nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2020‒09‒21
two papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Incomplete Political Contracts with Secret Ballots: Reciprocity as a Force to Enforce Sustainable Clientelistic Relationships By Kamei, Kenju
  2. Passing on the Baton: Positive Spillovers from the Olympics to Female Representation in US Politics By Lee, S-M.

  1. By: Kamei, Kenju
    Abstract: Clientelism is frequently observed in our societies. Various mechanisms that help sustain incomplete political contracts (e.g., monitoring and punishment) have been studied in the literature to date. However, do such contracts emerge in elections with secret ballots when the interactions are one-shot? How does repetition affect the evolution of incomplete political contracts? Using an incentivized experiment, this paper finds that even during one-shot interactions where monitoring is not possible, candidates form incomplete contracts through vote buying and promise-making. The candidates’ clientelistic behaviors are heterogeneous: some target swing voters, whereas others offer the most to loyal voters, or even opposition voters. These tactics distort voting behaviors as well as election outcomes. Repeated interactions significantly magnify candidates’ offers and deepen clientelistic relationships. These results underscore the possibility that clientelism evolves due to people’s strategic behaviors and interdependent preferences, without relying on alternative mechanisms.
    Keywords: experiment, cooperation, vote buying, election, clientelism
    JEL: C92 D72
    Date: 2020–06–09
  2. By: Lee, S-M.
    Abstract: Female representation in politics may be influenced by positive spillovers from the success of women in other professions. I exploit the timing of the Olympic games to isolate the spillover effect of female Olympic medallists on demand for female representation in US state elections a few months after the Olympics. I estimate that the female medals effect is around a 1 per cent increase in female candidate vote shares in the Olympian's state of birth. This is driven entirely by the 3.8 per cent increase for female Democrat candidates, exacerbating existing polarisation between parties. I do not find evidence of voters changing their attitudes about women in politics in response to female Olympic success, but find evidence consistent with female representation becoming a more important issue for Democrat voters. I estimate a 2.7 per cent decrease in female representation associated with the postponement of the 2020 Olympics.
    Keywords: Female Representation, Political Representation, Elections, Gender Inequality, Sport
    JEL: D72 D91 J16
    Date: 2020–09–03

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