nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2021‒11‒08
four papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Political (self-)selection and competition: Evidence from U.S. Congressional elections By Bose, Paul
  2. Voting and protest tendencies associated with changes in service delivery. By Tina Fransman
  3. Election cycles in European public procurement By Havlik, Annika; Heinemann, Friedrich; Nover, Justus
  4. Ambivalence About International Trade in Open- and Closed-ended Survey Responses By Arturo Chang; Thomas Ferguson; Jacob Rothschild; Benjamin I. Page

  1. By: Bose, Paul
    JEL: D72 D78 J45 P16
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Tina Fransman (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
    Abstract: Citizens ought to hold the state accountable for service delivery. This is usually done through the power of the vote. Literature on democratic governance suggests that theoretically, when good quality public services are provided, citizens would continue to vote for the political party in power. Therefore, it is expected that the inverse would occur should poor quality public services be provided. However, surprising evidence has recently emerged to suggest that political accountability does not work as theory assumes, indicating a negative relationship between improvements in public service provision and support for the incumbent for Southern African democracies. Using a unique panel dataset, this study tests whether a breakdown in the relationship between public service delivery and voting behaviour in South Africa indeed exists. It further investigates whether this distortion is the result of South Africans' preference to access other forms of political participation as a more effective route to political accountability, rather than voting in elections. The results seem to broadly confirm a breakdown in the relationship between improvements in public service provision and voting behaviour in South Africa. The findings suggest that South Africans consider protest action as an alternative route to political accountability. Furthermore, regression results provide some evidence to support the notion of spoiled ballots being a plausible alternative accountability route.
    Keywords: Accountability, elections, political participation, protest action, public service delivery, spoiled ballots, South Africa, voter turnout and voting behaviour.
    JEL: D72 H11 H41 H50
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Havlik, Annika; Heinemann, Friedrich; Nover, Justus
    Abstract: This paper studies the existence of election cycles in public procurement in the European Union for the national level. We analyze different steps along the procurement process, namely the publication of the contract notice, the awarding of the contract, and the project completion. We point out how these steps should differ in their potential to address specific types of voters. We argue that the award provides politicians with a particularly appealing opportunity. It allows them to please the award-winning firms' stakeholders and the spending decision becomes binding and credible also from the perspective of forward-looking voters. We find robust evidence for electioneering in contract notices and awards prior to national parliamentary elections. The effect in contract awards is particularly strong for certain sub-categories like education and is more pronounced for visible projects.
    Keywords: Forward-looking voters,political budget cycles,retrospective voting,Tenders Electronic Daily (TED)
    JEL: D72 D73 H57
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Arturo Chang (University of Toronto); Thomas Ferguson (Institute for New Economic Thinking); Jacob Rothschild (Reality Check); Benjamin I. Page (Northwestern University)
    Abstract: Spontaneous, open-ended survey responses can sometimes better reveal what is actually on people`s minds than small sets of forced-choice, closed questions. Our analysis of closed questions and trade-related open-ended responses to 2016 ANES `likes` and `dislikes` prompts indicate that Americans held considerably more complex, more ambivalent, and – in many cases – more negative views of international trade than has been apparent in studies that focus only on closed-ended responses. This paper suggests that contrast between open- and closed-question data may help explain why the effectiveness of Donald Trump`s appeals to trade resentments surprised many observers.
    Keywords: Free Trade; Public Opinion; international trade; Donald Trump; opinion surveys, political economy.
    JEL: C83 F10 F13 F59 F68
    Date: 2021–09–01

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