nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2021‒07‒12
thirteen papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Rewarding Conservative Politicians? Evidence from Voting on Same-Sex Marriage By Björn Kauder; Niklas Potrafke
  2. To Swing or Not to Swing: An Assessment of Age and Political Cynicism of Swing Voting By Damon Proulx; David A. Savage; David Stadelmann; Benno Torgler
  3. Partisan Alignment and Political Corruption: Evidence from a New Democracy By Alexander Stoecker
  4. Punishing Mayors Who Fail the Test: How do Voters Respond to Information on Educational Outcomes? By Loreto Cox; Sylvia Eyzaguirre; Francisco Gallego; Maximiliano García
  5. Deeds or words? The local influence of anti-immigrant parties on foreigners’ flows in Italy By Cerqua, Augusto; Zampollo, Federico
  6. Optimal Voting Mechanisms on Generalized Single-Peaked Domains By Tobias Rachidi
  7. A systems framework for remedying dysfunction in U.S. democracy By Samuel S. -H. Wang; Jonathan Cervas; Bernard Grofman; Keena Lipsitz
  8. Measuring Violations of Positive Involvement in Voting By Wesley H. Holliday; Eric Pacuit
  9. Embracing political economy to enhance policy influence: Lessons from PIM research By Resnick, Danielle
  10. Run, graduate, run: Internationally mobile students' reactions to changing political landscapes in Europe By Weisser, Reinhard A.
  11. Political Power and Market Power By Bo Cowgill; Andrea Prat; Tommaso Valletti
  12. The Political Economy of Immigration, Investment, and Naturalization By Atisha Ghosh; Ben Zissimos
  13. Persistent political engagement: social interactions and the dynamics of protest movements By Bursztyn, Leonardo; Cantoni, Davide; Yang, David Y.; Yuchtman, Noam; Zhang, Y. Jane

  1. By: Björn Kauder; Niklas Potrafke
    Abstract: We examine whether voters rewarded conservative politicians who were voting in favor of same-sex marriage. Data is based on a roll-call vote in the German national parliament (Bundestag) in June 2017. This roll-call vote drastically influenced the public discourse about the social political platform of the conservative party. National elections took place in September 2017. The results show that the vote share of conservative politicians who voted in favor of same-sex marriage was around 1.29 percentage points (around 0.33 standard deviations of the change in the first vote share) higher than the vote share of conservative politicians who did not vote in favor of same-sex marriage. Voters were seeking for outcomes other than economic outcomes to evaluate politicians’ performance in office.
    Keywords: Rewarding and punishing politicians;, conservative politicians;, roll-call votes;, same-sex marriage;, economic voting
    JEL: D72 D78 P16
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Damon Proulx; David A. Savage; David Stadelmann; Benno Torgler
    Abstract: The empirical question of voting preferences and how these may change (swing) is yet to be answered, as there is little first-hand microeconomic evidence on swing voting. We focus on the interactions between voters’ age and political cynicism. Towards this end, we apply a stated and revealed preference framework to assess swing voting, using data from the Dutch Parliamentary Election Survey (DPES) 1989 to 2010. Our results indicate that swing voting is less likely to occur in older age groups and more likely among individuals with higher levels of political cynicism. The age effects tend to be stronger among those with lower political cynicism values.
    Keywords: swing voting; age; cynicism; elections
    JEL: D72 D79
    Date: 2021–07
  3. By: Alexander Stoecker
    Keywords: corruption, political alignment, local public finance, intergovernmental transfers, political career concerns, Africa
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Loreto Cox; Sylvia Eyzaguirre; Francisco Gallego; Maximiliano García
    Abstract: This paper explores the role of providing information on the educational outcomes of municipal schools to voters on their electoral behavior in elections in which the incumbent mayor is running for reelection in Chile. We designed and implemented a randomized experiment whereby we sent 128,033 letters to voters with: (i) information on past test scores for local public schools (levels and changes), and (ii) different yardsticks, specifically the average and maximum test scores for comparable municipalities. We find that providing information of the relative performance affects turnout, which translates almost one-to-one into votes for the incumbent mayor, and produces spillovers on the election of local councilors. Results are concentrated in polling stations where most voters had already participated in previous elections. They are especially strong when educational results are bad and in stations that had stronger support for the incumbent mayor in the previous election, reducing turnout and thus votes for the incumbent.
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Cerqua, Augusto; Zampollo, Federico
    Abstract: We investigate the influence of anti-immigrant parties on foreigners' location choices in Italy. Considering municipal elections from 2000 to 2018, we create a database that includes a scientific-based classification on the anti-/pro-immigration axis of all Italian political parties based on experts' opinions. Via the adoption of a regression discontinuity design, we find that the election of a mayor supported by an anti-immigrant coalition significantly affect immigrants' location choices only when considering the most recent years. This finding does not appear to be driven by the enactment of policies against immigrants but by an 'inhospitality effect', which got stronger over time due to the exacerbation of political propaganda at the national and local level.
    Keywords: immigration,political parties,regression discontinuity design
    JEL: D72 J61 C13
    Date: 2021
  6. By: Tobias Rachidi
    Abstract: This paper studies the design of voting mechanisms in a setting with more than two alternatives and voters who have generalized single-peaked preferences derived from median spaces as introduced in [Nehring and Puppe, 2007b]. This class of preferences is considerably larger than the well-known class of preferences that are single-peaked on a line. I characterize the voting rules that maximize the ex-ante utilitarian welfare among all social choice functions satisfying strategy-proofness, anonymity, and surjectivity. The optimal mechanism takes the form of voting by properties, that is, the social choice is determined through a collection of binary votes on subsets of alternatives involving qualified majority requirements that reflect the characteristics of these subsets of alternatives. This general optimality result is applied to the design of voting mechanisms for the provision of two costly public goods subject to the constraint that the provided level of one good is weakly higher than the provided level of the other good.
    Keywords: Voting; Generalized Single-Peaked Preferences; Mechanism Design
    JEL: D71 D72 D82
    Date: 2021–06
  7. By: Samuel S. -H. Wang; Jonathan Cervas; Bernard Grofman; Keena Lipsitz
    Abstract: Democracy often fails to meet its ideals, and these failures may be made worse by electoral institutions. Unwanted outcomes include polarized institutions, unresponsive representatives, and the ability of a faction of voters to gain power at the expense of the majority. Various reforms have been proposed to address these problems, but their effectiveness is difficult to predict against a backdrop of complex interactions. Here we outline a path for systems-level modeling to help understand and optimize repairs to U.S. democracy. Following the tradition of engineering and biology, models of systems include mechanisms with dynamical properties that include nonlinearities and amplification (voting rules), positive feedback mechanisms (single-party control, gerrymandering), negative feedback (checks and balances), integration over time (lifetime judicial appointments), and low dimensionality (polarization). To illustrate a systems-level approach we analyze three emergent phenomena: low dimensionality, elite polarization, and anti-majoritarianism in legislatures. In each case, long-standing rules now contribute to undesirable outcomes as a consequence of changes in the political environment. Theoretical understanding at a general level will also help evaluate whether a proposed reform's benefits will materialize and be lasting, especially as conditions change again. In this way, rigorous modeling may not only shape new lines of research, but aid in the design of effective and lasting reform.
    Date: 2021–06
  8. By: Wesley H. Holliday (University of California, Berkeley); Eric Pacuit (University of Maryland)
    Abstract: In the context of computational social choice, we study voting methods that assign a set of winners to each profile of voter preferences. A voting method satisfies the property of positive involvement (PI) if for any election in which a candidate x would be among the winners, adding another voter to the election who ranks x first does not cause x to lose. Surprisingly, a number of standard voting methods violate this natural property. In this paper, we investigate different ways of measuring the extent to which a voting method violates PI, using computer simulations. We consider the probability (under different probability models for preferences) of PI violations in randomly drawn profiles vs. profile-coalition pairs (involving coalitions of different sizes). We argue that in order to choose between a voting method that satisfies PI and one that does not, we should consider the probability of PI violation conditional on the voting methods choosing different winners. We should also relativize the probability of PI violation to what we call voter potency, the probability that a voter causes a candidate to lose. Although absolute frequencies of PI violations may be low, after this conditioning and relativization, we see that under certain voting methods that violate PI, much of a voter's potency is turned against them - in particular, against their desire to see their favorite candidate elected.
    Date: 2021–06
  9. By: Resnick, Danielle
    Abstract: An overarching goal of the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) has been to influence policy outcomes in ways that lead to agricultural transformation and economic inclusion. The technical quality of this research is well recognized (CAS Secretariat 2020). Yet, high-quality, rigorous research is not sufficient to achieve policy influence in any domain. Other factors may shape policy uptake — for instance, elections may alter policy priorities, ideological biases may hinder the acceptance of research findings, and vested interest groups may lobby against data-driven or evidence-informed recommendations. A political economy perspective allows for a more holistic and realistic understanding of how policies are determined by governments and which pathways are more viable for achieving development outcomes through policy change.
    Keywords: WORLD; political systems; economic systems; research; policies; agrifood systems; political economy
    Date: 2021
  10. By: Weisser, Reinhard A.
    Abstract: Over the last decades, Europe attracted an increasing number of internationally mobile students. The related influx of talent into European labour markets constituted an important factor to the knowledge economy. This research addresses the question whether changing political landscapes in Europe, e.g. an increasing scepticism concerning migrants or support for right-wing parties, translated into a diminishing attractiveness of European economies. To this end, international graduates' staying behaviour in 28 European destination countries is investigated based on bilateral stay rates for almost 150 countries of origin in the years 2009 to 2019. Controlling for various immigration regimes and institutional settings, international graduates are found to display a high level of sensitivity with respect to political dynamics: A distinct dominance of the right political spectrum may lower the number of international graduates willing to stay by up to 50%. The effect is particularly strong in election years when voters' political preferences become more salient. Eventually, this amounts to a considerable loss for European economies since international graduates have acquired destination country specific human capital and are easily integrated into host societies.
    Keywords: migration policies,graduate mobility,labour market integration,political preferences
    JEL: J61 D91 F22 I23
    Date: 2021
  11. By: Bo Cowgill; Andrea Prat; Tommaso Valletti
    Abstract: We study the link between lobbying and industrial concentration. Using data for the past 20 years in the US, we show how lobbying increases when an industry becomes more concentrated, using mergers as shocks to concentration. This holds true both for expenditures on federal lobbying as well as expenditures on campaign contributions. Results are in line with the predictions of a model where lobbying is akin to a public good for incumbents, and thus typically underprovided, while a merger solves the coordination problem.
    Date: 2021–06
  12. By: Atisha Ghosh (Department of Economics, University of Warwick); Ben Zissimos (Department of Economics, University of Exeter)
    Abstract: This paper provides the first economics-based rationale for the purpose of naturalization. It presents a new political-economy model of immigration featuring a hold-up problem between the government and capital owners over immigration policy, that causes under-investment in capital. Naturalization plays the role of an institution that the government can use to ‘tie its hands’ to the presence of naturalized immigrants, partially resolving the hold-up problem. The model is used to explain the Koopmans-Michalowski paradox: that while dictatorships are more open in terms of policies towards immigrants, democracies are more open in terms of extending immigration rights through naturalization.
    Keywords: hold-up problem, immigration policy, institution, migration, naturalization
    JEL: D02 F22 J61 O43 P16
    Date: 2021–06–02
  13. By: Bursztyn, Leonardo; Cantoni, Davide; Yang, David Y.; Yuchtman, Noam; Zhang, Y. Jane
    Abstract: We study the causes of sustained participation in political movements. To identify the persistent effect of protest participation, we randomly indirectly incentivize Hong Kong university students into participation in an antiauthoritarian protest. To identify the role of social networks, we randomize this treatment’s intensity across major-cohort cells. We find that incentives to attend one protest within a political movement increase subsequent protest attendance but only when a sufficient fraction of an individual’s social network is also incentivized to attend the initial protest. One-time mobilization shocks have dynamic consequences, with mobilization at the social network level important for sustained political engagement.
    Keywords: political movements; social interactions; grant agreement 716837
    JEL: D72 D74 I23 Z13
    Date: 2021–06–01

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