nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2021‒09‒06
twelve papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Voter coercion and pro-poor redistribution in rural Mexico By Dragan Filipovich; Miguel Niño-Zarazúa; Alma Santillán Hernández
  2. Sovereign Spreads and the Political Leaning of Nations By Ionut Cotoc; Alok Johri; César Sosa-Padilla
  3. A time to throw stones, a time to reap: How long does it take for democratic transitions to improve institutional outcomes? By Pierre-Guillaume Méon; Khalid Sekkat
  4. The Workforce of Clientelism: The Case of Local Officials in the Party Machine By Shenoy, Ajay; Zimmermann, Laura V.
  5. Polarisation vs consensus-building: How US and German news media portray climate change as a feature of political identities By Tschötschel, Robin
  6. The political economy of social protection adoption By Niño-Zarazúa, Miguel; Santillán Hernández, Alma
  7. Sudan’s political marketplace in 2021: public and political finance, the Juba agreement and contests By Gallopin, Jean-Baptiste; Thomas, Eddie; Detzner, Sarah; De Waal, Alex
  8. An empirical analysis of the EAEU’s voting behavior in the UN General Assembly, 2000–2020 By Amanov, Shatlyk
  9. The Virus, Vaccination, and Voting By Jeffrey A. Frankel; Randy Kotti
  10. An Empirical Examination of Representational Equity in Consolidated Governments, 1965-2002 By Acuff, Christopher
  11. Frank Plumpton Ramsey and the Politics of Motherhood By Marouzi, Soroush
  12. Paolo Serafini: Mathematics to the Rescue of Democracy. What does Voting Mean and How can it be Improved? XIII, 135 pp., Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020. By Eric Kamwa

  1. By: Dragan Filipovich; Miguel Niño-Zarazúa; Alma Santillán Hernández
    Abstract: Voter coercion is a recurrent threat to pro-poor redistribution in young democracies. In this study we focus on Mexico's paradigmatic Progresa-Oportunidades-Prospera (POP) programme. We investigate whether local mayors exploited POP to coerce voters, and if so, what effect these actions had on the municipal incumbent's vote.
    Keywords: Voting, Clientelism, Conditional cash transfers, Rural poverty, Mexico
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Ionut Cotoc; Alok Johri; César Sosa-Padilla
    Abstract: Using data from 56 nations over 45 years, we find that nations that are more likely to elect left wing governments face higher (and more volatile) sovereign spreads. To explain these facts, we build a sovereign default model in which two policymakers (left and right) alternate in power. The probability of an incumbent staying in power is increasing in the share of government spending. We parametrize the left policymaker as having a higher marginal political gain from increasing government spending than the right does, a feature found in our data. Model economies in which the left is more frequently in power face worse borrowing terms due to higher default risk, a greater reluctance for fiscal austerity in bad times, and a higher share of government spending on average. These features imply large welfare losses for households.
    JEL: F34 F41
    Date: 2021–08
  3. By: Pierre-Guillaume Méon; Khalid Sekkat
    Abstract: We study the impact of democratic transitions on institutional outcomes. Using an event study method and a sample of 135 countries over the period 1984-2016, we observe that democratic transitions improve institutional outcomes. The effect appears within 3 years after the transition year. The results are robust to alternative definitions of transitions, alternative codings of pre- A nd post-transition years, and changing the set of control variables. We also find that both full and partial democratizations improve institutional outcomes. Transitions out of military regimes or communist autocracies do not. The effect of democratization depends on GDP per capita, education, and the regularity of the transition. Finally, the evidence suggests that the effect is particularly clear on the corruption, law and order, and military in politics dimensions of the index.
    Keywords: Democratic transitions; democratization; governance; institutions; political risk
    Date: 2021–09–01
  4. By: Shenoy, Ajay; Zimmermann, Laura V.
    Abstract: Local politicians can function as crucial intermediaries between voters and party bosses in a clientelistic network. We study their role by matching data on 300 million welfare payments in the Indian state of West Bengal to village-level election returns. Local politicians systematically misallocate resources based on party loyalty and successfully deliver votes to their national co-partisans. Politicians are compensated for successful mobilization through a performance bonus immediately after the national election. The (promise of) increased compensation from government funds induces opposition candidates to switch to the ruling party in strategically important local councils, bringing them under its control.
    JEL: D72 D73 H53
    Date: 2021
  5. By: Tschötschel, Robin (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: Perceptions of climate politics often align with individual political leaning and associated media consumption patterns, pointing to a need for a fine-grained understanding of how the media integrate climate change with political identities. This study presents an in-depth qualitative analysis of political identity portrayals from 229 articles published in six German and US news outlets during May-July 2019. The results show that the outlets consumed by left- and right-leaning audiences emphasise oppositional identity portrayals, portraying features that are likely to trigger a negative response towards political identities typically op-posed by their recipients. The outlets with a more balanced or centrist audience offer a wider array of identity portrayals and emphasise policy questions over fundamental beliefs. Observed patterns differ considerably between Germany and the US, reflecting political and media system differences. The results add to understanding how the media contribute to political polarisation and consensus-building regarding climate change.
    Date: 2021–08–25
  6. By: Niño-Zarazúa, Miguel; Santillán Hernández, Alma
    Abstract: In this paper, we present evidence that indicates that democratization has had a positive and significant effect on the current expansion of social transfers in low- and middle income countries. Overall, we find that electoral democracies seem to have favoured the expansion of conditional cash transfer (CCTs) programmes and social pensions, whereas autocracies and infant electoral democracies seem to have favoured pure cash transfers and public works, which are, on average, smaller in scale and more prone to political clientelism. Our findings also show that consumption taxes, and natural resource rents in particular, have contributed to the expansion of social transfers over the past two decades, although at the cost of delaying tax reforms that are necessary to guarantee the survival of welfare benefits. The current tax structure has also exposed net resource-exporting countries to the vagaries of commodity markets and reduced the fiscal space that these countries enjoyed just a decade ago. The policy implications of our findings are threefold: first, a strong technical approach to the formulation of social transfers is clearly desirable to maximize the poverty-reducing and welfare-enhancing effects of these programmes. However, a narrow focus on technical considerations can miss out wider implications of certain policy choices, especially in contexts characterized by electoral autocratic regimes. Second, state capabilities matter for an effective distribution of welfare benefits. However, without strong institutional settings and effective checks and balances, pro-poor redistribution can be subject to the capture of opportunistic clientelistic regimes. Third, any effort to expand social protection systems without parallel reforms to tax systems risks the long-term sustainability of transfer programmes. However, attempts to introduce more progressive forms of taxation would be destinated to fail without a good understanding of the strength and upfront position of elites.
    Keywords: social protection, political economy, democratization, developing countries
    JEL: I30 I38
    Date: 2021–08
  7. By: Gallopin, Jean-Baptiste; Thomas, Eddie; Detzner, Sarah; De Waal, Alex
    Abstract: This paper examines the continuities and changes in Sudan’s political economy and political marketplace in the two years since the popular uprising that overthrew the regime of former president Omar alBashir, and the subsequent formation of a military-civilian transitional government. The government of Sovereignty Council Chairman Abd al-Fattah al-Burhan and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has the stated goals (among others) of transitioning to full civilian government, achieving peace with armed groups, and stabilizing and reforming the economy. Progress has been achieved on all these fronts. Nonetheless, key aspects of Sudan’s political economy remain unchanged, especially underlying hyper-exploitation of labour and natural resources, a prominent role for businesses associated with the leaders of the security sector, and peace agreements incentivized by promises of material rewards provided through governmental office. Transactional politics continue to trump institutional and civic politics, making it harder to reform these aspects of an inequitable and predatory economy.
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2021–05
  8. By: Amanov, Shatlyk
    Abstract: This paper examines the voting behavior of the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to find out their preference similarities on foreign policy issues. Based on a specific data set of UNGA resolutions from 2000 to 2020 and using two different indexes of voting cohesion, the present research addresses two empirically motivated questions: to what extent does the EAEU speak in unison externally in the context of UNGA plenary? And secondly, what was the impact the formation of the EAEU in 2015 had upon common foreign policy? The results reveal that the EAEU scores a “medium” level of cohesion as measured within the UNGA context which may indicate that members oftentimes speak with one voice while defections still occur on controversial votes. Besides, the findings suggest that no meaningful cohesion difference exists between pre- and post-EAEU periods. Finally, the study finds that the Eurasian nations are most cohesive on developmental resolutions, but least cohesive on security and human rights issues as expressed in their recorded voting behavior.
    Date: 2021–08–27
  9. By: Jeffrey A. Frankel; Randy Kotti
    Abstract: Vaccination rates have a statistically significant downward effect on the Covid-19 death rate across US counties, as of August 12, 2021. Controlling for poverty rates, age, and temperature lowers the magnitude of the estimate a little. Using the Biden-Trump vote in the 2020 election as an instrument for vaccination rates raises the magnitude of the estimate. Presumably it corrects for a positive effect of observed local Covid deaths on the decision to get vaccinated. Overall, the estimated beneficial effect holds up and has risen over time.
    JEL: I1
    Date: 2021–08
  10. By: Acuff, Christopher
    Abstract: Research on the impacts of city-county consolidation often focus on issues relating to efficiency, effectiveness, and economic development; yet, relatively few studies have addressed the issue of racial and ethnic minority representation. While existing research is limited, findings indicate that consolidating city and county governments dilutes minority voting strength and has a disparate impact on minority representation. However, it is not clear if this is a nationwide trend, particularly in preclearance states previously covered by the Voting Rights Act. Thus, the question becomes, does consolidation negatively affect minority representation, and to what extent? This study employs a quasi-experimental interrupted time-series analysis in order to ascertain the overall impact of consolidation on the descriptive representation of African Americans since 1965. Results indicate that while representation has increased in recent decades, there are discernible declines in following consolidation, and noticeable representational disparities in counties previously covered by the Voting Rights Act.
    Date: 2021–08–27
  11. By: Marouzi, Soroush
    Abstract: This paper is an attempt to historicize Frank Plumpton Ramsey’s Apostle talks delivered from 1923 to 1925 within the social and political context of the time. In his talks, Ramsey discusses socialism, psychoanalysis, and feminism. Ramsey’s views on these three intellectual movements were inter-connected, and they all contributed to his take on the then policy debates on the role of women in economy. Drawing on some archival materials, biographical facts, and the historiographical literature on the early inter-war politics of motherhood, I show that Ramsey held a positive view of the feminist campaign for family endowment. He demanded government financial support for motherhood in recognition of the economic significance of women’s domestic works and as what could bring economic independence to them. In addition, he found such economic scheme compatible with the kind of maternalism endorsed by Freudian psychoanalysis – his favorite theory of psychology.
    Date: 2021–08–23
  12. By: Eric Kamwa (LC2S - Laboratoire caribéen de sciences sociales - UA - Université des Antilles - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Date: 2021

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