nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2021‒08‒23
nine papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Attitudes Towards Globalization Barriers and Implications for Voting: Evidence from Sweden By Leyla D. Karakas; Nam Seok Kim; Devashish Mitra
  2. Partisan Fertility and Presidential Elections By Gordon Dahl; Runjing Lu; William Mullins
  3. The Brexit Referendum and Three Types of Regret By Drinkwater, Stephen; Jennings, Colin
  4. Gay Politics Goes Mainstream: Democrats, Republicans, and Same-Sex Relationships By Raquel Fernández; Sahar Parsa
  5. The Making of Social Democracy: The Economic and Electoral Consequences of Norway's 1936 Folk School Reform By Acemoglu, Daron; Pekkarinen, Tuomas; Salvanes, Kjell G.; Sarvimäki, Matti
  6. Voting like your betters: the bandwagon effect in the diet of the Holy Roman Empire By Volckart, Oliver
  7. Immigrants as future voters By Arye Hillman; Ngo Van Long
  8. Public Sector Entrepreneurship, Politics, and Innovation By Link, Albert; Gicheva, Dora
  9. Measuring Democracy - Eight indices: Polity, Freedom House and V-Dem By Martin Paldam

  1. By: Leyla D. Karakas; Nam Seok Kim; Devashish Mitra
    Abstract: Using six waves of the Swedish National Election Studies (SNES) survey data, we investigate the determinants of attitudes towards globalization barriers (trade and immigration) and how important these attitudes are in how people vote. In line with the existing results in the literature, we find that more educated and richer voters support freer trade and more immigration. We also find that conservative voters in Sweden are more likely to prefer freer trade but higher immigration barriers. Once various economic and demographic determinants of globalization barrier preferences along with voters’ ideologies on a liberal-conservative spectrum are controlled for in the analysis of voting behavior, trade barrier preferences lose their statistical significance while attitudes towards immigration barriers remain significant. This suggests that immigration attitudes affect voting behavior through channels involving identity-driven factors that are different from the channels through which more traditional electoral issues, such as trade barriers, work. Focusing on the anti-globalization Swedish Democrats, we confirm that voters with a greater preference for barriers to immigration were more likely to switch their votes to this party from the 2014 to the 2018 election.
    Keywords: globalization, trade, immigration, elections, voting, survey data, Sweden
    JEL: D72 F16 J61
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Gordon Dahl; Runjing Lu; William Mullins
    Abstract: Changes in political leadership drive large changes in economic optimism. We exploit the surprise 2016 election of Trump to identify the effects of a shift in political power on one of the most consequential household decisions: whether to have a child. Republican-leaning counties experience a sharp and persistent increase in fertility relative to Democratic counties: a 1.1 to 2.6 percentage point difference in annual births, depending on the intensity of partisanship. Hispanics, a group targeted by Trump, see fertility fall relative to non-Hispanics, especially compared to rural or evangelical whites. Further, following Trump pre-election campaign visits, relative Hispanic fertility declines.
    JEL: D72 J13
    Date: 2021–07
  3. By: Drinkwater, Stephen (University of Roehampton); Jennings, Colin (King's College London)
    Abstract: In this paper we examine three forms of regret in relation to the UK’s hugely significant referendum on EU membership that was held in June 2016. These are, (i) whether leave voters at the referendum subsequently regretted their choice (in the light of the result), (ii) whether non-voters regretted their decisions not to vote (remain) and (iii) whether individuals were more likely to indicate that it is everyone’s duty to vote following the referendum. We find evidence in favour of all three types of regret. In particular, leave voters and non-voters were significantly more likely to indicate that they would vote remain given their chance to do so again and there was a significant increase in the probability of an individual stating that it was everyone’s duty to vote in a general election in 2017 compared to 2015.
    Keywords: EU referendum, Brexit, voting, regret, non-voters
    JEL: D70 D72 F60
    Date: 2021–07
  4. By: Raquel Fernández; Sahar Parsa
    Abstract: Attitudes towards same-sex relationships in the US have changed radically over a relatively short period of time. After remaining fairly constant for over two decades, opinions became more favorable starting in 1992—a presidential election year in which the Democratic and Republican parties took opposing stands over the status of gay people in society. What roles did political parties and their leaders play in this process of cultural change? Using a variety of techniques including machine learning, we show that the partisan opinion gap emerged substantially prior to 1992—in the mid 1980s —and did not increase as a result of the political debates in 1992-'93. Furthermore, we identify people with a college-and-above education as the potential "leaders" of the process of partisan divergence.
    JEL: P16 Z1 Z13
    Date: 2021–07
  5. By: Acemoglu, Daron (MIT); Pekkarinen, Tuomas (VATT, Helsinki); Salvanes, Kjell G. (Norwegian School of Economics); Sarvimäki, Matti (Aalto University)
    Abstract: Upon assuming power for the first time in 1935, the Norwegian Labour Party delivered on its promise for a major schooling reform. The reform raised minimum instruction time in less developed rural areas and boosted the resources available to rural schools, reducing class size and increasing teacher salaries. We document that cohorts more intensively affected by the reform significantly increased their education and experienced higher labor income. Our main result is that the schooling reform also substantially increased support for the Norwegian Labour Party in subsequent elections. This additional support persisted for several decades and was pivotal in maintaining support for the social democratic coalition in Norway. These results are not driven by the direct impact of education and are not explained by higher turnout, or greater attention or resources from the Labour Party targeted towards the municipalities most affected by the reform. Rather, our evidence suggests that cohorts that benefited from the schooling reform, and their parents, rewarded the party for delivering a major reform that was beneficial to them.
    Keywords: education, human capital, schooling reform, labor, voting, social democracy
    JEL: P16 I28 J26
    Date: 2021–07
  6. By: Volckart, Oliver
    Abstract: Scholars agree that a core feature of the political style of the Holy Roman Empire was the focus on consensus, without which policies at the level of the Empire were impossible. The present article demonstrates that the consensus on which decisions of the imperial estates was based tended to be superficial and was often in danger of breaking down. This was because the diet’s open and sequential voting procedure allowed the bandwagon effect to distort outcomes. An analysis of the votes cast in the princes’ college of the diet of 1555 shows that low-status members of the college regularly imitated the decisions of high-status voters. Reforming the system would have required accepting that the members of the college were equals – an idea no one was prepared to countenance. Hence, superficial and transitory agreements remained a systematic feature of politics at the level of the Empire.
    Keywords: bandwagon effect; voting; early modern parliamentarism; Holy Roman Empire
    JEL: H11 N43
    Date: 2021–08
  7. By: Arye Hillman; Ngo Van Long
    Abstract: Immigration policies in western democracies have often been contrary to the policies predicted by the mainstream theory of international economics. In particular, political parties that, according to economic theory, should adopt policies beneficial for lower-income voter-constituencies, have not protected workers from labor-market competition or from a fiscal burden of financing welfare-dependent immigrants. We explain the contradiction by accounting for immigrants as future voters. We identify a political principal-agent problem based on ego-rents from political office. Our theory predicts voter defection from worker-supported political-establishment parties to new-entrant anti-immigration political candidates and parties. We give a hearing to alternative interpretations of the evidence. Les politiques d'immigration dans les démocraties occidentales ont souvent été contraires aux politiques prédites par la théorie dominante de l'économie internationale. En particulier, les partis politiques qui, selon la théorie économique, devraient adopter des politiques favorables aux électeurs à faible revenu, n'ont pas protégé les travailleurs de la concurrence sur le marché du travail ou du fardeau fiscal du financement des immigrés dépendants de l'aide sociale. Nous expliquons la contradiction en considérant les immigrés comme futurs électeurs. Nous identifions un problème politique principal-agent basé sur les rentes de l'ego des fonctions politiques. Notre théorie prédit la défection des électeurs des partis soutenus par les travailleurs vers les nouveaux candidats et partis politiques anti-immigration. Nous donnons une audience aux interprétations alternatives.
    Keywords: International migration,labor-market adjustment,immigrant welfare dependency,immigration amnesties,political entry barriers,multiculturalism,ethics of migration,exceptionalism, Migration internationale,ajustement du marché du travail,dépendance à l'aide sociale des immigrés,amnisties de l'immigration,barrières politiques à l'entrée,multiculturalisme,éthique de la migration,exceptionnalisme
    JEL: F22 F66 H53 P16
    Date: 2021–08–10
  8. By: Link, Albert (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics); Gicheva, Dora (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: We suggest that a political leader or a political administration can be described in terms of a public sector entrepreneurship framework. To illustrate, we define the actions of U.S. President Donald Trump’s Administration to refocus the emphasis of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an innovative public policy initiative. And, we explore empirically the social consequences of those actions in terms of changes in the number of STEM employees at the EPA and the number of attendant innovative scientific publications.
    Keywords: Public sector entrepreneurship; Environmental Protection Agency; Trump Administration; STEM employees; Scientific publications;
    JEL: H11 O38 Q51
    Date: 2021–08–11
  9. By: Martin Paldam (Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University)
    Abstract: The paper is an empirical study of eight democracy indices and income. The aggregation problem for these indices is large, and thus the gray zone of measurement uncertainty is wide. The indices have no natural scale. Even the top anchor of full democracy is treated differently. In addition, the indices are conceptually different, use different scales, etc. However, they are still highly correlated. Income and all eight indices have one and only one common factor, which is the Democratic Transition, except in the OPEC/MENA sample. Within-project indices are even more correlated. Thus, the details of the assessments used by each project are more important than the conceptual differences. A country-by-country comparison is made of Polity and the Polyarchy index after it is converted to the Polity scale. Many countries are treated differently by the indices. The difference between the two is an estimate of the measurement uncertainty for democracy indices. It is almost three Polity points.
    Keywords: Democracy indices, aggregation problem, democratic transition
    JEL: A12 K10 P51
    Date: 2021–08–09

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