nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2019‒12‒23
eight papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Campaign Contests By Denter, Philipp
  2. Valence, Complementarities, and Political Polarization By Denter, Philipp
  3. Policy Choices in Assembly versus Representative Democracy: Evidence from Swiss Communes By Patricia Funk; Stephan Litschig
  4. Moved to Vote: The Long-Run Effects of Neighborhoods on Political Participation By Eric Chyn; Kareem Haggag
  5. Factors associated with attitudes toward U.S. immigration, 2004–2016 By Amaral, Ernesto F. L.; Mitchell, Paige; Marquez-Velarde, Guadalupe
  6. Mind the Funding Gap: Transit Financing in Los Angeles County and Metro Vancouver By Matthew Lesch
  7. Brexit : Eurosceptic Victory In British Referendum In Term Of Britain Membership Of European Union By ARISTO, Jurnal
  8. Why oppose a peace agreement? The relationship between belief systems, informational shortcuts, and attitudes towards the 2016 referendum in Colombia By Manuela Muñoz Fuerte

  1. By: Denter, Philipp
    Abstract: I develop a formal model of political campaigns in which candidates choose how to distribute their resources over two different policy issues. I assume that campaigning on an issue has two simultaneous effects, both rooted in social and cognitive psychology: It increases the perceived quality of the advertising candidate in that issue and it makes the issue more salient, thereby increasing the issue's perceived importance to the voters. Whether a candidate can increase his vote share during the contest depends on the interplay of strategic issue selection, which depends on candidates' comparative advantages, and the aggregate resource allocation to the issues. The aggregate resource allocation-or campaign agenda-depends on an issue's importance, the firmness of voters' conviction regarding candidates' relative quality, and the divisiveness of this issue. A candidate increases his vote share during the campaign contest if he has a comparative advantage on the issue that receives more aggregate spending. Consequently, the contest may be biased in one candidate's favor and an a priori less popular candidate might be the actual odds on favorite. I show that a relatively unimportant issue might receive most aggregate spending and thus could decide the election.
    Keywords: electoral competition, campaign spending, contests, priming, advertising
    JEL: D72 L2 P16
    Date: 2019–08
  2. By: Denter, Philipp
    Abstract: I study a model of electoral competition where two parties that care about both the spoils of office and policy compete by announcing policy platforms. Parties are characterized by their valence on the one hand and by their policy platforms on the other. Unlike in the extant literature, I assume that valence and policy are complements (instead of substitutes) from the voter's perspective. I generally characterize electoral equilibrium and show that in such a framework increasing one or both parties' valence level(s) leads to policy moderation. To the contrary, if both candidates have minimal valence policy platforms are maximally polarized. The model hence uncovers valence as an important determinant of political polarization.
    Keywords: electoral competition, valence, policy, complements
    JEL: D72 H41 P16
    Date: 2019–10
  3. By: Patricia Funk (Università della Svizzera italiana); Stephan Litschig (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Tokyo, Japan)
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether the form of the legislative institution - citizen assembly versus elected parliament - affects the level and composition of local public expenditure. Our empirical analysis focuses on medium-sized and mostly German-speaking communes in Switzerland that switched from assembly to parliament between 1945 and 2010. Event study estimates suggest that parliament adoption increases total spending by about 6 percent and that this increase is driven mostly by general administration and education spending. To understand potential mechanisms at play, we run a survey among assembly participants and document a sizeable under-representation of 20- to 40-year-olds, as well as of women in assemblies compared to both voters in elections and to the electorate at large. Since these two demographics have relatively strong preferences for public spending on education in our setting, switching from citizen assembly to parliament likely increased their representation in the political process.
    Date: 2019–11
  4. By: Eric Chyn; Kareem Haggag
    Abstract: How does one's childhood neighborhood shape political engagement later in life? We leverage a natural experiment that moved children out of disadvantaged neighborhoods to study effects on their voting behavior more than a decade later. Using linked administrative data, we find that children who were displaced by public housing demolitions and moved using housing vouchers are 12 percent (3.3 percentage points) more likely to vote in adulthood, relative to their non-displaced peers. We argue that this result is unlikely to be driven by changes in incarceration or in their parents' outcomes, but rather by improvements in education and labor market outcomes, and perhaps by socialization. These results suggest that, in addition to reducing economic inequality, housing assistance programs that improve one's childhood neighborhood may be a useful tool in reducing inequality in political participation.
    JEL: D72 H75 I38 J13 R23 R38
    Date: 2019–11
  5. By: Amaral, Ernesto F. L. (Texas A&M University); Mitchell, Paige; Marquez-Velarde, Guadalupe
    Abstract: This study investigates demographic, socioeconomic, political, and contextual factors associated with attitudes toward U.S. immigration. We analyze cross-sectional data from the 2004–2016 General Social Survey and American Community Survey five-year estimates. Results from generalized ordered logit models suggest that support to immigration has been increasing over time. There is no difference by sex on attitudes toward immigration. Non-whites, those between 18 and 24 years of age, people with higher educational attainment, and non-Protestants are more likely to be pro-immigration. People working on sales, office, natural resources, construction, maintenance, production, transportation, material moving, and military occupations are less likely to support immigration. People living in the South Atlantic region are the least likely to support an increase in immigration. People who lived in areas at the age of 16 that tend to have higher proportions of foreign-born individuals are more likely to support immigration. People who self-classify as strong Democrats, Independents near Democrats, and in other parties are more likely to be in favor of an increase on the number of immigrants. People with more liberal political views are more likely to be in favor of immigration. People with lower levels of racial resentment have higher chances to be in favor of an increase in immigration. Opinion about immigration has stronger associations with racial resentment than with opinion about U.S. economic achievement. People who live in counties with higher proportions of college graduates and higher proportions of immigrants are more likely to be pro-immigration.
    Date: 2019–02–22
  6. By: Matthew Lesch (University of Toronto)
    Abstract: Across North American cities, the demand for better public transit is pervasive, yet many local governments lack sufficient revenue to finance the construction of new infrastructure. To resolve this dilemma, some localities have turned to citizens directly, proposing temporary, earmarked, sales tax increases as a way to finance capital-intensive projects. Why have some communities been more receptive to this funding model than others? This study addresses this question by comparing the recent experiences of Los Angeles County (2008), where a ballot measure to raise money for transportation was successful and Metro Vancouver (2015), where a similar public vote was unsuccessful. The analysis demonstrates the importance of political trust, issue framing, policy design, and coalition-building when engaging public support. The findings offer important lessons for other municipalities looking to invest in their public transportation systems.
    Keywords: transit, taxes, ballot measures, municipal finance
    JEL: H54 H71 R42
    Date: 2019–03
  7. By: ARISTO, Jurnal
    Abstract: On June 23, 2016, eurosceptic group won a British referendum on Britain's motion of leaving the European Union. This paper will explore the factors related to the victory of eurosceptic group in the historic referendum. This paper uses theory of voting behaviour and strategy of campaign to answer the research of this paper. Eurosceptic group victory in this referendum couldn’t be separated from eurosceptic's success in influencing the mindset of Britishsociety as the voter in this referendum. By using the concept of the campaign strategy, the writer will examine various forms of brexit campaign strategy that used to influence voters behaviour.
    Date: 2018–01–12
  8. By: Manuela Muñoz Fuerte
    Abstract: On 2 October 2016, the proposed peace agreement between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, or FARC) was narrowly defeated in a plebiscite that sought public approval for the deal. The “no” option received 50.2 percent of votes cast, and less than 38 percent of the electorate cast a vote. Why did the majority of voters oppose the peace agreement? In a combined survey ?a face-to-face sample in Bogotá and an online sample? conducted prior to the referendum, we identify voter cleavages using the principal component analysis (PCA) method. We find three consistent dimensions with profiles reflecting whether an individual is a 1) pro-status quo citizen; 2) a conservative-right voter; and 3) a citizen with a pronounced religious identity. In addition, we not only assess voters’ choices in the plebiscite based on these profiles, but also examine how these profiles may predict voters’ opinions on specific aspects of, and beliefs about, the agreement. Similar results are found when we replicate the PCA exercise using data from the 2016 Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) survey. Our findings suggest that voters are heterogeneous, but that different beliefs and attitudes about the referendum clustered in specific type of voters, which in turn shaped these voters’ willingness to endorse the proposed agreement. ***** El 2 de octubre de 2016, el acuerdo de paz propuesto entre el Gobierno colombiano y las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) fue derrotado en un plebiscito que buscaba la aprobación pública del acuerdo. La opción del “no” recibió 50,2 % de los votos a favor, menos de 38 % del electorado participó en la elección. ¿Por qué la mayoría de los votantes se opuso al acuerdo de paz? En una encuesta conjunta ?una muestra cara a cara en Bogotá y una muestra en internet? realizada antes del plebiscito se identificaron diferentes perfiles de votantes utilizando el método de análisis de componentes principales (PCA). Se encontraron tres dimensiones coherentes con los perfiles que reflejan si un individuo es un 1) ciudadano pro-status quo; 2) un votante de derecha conservador; o 3) un ciudadano con una identidad religiosa pronunciada. Además, no solo se evaluaron las decisiones de los votantes en el plebiscito en función de estos perfiles, sino que también se examinó cómo estos pueden predecir las opiniones de los votantes sobre aspectos específicos y creencias acerca del acuerdo. Se encontraron resultados similares cuando se replicó el ejercicio de PCA utilizando datos de la encuesta del Proyecto de Opinión Pública Latinoamericana (LAPOP) de 2016. Los resultados sugieren que los votantes son heterogéneos, pero que diferentes creencias y actitudes sobre el referéndum se agrupan en tipos específicos de votantes, que a su vez influyen sobre la voluntad de éstos para respaldar el acuerdo de paz.
    Keywords: Colombian peace agreement, belief systems, informational shortcuts, attitudes, voter profiles. Proceso de paz colombiano, sistemas de creencias, atajos deinformación, actitudes, perfiles de votantes.
    Date: 2018–11–06

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