nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2021‒04‒19
fourteen papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Incumbents beware: the impact of offshoring on elections By Rickard, Stephanie
  2. Out of Communal Land: Clientelism through Delegation of Agricultural Tenancy Contracts By Kurosaki, Takashi; Paul, Saumik; Witoelar, Firman
  4. Populism Amidst Prosperity: Dimensionality, party competition and voter preference in the era of populism: The case of England, 2010-2017 By Do Won Kim
  5. Electoral earthquake: natural disasters and the geography of discontent By Augusto Cerqua; Chiara Ferrante; Marco Letta
  6. Indecent Disclosures: Anti-Corruption Reforms and Political Selection By David Szakonyi
  7. Syrian Refugees, Public Attitudes, Policy Areas and Political Parties in Turkey: A Systematic Analysis of Twitter Data By Osman Zeki Gökçe; Emre Hatipoglu
  8. Political Polarization and Expected Economic Outcomes By Coibion, Olivier; Gorodnichenko, Yuriy; Weber, Michael
  9. Framing of Economic News and Policy Support During a Pandemic: Evidence from an Information Experiment By Patrick Bareinz; Fabian Koenings
  10. Echo Chambers: Voter-to-Voter Communication and Political Competition By Monica Anna Giovanniello
  11. Populism Amidst Prosperity:The urban-rural polarisation of political disenchantment: An investigation of social and political attitudes in 30 European countries By Michael Kenny; Davide Luca
  12. Curse of Democracy: Evidence from 2020 By Yusuke Narita; Ayumi Sudo
  13. Wind of Change? Experimental Survey Evidence on the COVID-19 Shock and Socio-Political Attitudes in Europe By Gianmarco Daniele; Andrea F.M. Martinangeli; Francesco Passarelli; Willem Sas; Lisa Windsteiger
  14. Democracy, Interest Groups and Compliance with the Kyoto Protocol - An Empirical Assessment By Sarah Al Doyaili-Wangler

  1. By: Rickard, Stephanie
    Abstract: How does globalization affect politics? One of the most controversial aspects of globalization is offshoring, when manufacturing operations and business functions move abroad. Although voters generally dislike offshoring, it remains unclear how moving jobs abroad impacts democratic elections. Using a difference-in-differences estimation strategy, the author finds that incumbent government parties lose more votes in municipalities where a local plant moved production abroad between elections than in municipalities that did not experience such an event. The result holds across various time periods, different incumbent parties and diverse types of elections. In both national and regional elections, voters punish incumbent government parties when a local firm moves production abroad. Incumbent parties' vote shares fall as the number of jobs lost due to offshoring increases. In multiparty governments, voters disproportionately punish the largest coalition party for offshoring. The results of an original survey administered in Spain verify the importance of offshoring for voters' retrospective evaluations of incumbents.
    Keywords: globalization; offshoring; voting; coalition government; incumbents; economic vote; regional government; elections
    JEL: R14 J01
    Date: 2021–03–05
  2. By: Kurosaki, Takashi (Hitotsubashi University); Paul, Saumik (Newcastle University); Witoelar, Firman (Australian National University)
    Abstract: Do local institutions influence the nature of political clientelist exchange? We find a positive answer in the context of a village institution prevalent in Java since the Dutch colonial rule, where democratically elected village heads receive usufruct rights over a piece of communal village land (bengkok land) as a compensation for their service in lieu of salary. To formulate how limited-term private ownership of bengkok land promotes clientelism, we model a timely delegation of agricultural tenancy contracts to villagers-cum-voters as an incumbent re-election strategy. Based on a household survey fielded in 2018 across 130 villages in Java, Indonesia, we find that the chances of a bengkok plot being rented out increase by 6 percentage points as the time of the next election becomes closer by one year, and sharecropping is preferred to a fixed-rental contract as the election approaches. The empirical results are statistically significant and remain largely unchanged against a series of robustness checks. We also find suggestive evidence of short-term efficiency loss from clientelist politics over bengkok land.
    Keywords: tanah bengkok, political budget cycle, clientelism, agricultural tenancy, electoral competition, Indonesia
    JEL: D72 H77 H83 O17 O18
    Date: 2021–04
  3. By: Patrick Sawyer (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: Populist studies are increasingly interested in the effects that populism has on political systems of contemporary democracies. This article analyzes the relationship between populist parties and politicians and the intensity of political protest. Arguing that populists generate feelings of anger and outrage at the establishment politicians, develop close relationships with social movements, and instigate further polarization and resistance from the opposition, the existence of populist actors in a political system is expected to generate more political protests. Empirical testing using cross-national figures considers the case of both the prevalence of populist parties in European countries and the existence of a populist politician as the head of government in European, Latin American, and North American countries. The results testify to strong positive correlations in both cases demonstrating the potential that populism has for socio-political destabilization. However, when tests are performed in order to observe whether this relationship holds within different geographical and temporal spaces, strong negative relationships are shown with populists prior to the year 2000 and positive ones afterwards. Finally, once the ideological disposition of the populist leaders is accounted for, the results testify to a diverging pattern; whereas the populist radical right and radical left are strongly associated with increasing protests after the year 2000, in the decade prior, centrist or neoliberal populism demonstrated a significantly negative correlation with protest intensity. This is especially true of the populist radical right that tends to rise alongside mobilizations for autocracy as well as provoke mass mobilizations for democracy among the opposition.
    Keywords: Populism, political protests, social movements, consequences of populism, radical right, radical left, neoliberal populism, riots, anti-government demonstrations, mass mobilization
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Do Won Kim
    Abstract: This study examines how the UK political space, party competition and voting behaviour have changed with the recent rise of populism. First, this paper identifies the changes in UK dimensionality by conducting factor analyses on British Election Study data. Then, it maps parties and their supporters on the identified space to explore the changes in party competition and voter-party congruence. Finally, this study runs an OLS regression to analyse to what extent voter-party congruence influences voter’s party preference. This study finds that UK political space has become multidimensional as issues related to populism have become salient enough to form an independent dimension. After Brexit, however, the main contents of this new dimension have changed from EU-related immigration issues to Brexit negotiation. Meanwhile, party competition and voter preferences have revolved around and placed more emphasis on the salient dimension.
    Keywords: Multidimensionality, populism, voter-party congruence
    Date: 2020–10
  5. By: Augusto Cerqua (Sapienza Università di Roma); Chiara Ferrante (Sapienza Università di Roma); Marco Letta (Sapienza Università di Roma)
    Abstract: The recent literature on the determinants of populism has highlighted the role of long-term trends of progressive isolation and prolonged economic stagnation in engendering discontent and, in turn, demand for political change. We investigate, instead, the potential of unanticipated local shocks in shaping the ‘geography of discontent’. Using comprehensive data at a fine spatial scale and a comparative natural experiment approach, we document that the occurrence of two destructive earthquakes in Italy resulted in sharply diverging electoral outcomes: while the 2012 Emilia quake did not alter voting behaviour, the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake paved the way for an impressive and persistent surge in right-wing populism in the most affected areas. Such heterogeneous patterns mainly originate from a stark contrast in post-disaster reconstruction processes and shifts in institutional trust. Our findings are consistent with the idea that not only “places that don’t matter†, but also “places that don’t recover†, can become populist hotbeds.
    Keywords: elections, populism, discontent, natural disasters, earthquakes
    JEL: D72 H12 Q54
    Date: 2021–03
  6. By: David Szakonyi (George Washington University)
    Abstract: Cracking down on corruption has become a key tool for politicians to build popular support. But little is known about whether anti-corruption measures actually change political behavior. This paper evaluates the effects of a common reform -- financial disclosures -- using data on 25,724 elections in Putin-era Russia. I argue that financial disclosures function like a personal audit, generating information for journalists and prosecutors to investigate illicit gains earned inside and outside of government. Exploiting staggered elections, I find that the passage of a disclosures requirement led to roughly 25% fewer incumbents seeking re-election and 10% fewer candidates with suspicious financial histories. Greater media freedom and law enforcement capacity further increase the risk of corruption and tax evasion being exposed, resulting in even fewer candidacies from those criminally exposed. Increasing transparency changes the incentives for serving in elected office, even in settings where other political motives may be at play.
    Keywords: corruption; anti-corruption; Russia; reforms; elections
    JEL: D7 H40 D73
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Osman Zeki Gökçe (Istanbul Medipol University); Emre Hatipoglu (KAPSAR King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, Riyadh)
    Abstract: The Syrian refugee problem has become an important topic in Turkish politics. Although public opinion has played an important role in shaping policies towards Syrian refugees, our knowledge of how these attitudes are formed is scant. Taking a four-month snapshot of Turkish tweets on Syrian refugees and utilizing a novel clustering technique allowing hand-coding of their content feasible, this study assessed the relative salience of issues raised relating to refugees and tested users assign culpability to Turkish political parties regarding these issues. Findings confirm the salience of security issues and suggest that attitudes towards Syrian refugees are highly politicized
    Date: 2021–04–20
  8. By: Coibion, Olivier; Gorodnichenko, Yuriy; Weber, Michael
    Keywords: Elections, political views, COVID-19, expectations, randomized controlled trial, Bayesian learning
    Date: 2020–10–27
  9. By: Patrick Bareinz (Friedrich Schiller University Jena, School of Economics); Fabian Koenings (Friedrich Schiller University Jena, School of Economics)
    Abstract: We investigate the effect of how news outlets communicate macroeconomic information to consumers on support for governmental policy in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. In our survey experiment based on a representative sample of 3000 individuals in Germany, respondents are exposed to an expert forecast of GDP growth. Individuals are randomly assigned to either receive no information, the baseline forecast information, or real-world frames of the same information used in newspaper articles on the topic. We find that in contrast to the baseline information, positive framing of forecasted economic growth by news outlets increases support for pandemic policy. This effect is especially pronounced for respondents with more pessimistic macroeconomic expectations. Further evidence suggests that negative economic news are perceived as more credible and hence less surprising in times of recession, not translating into a change in political opinion.
    Keywords: expectation formation, information experiment, media framing, macroeconomic information, policy support, COVID-19 crisis
    JEL: C90 D83 D84 D91
    Date: 2021–03–28
  10. By: Monica Anna Giovanniello
    Abstract: I study how strategic communication among voters shapes both political outcomes and parties' advertising strategies in a model of informative campaign advertising. Two main results are derived. First, echo chambers arise endogenously. Surprisingly, a small ideological distance between voters is not sufficient to guarantee that a chamber is created, bias direction plays a crucial role. Second, when voters' network entails a significant waste of information, parties tailor their advertising to the opponent's supporters rather than to their own.
    Date: 2021–04
  11. By: Michael Kenny; Davide Luca
    Abstract: Despite the prevalent focus upon increasing political divisions between urban and rural Europe, relatively little research has explored whether there is a systemic urban-rural divide in the political and socioeconomic attitudes of citizens across the entire continent. This paper aims to fill this gap. Drawing on individual-level data from the European Social Survey, it explores potential linkages between place of residence and individual attitudes. Our results show that there are strong, and statistically significant, differences between the populations in these different settings. On average, rural dwellers show stronger levels of dissatisfaction with democracy and lower trust in the political system. Yet, while we uncover stark differences in attitudes towards migration and globalisation, we do not find significant variation on some social and economic issues traditionally at the core of left-right cleavages. And our analysis suggests that this spatial divide does not operate in a binary fashion. It is more of a continuum, running on a gradient from inner cities to metropolitan suburbs, towns, and the countryside. The differences are explained by both composition and contextual effects, and underscore the importance of moving beyond ‘standard’ trade-offs between so-called ‘people-based’ versus ‘place-based’ policy approaches to territorial inequality.
    Keywords: urban-rural divide; regional inequality; geography of discontent; Europe
    Date: 2020–11
  12. By: Yusuke Narita; Ayumi Sudo
    Abstract: Countries with more democratic political regimes experienced greater GDP loss and more deaths from Covid-19 in 2020. Using five different instrumental variable strategies, we find that democracy is a major cause of the wealth and health losses. This impact is global and is not driven by China and the US alone. A key channel for democracy's negative impact is weaker and narrower containment policies at the beginning of the outbreak, \textit{not} the speed of introducing policies.
    Date: 2021–04
  13. By: Gianmarco Daniele; Andrea F.M. Martinangeli; Francesco Passarelli; Willem Sas; Lisa Windsteiger
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether the COVID-19 crisis has affected the way we vote and think about politics, as well as our broader attitudes and underlying value systems. We ï¬ elded large online survey experiments in Italy, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands, well into the ï¬ rst wave of the epidemic (May-June), and included outcome questions on trust, voting intentions, policies & taxation, and identity & values. With a randomised survey flow we vary whether respondents are given COVID-19 priming questions ï¬ rst, before answering the outcome questions. With this treatment design we can also disentangle the health and economic effects of the crisis, as well as a potential “rally around the flag†component. We ï¬ nd that the crisis has brought about severe drops in interpersonal and institutional trust, as well as lower support for the EU and social welfare spending ï¬ nanced by taxes. This is largely due to economic anxiety rather than health concerns. A rallying effect around (scientiï¬ c) expertise combined with populist policies losing ground forms the other side of this coin, and hints at a rising demand for competent leadership.
    Keywords: COVID-19, Social Trust, Institutional Trust, Survey Experiment, European Union, Welfare, Health, Taxation, Accountability, Populism, Values
    JEL: D72 H51 H53 H55 O52 P52
    Date: 2020–08
  14. By: Sarah Al Doyaili-Wangler (Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany)
    Abstract: This paper seeks to give insights into how domestic voters form their preferences pro or contra compliance with IEAs and therefore how public concern for the environment and interest group activity influence national compliance behaviour. Three hypotheses are developed. First, compliance behaviour is positively influenced by a high concern for climate change and second, by a high number of ENGOs. Third, a strong prevalence of industry interests is assumed to be connected with lower compliance. A panel data analysis on compliance with the Kyoto Protocol by Annex B countries is applied in order to test these hypotheses. The empirical findings give evidence for the first and the third one.
    Keywords: Kyoto Protocol, interest groups, compliance, climate policy
    JEL: F53 H87 Q54
    Date: 2021–01–18

This nep-pol issue is ©2021 by Eugene Beaulieu. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.