nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2020‒09‒14
seven papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Voting and Political Participation in the Aftermath of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic By Mansour, Hani; Rees, Daniel I.; Reeves, James
  2. Retelling the Story of the 2017 French Presidential Election: The contribution of Approval Voting By Antoinette Baujard; Isabelle Lebon
  3. Enfranchisement, Political Participation and Political Competition: Evidence from Colonial India By Cassan, Guilhem; Iyer, Lakshmi; Mirza, Rinchan Ali
  4. Economic Deprivation and Radical Voting: Evidence from Germany By Florian Dorn; Clemens Fuest; Lea Immel; Florian Neumeier
  5. Some regrettable grading scale effects under different versions of evaluative voting By Antoinette Baujard; Herrade Igersheim; Isabelle Lebon
  6. How do individual politicians affect privatization? Evidence from China By Ru, Hong; Zou, Kunru
  7. Globalization, Time-Preferences, and Populist Voting By Thomas Aronsson; Clemens Hetschko; Ronnie Schöb

  1. By: Mansour, Hani (University of Colorado Denver); Rees, Daniel I. (University of Colorado Denver); Reeves, James (University of Michigan)
    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: 2020–07
  2. By: Antoinette Baujard (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - Université de Lyon - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Isabelle Lebon (CREM - Centre de recherche en économie et management - UNICAEN - Université de Caen Normandie - NU - Normandie Université - UR1 - Université de Rennes 1 - UNIV-RENNES - Université de Rennes - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: This paper proposes an alternative reading of the politics of the 2017 French presidential election, using an unstudied source of information on voters' preferences: experimental data on approval voting. We provide a new narrative of the election process and outcome. The principal approach for understanding the political context has for many decades been a distinction between left and right-wing political forces. We introduce a method for generating an endogenous political axis, and construct three indices so that we might understand how and why the conventional approach has become progressively irrelevant. We find no gender effect, but instead an age effect. Voters, especially those who belong to generations at the beginning or the end of their working life, use their vote in national elections to support radical change; and the younger the voters, the less they conform to a left-right axis. However, this desire for change does not represent a rejection of existing parties, as the official results would suggest. Rather, the approval results suggest an erosion in the voters' minds of barriers between distinct political camps, and between traditional and populist parties.
    Keywords: French Presidential election,Left-Right axis,Cultural Backlash,Political space,Approval voting,voting experiment
    Date: 2020–09–01
  3. By: Cassan, Guilhem (University of Namur); Iyer, Lakshmi (University of Notre Dame); Mirza, Rinchan Ali (University of Kent)
    Abstract: We examine how political participation and political competition are shaped by two class-based extensions of the franchise in 20th-century India. Creating a new dataset of district level political outcomes between 1921 and 1957, we find that the partial franchise extension of 1935 resulted in significantly lower incumbency advantage, while the institution of universal adult suffrage in 1950 resulted in increased candidacy. Both these franchise extensions resulted in decreased voter turnout rates, suggesting that newly enfranchised voters are less engaged in the political process.
    Keywords: democratization, colonial rule, India, franchise extension, political participation, political competition
    JEL: D72 N45 P16
    Date: 2020–07
  4. By: Florian Dorn; Clemens Fuest; Lea Immel; Florian Neumeier
    Abstract: This paper studies the impact of economic deprivation on radical voting. Using a unique dataset covering different indicators of economic deprivation as well as federal election outcomes at the county-level in Germany for the period from 1998 to 2017, we examine whether economic deprivation affects the share of votes for radical right and left-wing parties using instrumental variable estimation. Our results suggest that an increase in economic deprivation has a sizeable effect on the support for radical parties at both ends of the political spectrum. The higher a county’s rate of relative poverty, the average shortfall from the national median income, and the poverty line, the higher the vote share of radical right-wing and left-wing parties. We also provide evidence that regional variation in economic deprivation gave rise to the electoral success of the populist right-wing party AfD in the federal election of 2017. Our findings thus indicate that a rise in economic deprivation may undermine moderate political forces and be a threat to political stability.
    Keywords: Economic deprivation, inequality, political polarization, radical voting, Germany
    JEL: I32 D31 D73
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Antoinette Baujard (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - Université de Lyon - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Herrade Igersheim (BETA - Bureau d'Économie Théorique et Appliquée - UL - Université de Lorraine - UNISTRA - Université de Strasbourg - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Isabelle Lebon (CREM - Centre de recherche en économie et management - UNICAEN - Université de Caen Normandie - NU - Normandie Université - UR1 - Université de Rennes 1 - UNIV-RENNES - Université de Rennes - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: Many voters seem to appreciate the greater freedom of expression afforded by alternative voting rules; in evaluative voting, for example, longer grading scales and/or negative grades seem desirable in so far as, all other things being equal, they allow greater expressivity. The paper studies to what extent the behavior of voters, and the outcomes of elections, are sensitive to the grading scale employed in evaluative (or "range") voting. To this end, we use voting data from an experiment conducted in parallel with the 2017 French presidential election, which aimed to scrutinize the negative grade effect and the length effect in grading scales. First, this paper confirms that the introduction of a negative grade disfavors "polarizing" candidates, those whose political discourse provokes divisive debate, but more generally we establish that it disfavors major candidates and favors minor candidates. Second, under non-negative scales, polarizing candidates may be relatively disfavored by longer scales, especially compared with candidates who attract only infrequent media coverage and who are little known among voters. Third, longer scales assign different weights to the votes of otherwise equal voters, depending on their propensity to vote strategically. Overall, we observe that the benefits of the expressivity provided by longer scales or negative grades need to be balanced against the controversial advantage these give to minor candidates, and their tendency to undermine the principle that each vote should count equally in the outcome of the election.
    Keywords: In Situ Experiment,Voting Scale Design,Evaluative Voting,Approval Voting,Behavioral Bias
    Date: 2020–09–01
  6. By: Ru, Hong; Zou, Kunru
    Abstract: This paper investigates how politicians’ patronage connections affect privatizations in China. The connections to top political leaders (i.e., Central Committee of the Communist Party of China) make local politicians engage more in rent-seeking by selling state-owned enterprises (SOEs) at substantial discounts. These connected local politicians are also more protected in anti-corruption investigations, thus extracting more rents by selling SOE assets at substantial discounts. Consequently, the privatizations conducted by the local politicians with patronage connections achieve significantly lower gains in efficiency and performance. To identify the role of patronage connection in privatization, we use the mandatory retirement age cut-offs of Central Committee members in the regression discontinuity design. We find drops in price discounts of privatization deals and jumps in efficiency for privatized SOEs when local politicians lose connections to Central Committee members around the retirement age cut-offs.
    JEL: D73 G30 L3
    Date: 2020–09–01
  7. By: Thomas Aronsson; Clemens Hetschko; Ronnie Schöb
    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 anti-globalist 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

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