nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2020‒08‒24
eleven papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Voting and Political Participation in the Aftermath of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic By Hani Mansour; Daniel I. Rees; James Reeves
  2. A Dynamic Model of Political Party Equilibrium: The Evolution of ENP in Canada, 1870-2015 By J Stephen Ferris; Stanley L. Winer; Derek E. H. Olmstead
  3. Has immigration contributed to the rise of right-wing extremist parties in Europe? By Anthony Edo; Yvonne Giesing
  4. Globalization, Time-Preferences, and Populist Voting By Aronsson, Thomas; Hetschko, Clemens; Schöb, Ronnie
  5. Does Party Competition Affect Political Activism? By Anselm Hager; Johannes Hermle; Lukas Hensel; Christopher Roth
  6. Ethnic Diversity, Concentration of Political Power and the Curse of Natural Resources By Wadho, Waqar; Hussain, Sadia
  7. Paying Them to Hate US: The Effect of U.S. Military Aid on Anti-American Terrorism, 1968-2014 By Eugen Dimant; Tim Krieger; Daniel Meierrieks
  8. “Que se vayan todos”: Null and Blank Votes in Argentine Provinces (1983-2007) By Guillermina Marto; Leandro Nallar
  9. Electoral Concerns Reduce Restrictive Measures During the COVID-19 Pandemic By Massimo Pulejo; Pablo Querubín
  10. Elite stigmatization of the unemployed: the association between framing and public attitudes By Okoroji, Celestin; Gleibs, Ilka H.; Jovchelovitch, Sandra
  11. The perils of democracy By Gregory de Angelo; Dimitri Dubois; Rustam Romaniuc

  1. By: Hani Mansour; Daniel I. Rees; James Reeves
    Abstract: This is the first study to examine the effect of experiencing a widespread, deadly epidemic on voting behavior. Using data on elections to the U.S House of Representatives and leveraging cross-district variation in HIV/AIDS mortality during the period 1983-1987, we document the effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on votes received by Democratic and Republican candidates. Beginning with the 1994 elections, there is a strong, positive association between HIV/AIDS mortality and the vote share received by Democratic candidates. Congressional districts that bore the brunt of the HIV/AIDS epidemic also saw substantial increases in Democratic voter turnout and contributions made to Democratic candidates.
    Keywords: HIV/AIDS, epidemic, Democratic, Republican
    JEL: D72 I18
    Date: 2020
  2. By: J Stephen Ferris; Stanley L. Winer; Derek E. H. Olmstead
    Abstract: The effective number of political parties (ENP) in a single member plurality rule electoral system is analyzed as a dynamic process whereby the tournament nature of the election contest induces excessive entry and sunk entry costs promote persistence even as Duverger-Demsetz type political competition works to winnow unsuccessful minor candidates and parties. The result is a fringe of parties that continue to circulate in long run equilibrium. The factors hypothesized to affect the entry and exit of candidates and parties are analyzed for Canada from 1870 through 2015 first using an auto-regressive distributed lag (ARDL) model and then allowing for asymmetric adjustment by adapting NARDL panel estimation techniques. After finding evidence of asymmetry at the party level, the NARDL results uncover two new stylized facts for ENP at the national party level: (i) a continual rise in the short run fringe after 1945; and (ii) a concomitant long run decline in ENP to about 1.5 (below Duverger’s prediction of 2). The long run time path in ENP at the party level is inversely correlated with uncertainty-based measures of electoral competition, suggesting that movements in long run ENP closer to 2 are an indicator of more rather than less electoral competition.
    Keywords: expected number of parties and candidates, contestability, entry and exit, Duverger’s Law, political competitiveness, asymmetric adjustment, ARDL and NARDL modeling
    JEL: D72 C41 C24
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Anthony Edo; Yvonne Giesing
    Abstract: Alongside a range of already well documented factors such as deindustrialization, technological progress and international trade, a series of recent empirical econometric studies show that immigration has contributed to the rise of extreme right-wing parties in Europe. Our study highlights, however, that there is no mechanical link between the rise of immigration and that of extreme right-wing parties. Exploiting French presidential elections from 1988 to 2017, we show that the positive impact of immigration on votes for extreme right-wing parties is driven by low-skilled immigration and immigration from non-European countries. Our results moreover show that high-skilled immigration from non-European countries has a negative impact on extreme right-wing parties. These findings suggest that the degree of economic and social integration of immigrants plays an important role in the formation of anti-immigrant sentiment. Fostering integration should therefore reduce negative attitudes toward immigrants and preserve national cohesion at a time when the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic could reinforce mistrust and xenophobia.
    Keywords: Voting;Immigration;Political Economy
    JEL: D72 F22 J15 P16
    Date: 2020–07
  4. By: Aronsson, Thomas (Department of Economics, Umeå University); Hetschko, Clemens (University of Leeds and CESifo, Munich); Schöb, Ronnie (Freie Universität Berlin and CESifo)
    Abstract: Societies see growing support for populist politicians who advocate an end to globalization. Our behavioral economics model links impatience to voters’ appraisals of an income shock due to globalization that is associated with short-run costs and delayed gains. The model shows that impatient individuals may reject further globalization if they are subject to borrowing constraints. Using German data, we confirm that impatient voters choose right-wing antiglobalist parties. Similarly, we show for the United Kingdom that a preference for immediate gratification increases the support for right-wing anti-globalist parties as well as for Brexit. A policy implication of our study is that governments may use up-front redistribution to gain voters’ support for further globalization.
    Keywords: Globalization; time-preference; impatience; time-inconsistency; populism; Brexit; up-front redistribution
    JEL: D72 D91 F15 F61 F68 H53
    Date: 2020–07–22
  5. By: Anselm Hager; Johannes Hermle; Lukas Hensel; Christopher Roth
    Abstract: Does party competition affect political activism? This paper studies the decision of party supporters to join political campaigns. We present a framework that incorporates supporters’ instrumental and expressive motives and illustrates that party competition can either increase or decrease party activism. To distinguish between these competing predictions, we implemented a field experiment with a European party during a national election. In a seemingly unrelated party survey, we randomly assigned 1,417 party supporters to true information that the canvassing activity of the main competitor party was exceptionally high. Using unobtrusive, real-time data on party supporters’ canvassing behavior, we find that treated respondents are 30 percent less likely to go canvassing. To investigate the causal mechanism, we leverage additional survey evidence collected two months after the campaign. Consistent with affective accounts of political activism, we show that increased competition lowered party supporters’ political self-efficacy, which plausibly led them to remain inactive.
    Keywords: party activism, electoral competition, field experiment, campaigns
    Date: 2020
  6. By: Wadho, Waqar; Hussain, Sadia
    Abstract: The empirical evidence suggests that the resource rich countries tend to have poor economic perfor- mance and higher rent seeking. In this paper, we develop a general equilibrium model explaining why natural resources turn out to be a curse in an economy divided into two classes: elite and workers. Our model explains the resource curse in a setup in which governing elite expropriate rents from natural resources which reduces the productive use of these resources. The expected costs and benefits of such rent seeking activities depend on the degree of ethnic polarization which a¤ects the concentration of political power, and on the quality of institutions which constraints rent seeking. The model predicts that in the presence of natural resources and rent seeking, ethnic diversity increases concentration of political power, reduces income per capita and increases income inequality. Moreover, the impact will be higher in economies that depend more on natural resources.
    Keywords: Rent seeking,Political power,Natural resource curse,Ethnic diversity
    JEL: Q32 D72 O11 O13
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Eugen Dimant; Tim Krieger; Daniel Meierrieks
    Abstract: Does U.S. military aid make the United States safer? To answer this question, we collect data on 173 countries between 1968 and 2014. Exploiting quasi-random variation in the global patterns of U.S. military aid, our paper is the first to provide causal estimates of the effect of U.S. military aid on anti-American terrorism. We find that higher levels of military aid led to an increased likelihood of the recipient country to produce anti-American terrorism. For our preferred instrumental-variable specification, doubling U.S. military aid increases the risk of anti-American terrorism by 4.4 percentage points. Examining potential transmission channels, we find that more U.S. military aid leads to more corruption and exclusionary policies in recipient countries. Consistent with a theoretical argument developed in this paper, these results indicate that the inflow of military aid induces rent-seeking behavior, which in turn encourages terrorism by groups that suffer from reduced economic and political participation as a consequence of rent-seeking. These groups direct their dissatisfaction against the United States as the perceived linchpin of an unfavorable status quo in the recipient country.
    Keywords: U.S. military aid, anti-American terrorism, transnational terrorism, instrumental variable estimation
    JEL: D74 F35
    Date: 2020
  8. By: Guillermina Marto; Leandro Nallar
    Abstract: After the restoration of democracy in Argentina, invalid votes equivalent to the sum of null and blank votes, far from representing insignificant issues, were able to powerfully twist the result of the winner in several governor elections. We estimate a Panel Corrected Standard Errors for 22 Argentine provinces between 1983-2007 for null and blank votes. My main motivation is to find the di↵erent incidences of three sets of variables: economic, social and political for each kind of invalid votes. The unemployment rate, crime rate, and reelection are the key variables in the model, but measures for education, electoral competition, and economic framework are included. Most of the variables present opposite e↵ects on null and blank votes. While the relation of unemployment and crime rate with null votes follows a withdrawal e↵ect, blank votes are related to these variables consistent with a mobilization e↵ect. However, when the crime rate has interacted with reelection the patterns of crime seem to be reversed, but unemployment maintains the sign.
    Keywords: Null Votes, Blank Votes, Elections, Argentine Provinces
    JEL: D72 P16
    Date: 2019–11
  9. By: Massimo Pulejo; Pablo Querubín
    Abstract: The outbreak of COVID-19 has called for swift action by governments, often involving the adoption of restrictive measures such as lockdowns. In this context, leaders have faced a trade-off between imposing stringent measures to limit the contagion, and minimizing the costs on their national economy, which could impact their electoral prospects. Leveraging on both the timing of elections and the constitutional term limits faced by leaders, we document how incumbents who can run for re-election implement less stringent restrictions when the election is closer in time. The effect is driven by measures more likely to have a negative economic impact. This shows how electoral concerns help explain the observed differences in the response to COVID-19 across different countries.
    JEL: D72 I18
    Date: 2020–07
  10. By: Okoroji, Celestin; Gleibs, Ilka H.; Jovchelovitch, Sandra
    Abstract: This paper uses a multi-methods approach to explore the social psychological construction of stigma towards the unemployed. Study 1a uses thematic analysis to explore frames used by political elites in speeches at U.K. national party conferences between 1996 and 2016 (n = 43); in study 1b, we track the usage of these frames in six national newspapers (n = 167,723 articles) over the same period showing an increase in the use of negative frames. Study 1c shows that these are associated with national attitudes towards welfare recipients using the British Social Attitude Survey. We find the ‘Othering’ frame is correlated with negative attitudes towards the unemployed, even when controlling for the unemployment rate. This finding supports the claim that social attitudes are related to frames produced in the political and media spheres. We provide theoretical integration between social representations theory and framing which affords development in both domains.
    Keywords: Attitudes; Framing; Social Representations; Stigmatization; Unemployment
    JEL: R14 J01
    Date: 2020–07–23
  11. By: Gregory de Angelo (Claremont Graduate University [Claremont, CA ]); Dimitri Dubois (CEE-M - Centre d'Economie de l'Environnement - Montpellier - FRE2010 - UM - Université de Montpellier - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Rustam Romaniuc (LEM - Lille économie management - LEM - UMR 9221 - UCL - Université catholique de Lille - Université de Lille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: In this work we examine a common social dilemma in experimental economics, the public goods game, to determine how voting impacts pro-social behavior. As noted in Markussen et al. (2014), a democratic dividend exists. Couching the public goods game in a phenomenon that is playing out in much of the world – drastic income inequality – we examine the decision of groups to share local public goods with groups that have, effectively, no endowment to contribute toward public nor private consumption. Our results show the perils of democracy in that subjects in the position to vote use their advantageous situation to reward the ingroups at the expense of the less endowed outgroup members.
    Date: 2020

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