and Competing Paradigms of National Development: Locating the Nexus By Adeline Nnenna Idike
  18. The Brexit Vote and Labour Demand: Evidence from Online Job Postings By Beata Javorcik; Ben Kett; Katherine Stapleton; Layla O'Kane
  19. Populism and polarization in social media without fake news: The vicious circle of biases, beliefs and network homophily By Hakobyana, Zaruhi; Koulovatianos, Christos

  1. By: Ryan Brown; Hani Mansour; Stephen O'Connell; James Reeves
    Abstract: This paper establishes the presence of a substantial gender gap in the relationship between state legislature service and the subsequent pursuit of a Congressional career. The empirical approach uses a sample of mixed-gender elections to compare the differential political career progression of women who closely win versus closely lose a state legislature election relative to an analogous impact for men who closely win or lose a state legislature election. We find that the effect of serving a state legislative term on the likelihood of running for a Congressional seat is twice as large for men as women, and its effect on winning a Congressional race is five times larger for men than women. These gaps emerge early in legislators’ careers, widen over time, and are seen alongside a higher propensity for female state legislators to recontest state legislature seats. This gender gap in advancing to Congress among state legislators is not generated by gender differences in previously accumulated political experience, political party affiliation, or constituency characteristics. After investigating several explanations, we conclude that the gender gap in political career progression is consistent with the existence of a glass ceiling in politics.
    Keywords: gender gap, politicians, discrimination
    JEL: D72 J16 J24 J71
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Farah, Alfa
    Abstract: Lower-level officials often engage in clientelistic relations with the upper-level government. The nature of these relations might be determined by institutional factors such as how the lower-level officials come into their position. This paper specifically highlights the different political incentives that elected versus appointed lower-level officials have for becoming political intermediaries for the upper-level government, and it investigates empirically how these differing incentives bring electoral consequences. Upon exploiting a natural experiment in Indonesia, the study found that the elected village headmen have stronger incentives to support the incumbent mayor than the appointed village headmen do. The results suggest that while civil service reforms might weaken the bureaucratic clientelism, the pre-existing patronclient relations that are deeply embedded in the society are immersed in local political competitions; thus, this practice challenges political consolidation in the young democracy.
    Keywords: clientelism,selection mechanism,local elections
    JEL: D72 H77 H83 O17 O18
    Date: 2019
  3. By: Massimo Anelli; Italo Colantone; Piero Stanig
    Abstract: We investigate the impact of robot adoption on electoral outcomes in 14 Western European countries, between 1993 and 2016. We employ both official election results at the district level and individual-level voting data, combined with party ideology scores from the Manifesto Project. We measure exposure to automation both at the regional level, based on the ex-ante industry specialization of each region, and at the individual level, based on individual characteristics and pre-sample employment patterns in the region of residence. We instrument robot adoption in each country using the pace of robot adoption in other countries. Higher exposure to robot adoption is found to increase support for nationalist and radical right parties. Unveiling some potential transmission channels, higher robot exposure at the individual level leads to poorer perceived economic conditions andwell-being, lower satisfaction with the government and democracy, and a reduction in perceived political self-efficacy.
    Keywords: Automation; Nationalism; Radical Right.
    Date: 2019
  4. By: Francesco Drago (Università degli studi di Napoli Federico II); Roberto Galbiati (Département d'économie); Francesco Sobbrio
    Abstract: This study analyses voters' response to criminal justice policies by exploiting a natural experiment. The 2006 Italian Collective Pardon Bill, designed and promoted by the incumbent center-left (CL) coalition, unexpectedly released about one-third of the prison population, creating idiosyncratic incentives to recidivate across pardoned individuals. Municipalities where resident pardoned individuals had a higher incentive to recidivate experienced a higher recidivism rate. We show that in those municipalities voters "punished'' the CL coalition in the 2008 parliamentary elections. A one standard deviation increase in the incentive to recidivate-corresponding to an increase of recidivism of 15.9 percent-led to a 3.06 percent increase in the margin of victory of the center-right (CR) coalition in the post-pardon national elections (2008) relative to the last election before the pardon (2006). We also provide evidence of newspapers being more likely to report crime news involving pardoned individuals and of voters hardening their views on the incumbent national government's ability to control crime. Our findings indicate that voters keep politicians accountable by conditioning their vote on the observed effects of public policies.
    Keywords: Accountability; Retrospective Voting; Natural Experiment; Crime; Recidivism; Media
    JEL: D72 K42
    Date: 2019–08
  5. By: Gonzales Mariella; Gianmarco León-Ciliotta; Luis R. Martinez
    Abstract: We combine two natural experiments, multiple empirical strategies and administrative data to study voters' response to marginal changes to the fine for electoral abstention in Peru. A smaller fine leads to a robust decrease in voter turnout. However, the drop in turnout caused by a full ne reduction is less than 20% the size of that caused by an exemption from compulsory voting, indicating the predominance of the non-monetary incentives provided by the mandate to vote. Additionally, almost 90% of the votes generated by a marginally larger ne are blank or invalid, lending support to the hypothesis of rational abstention. Higher demand for information and larger long-run effects following an adjustment to the value of the ne point to the existence of informational frictions that limit adaptation to institutional changes.
    Keywords: voter turnout, voter registration, compulsory voting, informational frictions, external validity, Peru
    JEL: D72 D78 D83 K42
    Date: 2018–12
  6. By: null null (Harris School of Public Policy); Horacio Larreguy (Harvard University); Benjamin Marx (Département d'économie); Otis Reid (Massachusetts Institute of Technology [Cambridge] (MIT))
    Abstract: We estimate the effects of one of the largest anti-vote-buying campaigns ever studied—with half a million voters exposed across 1427 villages—in Uganda’s 2016 elections. Working with civil society organizations, we designed the study to estimate how voters and candidates responded to their campaign in treatment and spillover villages, and how impacts varied with campaign intensity. Despite its heavy footprint, the campaign did not reduce politician offers of gifts in exchange for votes. However, it had sizable effects on people’s votes. Votes swung from well-funded incumbents (who buy most votes) towards their poorly-financed challengers. We argue the swing arose from changes in village social norms plus the tactical response of candidates. While the campaign struggled to instill norms of refusing gifts, it leveled the electoral playing field by convincing some voters to abandon norms of reciprocity—thus accepting gifts from politicians but voting for their preferred candidate.
    Keywords: Elections; Voting Behavior; Field Experiment; Africa
    JEL: C93 D72 O55
    Date: 2019–07
  7. By: Alex Gershkov; Andreas Kleiner; Benny Moldovanu; Xianwen Shi
    Abstract: We model a situation where ex ante opinions in a legislature are dichotomous but cross traditional left-right party lines, e.g., crucial decisions on ethical issues such as gay marriage and abortion, or joining/exiting an economic/political union. In addition to the two "extreme" positions on the left and on the right, we consider the effect of a compromise alternative whose location may be endogenous. We compare sequential, binary voting schemes conducted by privately informed agents with interdependent preferences: the voting process gradually reveals and aggregates relevant information about the location of preferred alternatives. The Anglo-Saxon amendment procedure (AV) always selects the (complete-information) Condorcet winner. In contrast, the continental successive procedure (SV) does not. This holds because AV allows learning about the preferences of both leftists and rightists, while SV only allows one-directional learning at each step. Moreover, under SV, the agenda that puts the alternative with ex ante higher support last elects the Condorcet winner more often than the agenda that puts that alternative first. The optimal compromise location for various goals is also shown to differ across voting procedures. We illustrate our main findings with a fascinating historical episode, the vote on the flag of the Weimar republic.
    Keywords: Dynamic Voting, Interdependent Values, Successive Procedure, Amendment Procedure, Compromise
    JEL: D72 D82
    Date: 2019–09–09
  8. By: Becker, Sascha O. (Monash U and U Warwick, CAGE, CEPR, CESifo, Ifo, IZA and ROA); Hornung, Erik (University of Cologne, CAGE, CEPR, and CESifo)
    Abstract: Did the Prussian three-class franchise, which politically over-represented the economic elite, affect policy-making? Combining MP-level political orientation, derived from all roll call votes in the Prussian parliament (1867–1903), with constituency characteristics, we analyze how local vote inequality, determined by tax payments, affected policymaking during Prussia’s period of rapid industrialization. Contrary to the predominant view that the franchise system produced a conservative parliament, higher vote inequality is associated with more liberal voting, especially in regions with large-scale industry. We argue that industrialists preferred self-serving liberal policies and were able to coordinate on suitable MPs when vote inequality was high.
    Keywords: Inequality ; Political Economy ; Three-class Franchise ; Elites ; Prussia
    JEL: D72 N43 N93 P26
    Date: 2019
  9. By: Carlo Altomonte; Gloria Gennaro; Francesco Passarelli
    Abstract: We leverage on important findings in social psychology to build a behavioral theory of protest vote. An individual develops a feeling of resentment if she loses income over time while richer people do not, or if she does not gain as others do, i.e. when her relative deprivation increases. In line with the Intergroup Emotions Theory, this feeling is amplified if the individual identifies with a community experiencing the same feeling. Such a negative collective emotion, which we define as aggrievement, fuels the desire to take revenge against traditional parties and the richer elite, a common trait of populist rhetoric. The theory predicts higher support for the protest party when individuals identify more strongly with their local community and when a higher share of community members are aggrieved. We test this theory using longitudinal data on British households and exploiting the emergence of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) in Great Britain in the 2010 and 2015 national elections. Empirical findings robustly support theoretical predictions. The psychological mechanism postulated by our theory survives the controls for alternative non-behavioral mechanisms (e.g. information sharing or political activism in local communities).
    Keywords: electoral behaviour, protest vote, populism, relative deprivation, community cohesion, UK Independence Party
    Date: 2019
  10. By: Giovanna Iannantuoni (University of Milano-Bicocca); Elena Manzoni (Department of Economics (University of Verona)); Francesca Rossi (Department of Economics (University of Verona))
    Abstract: The European political spectrum can be modelled as a two-dimensional space, whose interpretation has been investigated in the spatial voting literature by regression analysis. However, data on legislators' positions display spatial clustering that is not explained by the standard models. We account for correlation among legislators by modelling spatial dependence across countries, using a new sets of geopolitical and cultural metrics. We confirm the well known result that the first dimension of the European political space is mainly explained by the Members of European Parliament's ideological position on a left-right scale, although correlation across legislators cannot be neglected. We show that spatial correlation plays instead a central role when interpreting the more controversial second dimension of the political spectrum. The most relevant proximity measures are based on geographical proximity, institutional similarities and on three cultural metrics related to which issues play a central role in the political debate.
    Keywords: European political space, spatial autoregressions, NOMINATE, proximity matrices, economic distances.
    JEL: D72 C21
    Date: 2019–09
  11. By: Bengtsson, Erik (Department of Economic History, Lund University)
    Abstract: In discussions of Scandinavian democratization, it is commonplace to argue that long-standing farmer representation in parliament and a lack of feudalism encouraged a democratic-participatory civic culture within the peasant farmer class – or perhaps in the population as a whole. The present essay questions this interpretation in the Swedish case. It centers on a re-interpretation of farmer politics at the national level from a two-chamber system of representation after the 1866-67 reform to the alliance between the farmers’ party and Social Democracy in 1933 and offers a new analytical account of the way that one class’s attitude to democratic inclusion can change over time, owing to changed political and economic relationships to other classes. I show that Swedish farmers did not organize themselves independently of nobles and land-owners until the 1920s, and that they did not play the role of an independent pro-democratic force. On the contrary, the broad-based organizations of farmers in the 1920s and 1930s, with their democratic, participatory culture, appear to have been heavily influenced by the political culture of liberals and the labor movement, which in democratic society opened the door to a re-shaping of Swedish farmer politics that abandoned the old (subservient) alliance with estate owners. It was not democratic farmers who gave rise to Social Democracy – rather, it was Social Democracy that caused farmers to become democratic. Understanding farmer politics correctly also opens up a new understanding of the determinants of Swedish democratization.
    Keywords: democratization; agrarian politics; Sweden; class structure; farmers; Sonderweg
    JEL: H10 N53 N54 P16
    Date: 2019–08–21
  12. By: Gerling, Lena; Kellermann, Kim Leonie
    Abstract: Despite controversial debates about the social acceptability of its nationalist program, the rightwing populist AfD has recently entered all state parliaments as well as the federal parliament in Germany. Although professed AfD voters faced a likely risk of social stigmatization, electoral support followed a clear upward trend. In order to explain these dynamics, we analyze the impact of information shocks with respect to aggregate-level AfD support on individual party choices. Unexpectedly high aggregate support for a populist party may indicate a higher social acceptance of its platform and reduce the social desirability bias in self-reported party preferences. Consequently, the likelihood to reveal an AfD preference increases. We test this mechanism in an event-study approach, exploiting quasi-random variation in survey interviews conducted closely around German state elections. We define election information shocks as deviations of actual AfD vote shares from pre-election polls and link these to the individual disposition to report an AfD preference in subsequent survey interviews. Our results suggest that exposure to higher-than expected AfD support significantly increases the individual probability to report an AfD vote intention by up to 3 percentage points.
    Keywords: voting behavior,populist parties,contagion effects,information shocks,socialdesirability bias
    JEL: C21 D71 D72 D83 D91
    Date: 2019
  13. By: Philippos Louis; Matías Núñez; Dimitrios Xefteris
    Abstract: The use of trimmed mean mechanisms in collective decision-making is motivated by the perception that they constitute a remedy for strategic misreporting. This work focuses on the strategic calculus of voting under such mechanisms and –contrary to the above presumption– it demonstrates both formally and experimentally that: a) voters persistently resort to strategic polarization for all but the most extreme levels of trimming and b) the outcome is more extreme and closer to the ideal policy of the median voter compared to when trimming does not take place. These so far uncharted properties of trimming provide novel insights –and call for caution– regarding its implementation.
    Keywords: trimmed mean; equilibrium; experiment; collective decisions; facility location problem
    JEL: D71 D72
    Date: 2019–09
  14. By: Michael Geruso; Dean Spears; Ishaana Talesara
    Abstract: Inversions—in which the popular vote winner loses the election—have occurred in 4 US Presidential elections. We show that rather than being statistical flukes, inversions have been ex ante likely since the 1800s. In elections yielding a popular vote margin within one percentage point (which has happened in one-eighth of Presidential elections), 40% will be inversions in expectation. Inversion probabilities are asymmetric, in various periods favoring Whigs, Democrats, or Republicans. Feasible policy changes—including awarding each state’s Electoral College ballots proportionally between parties rather than awarding all to the state winner—could substantially reduce inversion probabilities, though not in close elections.
    JEL: H0 J1
    Date: 2019–09
  15. By: Carlos Eduardo Suprinyak (Cedeplar-UFMG)
    Abstract: The political philosophy of pluralism enjoyed great currency in Britain during the early decades of the 20th century, as an alternative to the extreme poles of individualism and collectivism. Positing the existence of multiple types of political allegiances in any society, pluralism questioned the notion of state sovereignty by advocating that other forms of associational life should be recognized as legitimate sources of political power. In an age of increasing state intervention in economic affairs, however, this fragmentation of power concerned political economy as well. The paper explores the interplay between political claims for a weaker state and economic claims for a stronger state through a case study of G.D.H. Cole, the foremost British advocate of guild socialism and a prolific writer on economic planning. While defending the cause of democratic industrial self-management, Cole envisioned stateled economic planning as a transitional device for developing the communal loyalties necessary for a well-functioning socialist economy.
    Keywords: pluralism, state sovereignty, economic planning, G.D.H. Cole, democracy.
    Date: 2019–09
  16. By: Robert Calvert Jump (University of the West of England, Bristol); Jo Michell (University of the West of England, Bristol)
    Abstract: The role of education in the geography of Brexit is usually examined using descriptive statistics and regression, which are ill-suited to the assessment of predictive capacity. By presenting in-sample and out-of-sample probit classification results, this paper demonstrates that educational attainment alone can correctly classify up to 92.24% of local authorities by voting outcome, including up to 80% of Remain-voting authorities. These results emphasise the importance of education as a key factor in the political geography of the Brexit vote.
    Date: 2019–01–01
  17. By: Adeline Nnenna Idike (Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo)
    Abstract: National development remains clearly elusive in some regions of the world. And democracy is frequently proposed as the catalyst of development for such locations. This presupposes that development was stunted by the dearth of democracy in these environments. At the heart of the undemocratic tendencies in the affected nation states is the phenomenon of strongmen in government. These genres of leaders usually detest the notion of the Rule of Law, as the very bedrock of development. They candidly although, project national interest as the superior paradigm of progress in these nations, giving rise to the scenario of competing models of national development for such places. This paper is a contribution to the reconciliation of the conflicting issues. Its premises are derived from the disciplines of law, political science and development studies. The work is framed on the experiences of the Nigerian nation state in West Africa.
    Keywords: rule of law, democracy, national interest, national development
    Date: 2019–04
  18. By: Beata Javorcik; Ben Kett; Katherine Stapleton; Layla O'Kane
    Abstract: This paper uses high frequency data on the universe of job adverts posted online in the UK to study the impact of the trade uncertainty caused by the Brexit referendum on labour demand. We develop measures of industry and regional exposure to the threat of poten¬tial most-favoured-nation (MFN) tariffs if the UK were to leave the EU without a trade deal. We show that industries and regions more exposed to the tariff threat differentially reduced online hiring in the period after the referendum. We also show that the magni¬tude of this negative effect varied with the time-varying perceived probability of a no-deal Brexit, proxied by the relative frequency of Google-searches for terms associated with a no-deal Brexit. The policy implications of this paper are that uncertainty around trade policy, not only enacted policy, have real economic impacts and governments should therefore strive for clarity and predictability in their actions to create a strong enabling environment for the private sector.
    Date: 2019–08–29
  19. By: Hakobyana, Zaruhi; Koulovatianos, Christos
    Abstract: We build a search-and-matching algorithm of network dynamics with decision-making under incomplete information, seeking to understand the determinants of the observed gradual downgrading of expert opinion on complicated issues and the decreasing trust in science. Even without fake news, combining the internet's ease of forming networks with (a) individual biases, such as confirmation bias or assimilation bias, and (b) people's tendency to align their actions with those of peers, produces populist and polarization network dynamics. Homophily leads to actions with more weight on biases and less weight on expert opinion, and such actions lead to more homophily.
    Keywords: network dynamics,internet,higher-order beliefs,learning,expertopinions,biased assimilation,confirmation bias
    JEL: D85 D83 D82 D72 C78
    Date: 2019

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