nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2020‒05‒04
nineteen papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Special Interest Groups Versus Voters and the Political Economics of Attention By Balles, Patrick; Matter, Ulrich; Stutzer, Alois
  2. Do Inheritance Rules Affect Voter Turnout? Evidence from an Alpine Region By Andrea Bonoldi; Chiara Dalle Nogare; Martin Mosler; Niklas Potrafke
  3. Identity Politics, Clientelism, and Public Goods Provision: Theory and Evidence By Rohit Ticku; Raghul S. Venkatesh
  4. Political Integration of Foreigners How does foreigners suffrage impact natives’ attitudes? By Anna Maria Koukal; Marco Portmann
  5. One Man, One Vote Part 2: Measurement of Malapportionment and Disproportionality and the Lorenz Curve By de Mouzon, Olivier; Laurent, Thibault; Le Breton, Michel
  6. Does the Winner Take It All? Redistributive Policies and Political Extremism By Gianmarco Daniele; Amedeo Piolatto; Willem Sas
  7. Resilience, self-efficacy and political participation By Andrea Chmitorz; Claudia Landwehr; Arndt Leininger; Thomas Schroeter; Oliver Tüscher
  8. A Glimpse of Freedom: Allied Occupation and Political Resistance in East Germany By Luis R. Martinez; Jonas Jessen; Guo Xu
  9. Time in Office and the Changing Gender Gap in Dishonesty: Evidence from Local Politics in India By Ananish Chaudhuri; Vegard Iversen; Francesca R. Jensenius; Pushkar Maitra
  10. Divided They Fall. Fragmented Parliaments and Government Stability By Felipe Carozzi; Davide Cipullo; Luca Repetto
  11. Mobilizing women voters in Pakistan By Chaudhry, Zain
  12. Ballots instead of Bullets? The effect of the Voting Rights Act on political violence By Jean Lacroix
  13. Dutch municipal elections 1998-2018: more localism and fragmentation By Raymond Gradus; Elbert Dijkgraaf; Tjerk Budding
  14. EU Accession: A Boon or Bane for Corruption? By Vincenzo Alfano; Salvatore Capasso; Rajeev K. Goel
  15. The Theoretical Shapley-Shubik Probability of an Election Inversion in a Toy Symmetric Version of the U.S. Presidential Electoral System By Olivier de Mouzon; Thibault Laurent; Michel Le Breton; Dominique Lepelley
  16. Risk Perception Through the Lens of Politics in the Time of the COVID-19 Pandemic By John M. Barrios; Yael Hochberg
  17. Procedural Preferences, Self-Interest, and Communication. Evidence from a Laboratory Experiment By Philipp Harms; Claudia Landwehr; Maximilian Lutz; Markus Tepe
  19. Propagation of Political Information By Daniel Bradley; Sinan Gokkaya; Xi Liu; Roni Michaely

  1. By: Balles, Patrick (University of Basel); Matter, Ulrich (University of Basel); Stutzer, Alois (University of Basel)
    Abstract: We examine whether representatives are more likely to serve long-term campaign donors instead of constituents during times of low media attention to politics. Based on 425 roll calls between 2005 and 2014 in the US House of Representatives, we show that representatives are more likely to vote with special interests and against constituency interests when the two are in conflict. Importantly, the latter effect is significantly larger when there is less attention on politics due to exogenous newsworthy events. The opportunistic behavior seems not to be mediated by short-term scheduling of sensitive votes right after distracting events.
    Keywords: Attention, campaign finance, interest groups, legislative voting, mass media, roll call voting, US House of Representatives
    JEL: D72 L82 L86
    Date: 2020–04–24
  2. By: Andrea Bonoldi; Chiara Dalle Nogare; Martin Mosler; Niklas Potrafke
    Abstract: We examine the relationship between inheritance rules and voter turnout. Inheritance rules are measured by entailed farms in South Tyrol: land properties whose inheritance is regulated by a law similar to the right of primogeniture. Using data for municipalities between 1998 and 2010, we show that voter turnout is high in municipalities with many entailed farms relative to population. The effect is based on local elections. If the number of entailed farms per 100 inhabitants increases by one standard deviation, voting turnout in municipal and provincial elections increases by around 1.27 and 1.43 percentage points (around 25 and 35 percent of a standard deviation). Our results suggest that entailed farm owners themselves are more likely to vote, and that entailed farms owners encourage other citizens of their municipality to participate in local elections.
    Keywords: entailed farms, voter turnout, inheritance rules, identity, civic duty
    JEL: D72 H70 K11 Q15 Z19
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Rohit Ticku (Institute for the Study of Religion, Economics and Society, Chapman University); Raghul S. Venkatesh (University of Aix-Marseille)
    Abstract: We study how identity politics determines clientelism and provision of public goods in representative democracies. Parties cultivate vote banks—a group of voters who vote along identity lines — in exchange for clientelistic transfers, and provide public goods to nonpartisan voters. There is ex-post identity formation among non-partisans that depends on the party in power. This generates an asymmetry in ex-post conflict payoff for the majority identity. The main theoretical result proposes a new mechanism for clientelism and rent seeking that is driven by identity politics. We further show that asymmetry in identity payoffs i) increases investment in conflict when the party with the support of minorities wins; and ii) increases public goods provision by both parties when income of minorities is below a threshold. We provide empirical evidence from state level elections in India for the period from 1983 till 2000. Results show that identity conflict is more intense when the party with minority identity vote bank is in power. This effect is magnified by the income of minorities. Further, provision of public goods under the party with minority vote bank increases with asymmetry in identity payoffs.
    Keywords: Identity Politics; Clientalism; Inter-group Conflict; Public Goods
    JEL: D0 H0 H4
    Date: 2020
  4. By: Anna Maria Koukal; Marco Portmann
    Abstract: Today's world is characterized by globalization and international mobility, yet most democratic participation rights are still tied to traditional forms of citizenship. As a consequence, non-citizen are the largest group without franchise. We examine how citizens evaluate and react to the enfranchisement of non-citizens in Switzerland. This paper combines a novel dataset about the enfranchisement process of non-citizens with individual and aggregated data about citizens' attitudes toward non-citizens and their perception of democracy. We find evidence that citizens become more skeptical toward additional migra- tion, yet show a tendency to reduce ethnocentric attitudes toward non-citizens residing in Switzerland and are more satisfied with democracy once non-citizen are granted the right to vote.
    Date: 2020–04
  5. By: de Mouzon, Olivier; Laurent, Thibault; Le Breton, Michel
    Abstract: The main objective of this paper is to explore and estimate the departure from the One Man, One Vote principle in the context of political representation and its consequences in distributive politics. To proceed in the measurement of the inequalities in the representation of territories (geographical under/over representation) or opinions/parties (ideological under/over representation), we import (with some important qualifications and adjustments) the Lorenz curve which is an important tool in the economics of income distribution. We consider subsequently some malapportionment and disproportionality indices. The paper contains applications of these tools to the evaluation of malapportionment and disproportionality to the 2010 Electoral College and the French parliamentary and local elections with a special attention to the electoral reform in 2015.
    Keywords: Apportionment; Disproportionality; Electoral Justice; Lorenz Curve
    JEL: D71 D72
    Date: 2020–04
  6. By: Gianmarco Daniele; Amedeo Piolatto; Willem Sas
    Abstract: We show that regional heterogeneity of underlying fundamentals (e.g. economic history, geography, social capital) can lead to extreme voting in federations. When the outcome of federal policies – such as transfer schemes, market regulation or migration laws – depends on these fundamentals, the set of regions that wins or loses from a given policy is fixed. This gives voters a strategic incentive to distort the policy magnitude, by electing federal representatives that are extremely protective of regional interests. Interestingly, the benefits of selecting tough negotiators outweigh those of belonging to the ruling coalition. We test our predictions by looking at parties’ performances at national and European Parliament elections from 1990 onwards, and find that strategic voting is indeed U-shaped: winning and losing member states vote more extremely than those in the middle. Our online survey provides further evidence.
    Keywords: political extremism, interregional redistribution, federalism, strategic delegation, bargaining, coalitions, EU elections, Euroscepticism, populism
    JEL: D72 H60 H71 H77
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Andrea Chmitorz (Esslingen University); Claudia Landwehr (Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany); Arndt Leininger (University of Berlin); Thomas Schroeter (Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany); Oliver Tüscher (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany)
    Abstract: The large gap in political participation between well-educated and wealthy citizens on the one hand and less educated and poorer citizens, on the other hand, has in recent years gained new attention. Several authors argue that unequal participation leads to unequal political representation and responsiveness and results in policy decisions that are tilted against the interests of disadvantaged groups, thus further increasing inequality. This paper takes a different starting point by turning the old question why people do not participate in politics around and asking why people participate. We hypothesize that enduring engagement with politics requires individuals to be resilient in the face of frustration and to possess strong, perhaps even delusional, efficacy beliefs. Using data from the German GESIS Panel we demonstrate positive correlations between individual resilience, internal and external efficacy, and political participation. We conclude by pointing to the possibility that resilience and efficacy beliefs help privileged groups to overcome collective action problems to achieve disproportionate influence on political decisions and point to avenues for further research.
    Date: 2020–04–21
  8. By: Luis R. Martinez; Jonas Jessen; Guo Xu
    Abstract: This paper studies costly political resistance in a non-democracy. When Nazi Germany surrendered in May 1945, 40% of the designated Soviet occupation zone was initially captured by the western Allied Expeditionary Force. This occupation was short-lived: Soviet forces took over after less than two months and installed an authoritarian regime in what became the German Democratic Republic (GDR). We exploit the idiosyncratic line of contact separating Allied and Soviet troops within the GDR to show that areas briefly under Allied occupation had higher incidence of protests during the only major episode of political unrest in the GDR before its demise in 1989 - the East German Uprising of 1953. These areas also exhibited lower regime support during the last free elections in 1946. We argue that even a “glimpse of freedom” can foster civilian opposition to dictatorship.
    Keywords: East Germany, political resistance, protest, autocracy, spatial RDD, World War II
    JEL: F51 H10 N44 P20
    Date: 2020
  9. By: Ananish Chaudhuri; Vegard Iversen; Francesca R. Jensenius; Pushkar Maitra
    Abstract: Increasing the share of women in politics is regularly promoted as a means of reducing corruption. In this paper, we look for evidence of a gender gap in dishonesty among elected representatives, as well as how this changes with time in office. Based on a sample of 356 inexperienced and experienced local politicians in West Bengal, India, we combine survey data on attitudes towards corruption with data from incentivized experiments. While we find little evidence of a gender gap in the attitudes of inexperienced politicians, a lower faith in political institutions and a greater distaste for corruption can be seen among experienced politicians, particularly women. However, this seeming hardening in attitudes among female politicians also coincides with more dishonest behavior in our experiments. Exploring mechanisms for this difference, we find it to be strongly associated with lower risk aversion. Our study indicates that gender gaps in politics should be theorized as dynamic and changing, rather than static.
    Keywords: politicians, gender, honesty, die-tossing game, experiments
    JEL: H11 C93
    Date: 2020
  10. By: Felipe Carozzi; Davide Cipullo; Luca Repetto
    Abstract: This paper studies how political fragmentation affects government stability. We show that each additional party with representation in Parliament increases the probability that the incumbent government is unseated by 4 percentage points. Governments with more resources at their disposal for bargaining are less likely to be replaced. When they are, new government leaders are younger and better educated, suggesting instability may induce positive selection. We interpret our results in light of a bargaining model of coalition formation featuring government instability. Our findings indicate that the rising fragmentation in parliaments worldwide may have a substantial impact on stability and political selection.
    Keywords: government stability, fragmentation, no-confidence votes, bargaining, alignment effect
    JEL: H10 H70 R50
    Date: 2020
  11. By: Chaudhry, Zain
    Abstract: In most developing countries, politicians are mostly male, whose politics revolves around male household heads. The system does not stop women from voting, but politicians do not campaign directly for the female vote. A campaign run by a politician in Pakistan focusing only on women increased his vote share by 3.6 percentage points (in an election where he lost by 0.08 percent). The campaign had a much larger effect when information was given to women alone and not alongside men.
    Date: 2020
  12. By: Jean Lacroix
    Abstract: The extension of voting rights epitomizes the construction of modern democracies. This paper empirically investigates the effect of such an enfranchisement on political violence in the context of the US Voting Rights Act (VRA - 1965). The Act forbade discrimination in voting. Its coverage formula generated both geographic and temporal local discontinuities in its application. The empirical strategy takes advantage of these features by comparing the evolution of political violence in geographically close covered and non-covered counties. Difference-in- differences estimates indicate that the VRA coverage halved the incidence and the onset of political violence. Alternative approaches such as geographic matching or geographic discontinuity design reach the same results whereas multiple tests validate the empirical strategy. Extensions also show that redistribution and electoral outcomes do not explain these dynamics. Instead, I report empirical evidence suggesting that voting became the new institutionalized way to state political preferences. Indeed, the VRA mostly decreased pre-elections and small- scale strategic disruptive violence and not complements to voting such as larger-scale protests turning violent.
    Keywords: Political violence; Enfranchisement; Civil rights movement
    JEL: D74 N44 H89
    Date: 2020–04–13
  13. By: Raymond Gradus (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam); Elbert Dijkgraaf (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Tjerk Budding (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
    Abstract: Exploring the outcome of Dutch municipal elections between 1998 and 2018, this paper finds two dominant trends: increasing political fragmentation and localism. When explaining localism, the number of inhabitants, regional diversity and the election year dummies are significant. The last result gives some indication for a welfare hypothesis as a large decentralisation of Dutch social policy took place in 2007 and 2015. Some evidence is found for a merger effect of more or less equal municipalities. There is evidence as well that more fragmentation in the municipal council leads to more aldermen. The number of aldermen is also depending on the number of inhabitants and a merger effect in case of two municipalities.
    Keywords: local elections, political fragmentation, localism, empirical research
    JEL: H76 D72
    Date: 2020–04–20
  14. By: Vincenzo Alfano; Salvatore Capasso; Rajeev K. Goel
    Abstract: The formation and expansion of the European Union (EU) have attracted much attention. However, the impact on the level of corruption in a nation after joining the Union has not been formally studied. Any nation that joins the European Union potentially faces two different and opposite effects on corruption. On the one hand, there are reasons to believe that corruption is going to decrease because of the efforts of the EU to fight corruption or because of the opening of the markets to trade; on the other hand, there are reasons to imagine that corruption may increase due to the increase in bureaucracy and new regulations. Hence, the overall effect is not entirely clear from this perspective. This work focuses on the last three rounds of EU entry and empirically studies the effects of joining the EU on corruption. Placing the analysis in the broader literature on the determinants of corruption, the results suggest that entry into the EU increases corruption. However, equally insightful is that this corruption increase does not hold for nations that are potential entrants or that are in the negotiation stage.
    Keywords: corruption, regulations, free trade European Union, joining the EU, EU negotiations, government
    JEL: D73 E60 F68 K42
    Date: 2020
  15. By: Olivier de Mouzon (TSE - Toulouse School of Economics - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UT1 - Université Toulouse 1 Capitole - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Thibault Laurent (TSE - Toulouse School of Economics - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UT1 - Université Toulouse 1 Capitole - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Michel Le Breton (TSE - Toulouse School of Economics - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UT1 - Université Toulouse 1 Capitole - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Dominique Lepelley (CEMOI - Centre d'Économie et de Management de l'Océan Indien - UR - Université de La Réunion)
    Keywords: Electoral system,Election Inversions,Impartial Anonymous Culture
    Date: 2020–04
  16. By: John M. Barrios; Yael Hochberg
    Abstract: Even when, objectively speaking, death is on the line, partisan bias still colors beliefs about facts. We show that a higher share of Trump voters in a county is associated with lower perceptions of risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. As Trump voter share rises, individuals search less for information on the virus, and engage in less social distancing behavior, as measured by smartphone location patterns. These patterns persist in the face of state-level mandates to close schools and businesses or to “stay home,” and reverse only when conservative politicians are exposed and the White House releases federal social distancing guidelines.
    JEL: D8 I1 L82 P16
    Date: 2020–04
  17. By: Philipp Harms (Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany); Claudia Landwehr (Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany); Maximilian Lutz (University of Oldenburg); Markus Tepe (University of Oldenburg)
    Abstract: What determines individuals’ preferences over alternative decision-making procedures – the potential gain from these procedures or the intrinsic value assigned to them? This study tests an income redistribution game, in which subjects can endogenously determine whether to decide upon redistribution by majority voting or to delegate the decision to a randomly selected member of the group (a “random decider”). Subjects are assigned to groups of three and receive an initial endowment, the sum of endowments being common knowledge. After a choice of the decision procedure to be applied, they can choose to either redistribute endowments equally or to maintain the original allocation. We find that the share of rational egoistic procedural choices increases when the distribution of endowments is common knowledge, compared to a situation in which subjects only know their own endowment. However, a substantive share of subjects reveals a persistent preference for majority voting, regardless of their distributional interest. Support for majority voting is strongest when common knowledge of initial endowments is combined with a chat option. These findings not only suggest that majority voting is a normative default when the rational egoistic procedural choice is limited by a lack of information, but also that support for majority voting, even where it is costly to the individual, is promoted through communication.
    Keywords: procedural preferences, endogenous institutional choice, majority voting, delegation, laboratory experiment
    Date: 2020–04–23
  18. By: McGee, Robert
    Abstract: This paper presents the results of a study of opinion on attitude toward whether the world is better off or worse off because of science and technology. The most recent wave of World Values Survey data was used. Countries were ranked by mean score. The sample size was gathered in 60 countries and had more than 86,000 participants. Comparisons were also made by gender, age and religion.
    Keywords: science, technology, attitude, ranking, gender, age, religion, demographics
    JEL: A13 D6 I30 J16 O30 Z12
    Date: 2019–06–24
  19. By: Daniel Bradley (University of South Florida); Sinan Gokkaya (Department of Finance, Ohio University); Xi Liu (Miami University of Ohio - Richard T. Farmer School of Business Administration); Roni Michaely (University of Geneva - Geneva Finance Research Institute (GFRI); Swiss Finance Institute)
    Abstract: We identify an important channel through which political information propagates into capital markets—Washington policy analysts (WAs). WAs monitor political developments and produce research to interpret the impact of these events. Institutional clients generate superior returns on their trades and channel more commissions to brokerages providing policy research. WA policy research reports evoke significant market reactions, and sell-side analysts with access to WA research issue superior stock recommendations. These effects are particularly acute in politically sensitive industries, in periods of high political uncertainty, and when the quality of WA is higher. Overall, we uncover a new conduit through which political information filters into asset prices.
    Keywords: Policy analysts; policy research; political uncertainty; trading commissions; institutional trading; sell-side analysts
    JEL: L50 G10 G18 G20 G23
    Date: 2020–04

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