nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2022‒01‒17
thirteen papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Women Legislators and Economic Performance By Baskaran, Thushyanthan; Bhalotra, Sonia; Min, Brian; Uppal, Yogesh
  2. Legislature Integration and Bipartisanship: A Natural Experiment in Iceland By Matthew Lowe; Donghee Jo
  3. Past Exposure to Macroeconomic Shocks and Populist Attitudes in Europe By Despina Gavresi; Anastasia Litina
  4. What's left after right-wing extremism? The effects on political orientation By Pickard, Harry; Efthyvoulou, Georgios; Bove, Vincenzo
  5. The Effects of Social Capital on Government Performance and Turnover: Theory and Evidence from Italian Municipalities By Bracco, Emanuele; Liberini, Federica; Lockwood, Ben; Porcelli, Francesco; Redoano, Michela; Sgroi, Daniel
  6. Finite- and large-sample inference for ranks using multinomial data with an application to ranking political parties By Sergei Bazylik; Magne Mogstad; Joseph P. Romano; Azeem M. Shaikh; Daniel Wilhelm
  7. Political inclusion and democracy in Africa: some empirical evidence By Tii N. Nchofoung; Simplice A. Asongu; Vanessa S. Tchamyou; Ofeh M. Edoh
  8. How Polarized are Citizens? Measuring Ideology from the Ground-Up By Draca, Mirko; Schwarz, Carlo
  9. Vote, popularity, economic conditions and French legislative elections By Antoine Auberger
  10. Vote, popularity, unemployment and French presidential elections By Antoine Auberger
  11. The Political Economy of Early COVID-19 Interventions in US States By Martín Gonzalez-Eiras; Dirk Niepelt
  12. Demagogues and the Fragility of Democracy By Bernhardt, Dan; Krasa, Stefan; Mehdi Shadmehr
  13. Does Vote Trading Improve Welfare? By Alessandra Casella; Antonin Macé

  1. By: Baskaran, Thushyanthan (University of Siegen); Bhalotra, Sonia (University of Warwick); Min, Brian (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor); Uppal, Yogesh (Youngstown State University)
    Abstract: There has been a phenomenal global increase in the proportion of women in politics in the last two decades, but there is no evidence of how this inuences economic performance. We investigate this using data on competitive elections to India's state assemblies, leveraging close elections to isolate causal effects. We find significantly higher growth in economic activity in constituencies that elect women and no evidence of negative spillovers to neighbouring male-led constituencies, consistent with net growth. Probing mechanisms, we find evidence consistent with women legislators being more efficacious, less corrupt and less vulnerable to political opportunism.
    Keywords: Political representation ; identity ; India ; gender ; women legislators ; economic growth ; luminosity ; corruption ; roads ; close elections ; electoral incentives JEL Classification: D72 ; D78 ; H44 ; H73
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Matthew Lowe; Donghee Jo
    Abstract: Nearly all legislatures segregate politicians by party. We use seating lotteries in the Icelandic Parliament to estimate the effects of seating integration on bipartisanship. When two politicians from different parties are randomly assigned to sit together, they are roughly 1 percentage point more likely to vote alike. Despite this effect, other-party neighbors do not affect general bipartisan voting, as measured by the likelihood that a politician deviates from their party leader’s vote. Furthermore, the pair-level similarity effect is temporary, disappearing the following year. The pattern of results support cue-taking and social pressure as mechanisms for the effects of proximity.
    Keywords: polarization, integration, intergroup contact, voting
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Despina Gavresi; Anastasia Litina
    Abstract: This paper explores the interplay between past exposure to macroeconomic shocks and populist attitudes. We document that individuals who experienced a macroeconomic shock during their impressionable years (between 18 and 25 years of age), are currently more prone to voting for populist parties, and manifest lower trust both in national and European institutions. We use data from the European Social Survey (ESS) to construct the differential individual exposure to macroeconomic shocks during impressionable years. Our findings suggest that it is not only current exposure to shocks that matters (see e.g., Guiso et al. (2020)) but also past exposure to economic recessions, which has a persistent positive effect on the rise of populism. Interestingly, the interplay between the two, i.e., past and current exposure to economic shocks, has a mitigating effect on the rise of populism. Individuals who were exposed to economic shocks in the past are less likely to manifest populist attitudes when faced with a current crisis, as suggested by the experience-based learning literature.
    Keywords: macroeconomic shocks, trust, attitudes, populism
    JEL: D72 E60 F68 P16 Z13
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Pickard, Harry (Newcastle University Business School); Efthyvoulou, Georgios (University of Sheffield); Bove, Vincenzo (Department of Politics and International Studies and CAGE (Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy))
    Abstract: Does radical right political violence favour or hinder public support for right-wing stances? Numerous existing studies have demonstrated that Islamic terrorism provokes a conservative shift, increases nationalism and induces negative sentiments towards immigration. However, little is known about the consequences of far-right terrorism, despite its incidence in Western societies. We leverage four waves of the British Election Study (BES) and use a quasi-experimental design to analyse individual political orientations shortly before and after terrorist attacks. We find that respondents distance themselves from the ideology associated with the perpetrator and shift away from ideological positions at the right end of the political spectrum. Furthermore, respondents are less likely to report nationalistic attitudes and immigration skepticism, core tenets of extremist right-wing political ideologies. Our findings suggest that the characteristics of the perpetrators and their driving goals are crucial factors shaping the impact of terrorism on public sentiments
    Keywords: Far-right extremism ; terrorist attacks ; political opinion ; political ideology ; quasi-experimental design.
    Date: 2021
  5. By: Bracco, Emanuele (Universita di Verona); Liberini, Federica (University of Bath); Lockwood, Ben (University of Warwick); Porcelli, Francesco (ESRC CAGE Centre & Universita di Bari); Redoano, Michela (University of Warwick); Sgroi, Daniel (University of Warwick, IZA & ESRC CAGE Centre)
    Abstract: This paper makes three contributions. First, it presents a theoretical analysis of how social capital, formalized as trust in politicians, impacts on government performance and turnover, employing a political agency model with both moral hazard and adverse selection. Second, it presents novel measures of both local government performance and on social capital at the Italian municipality level, using administrative data and an online survey respectively. Third, empirical results are consistent with the main predictions of the theory; higher social capital improves both the discipline and selection effects of elections (performance both in the first and final terms in office), but also increases turnover of incumbent mayors.
    Keywords: Social Capital ; Voting ; Elections ; Government Efficiency JEL Classification: H41 ; H72 ; D72
    Date: 2021
  6. By: Sergei Bazylik (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Magne Mogstad (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Chicago); Joseph P. Romano (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Stanford University); Azeem M. Shaikh (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Chicago); Daniel Wilhelm (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London)
    Abstract: It is common to rank different categories by means of preferences that are revealed through data on choices. A prominent example is the ranking of political candidates or parties using the estimated share of support each one receives in surveys or polls about political attitudes. Since these rankings are computed using estimates of the share of support rather than the true share of support, there may be considerable uncertainty concerning the true ranking of the political candidates or parties. In this paper, we consider the problem of accounting for such uncertainty by constructing confidence sets for the rank of each category. We consider both the problem of constructing marginal con?dence sets for the rank of a particular category as well as simultaneous con?dence sets for the ranks of all categories. A distinguishing feature of our analysis is that we exploit the multinomial structure of the data to develop con?dence sets that are valid in finite samples. We additionally develop confidence sets using the bootstrap that are valid only approximately in large samples. We use our methodology to rank political parties in Australia using data from the 2019 Australian Election Survey. We ?nd that our finite-sample con?dence sets are informative across the entire ranking of political parties, even in Australian territories with few survey respondents and/or with parties that are chosen by only a small share of the survey respondents. In contrast, the bootstrap-based con?dence sets may sometimes be considerably less informative. These findings motivate us to compare these methods in an empirically-driven simulation study, in which we conclude that our finite-sample con?dence sets often perform better than their large-sample, bootstrap-based counterparts, especially in settings that resemble our empirical application.
    Date: 2021–11–18
  7. By: Tii N. Nchofoung (University of Dschang, Cameroon); Simplice A. Asongu (Yaoundé, Cameroon); Vanessa S. Tchamyou (Yaoundé, Cameroon); Ofeh M. Edoh (Yaoundé, Cameroon)
    Abstract: The objective of this study is to examine the effect of political inclusion on democracy in Africa. The results of the analyses through the OLS, system GMM, IV-Tobit and IV-2SLS show that political inclusion enhances democracy in Africa. This result is robust across alternative specifications of political inclusion and democracy. Besides, the results equally stood when controlled for colonisation and internal conflicts. As policy implications, policy makers in Africa should enhance their fight for political inclusion as one of the gateways to promoting democracy. In this respect, national laws could be put in place, which impose gender quotas in political positions in every country. Equally, the African Union could sign a convention on these quotas for respective countries to ratify.
    Keywords: Political inclusion; democracy; Africa
    JEL: I32 O55 P16 P43 P50
    Date: 2021–12
  8. By: Draca, Mirko (Department of Economics, University of Warwick and Centre for Economic Performance, LSE); Schwarz, Carlo (Department of Economics, University of Warwick and Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE))
    Abstract: Strong evidence has been emerging that major democracies have become more politically polarized, at least according to measures based on the ideological positions of political elites. We ask: have the general public (`citizens') followed the same pattern? Our approach is based on unsupervised machine learning models as applied to issue position survey data. This approach firstly indicates that coherent, latent ideologies are strongly apparent in the data, with a number of major, stable types that we label as: Liberal Centrist, Conservative Centrist, Left Anarchist and Right Anarchist. Using this framework, and a resulting measure of `citizen slant', we are then able to decompose the shift in ideological positions across the population over time. Specifically, we find evidence of a `disappearing center' in a range of countries with citizens shifting away from centrist ideologies into anti-establishment `anarchist' ideologies over time. This trend is especially pronounced for the US.
    Keywords: Polarization ; Ideology ; Unsupervised Learning JEL Classification: D72 ; C81
    Date: 2021
  9. By: Antoine Auberger (CRED - Centre de Recherche en Economie et Droit - UP2 - Université Panthéon-Assas)
    Abstract: The purpose of this article is to build a model that explains and forecasts the result of the firstround vote of the French legislative elections and the results in seats after the second round per department and at the national level. This model highlights the influence of a popularity rating between the Left and the Right; and the economic conditions (the unemployment rate, the GDP growth rate, the inflation rate with more ambiguous results) to account for the first-round vote for the Left in the French legislative elections. Its forecasts for the elections of the past (1986-2007) are satisfactory and we make ex ante forecasts in vote and seats for the 2012 French legislative elections. We make some preliminary ex ante forecast in vote and in seats for the 2017 French legislative election.
    Abstract: L'objectif de cet article est de construire un modèle qui explique et prévoit le résultat du premier tour du vote aux élections législatives françaises and les résultats du second tour en sièges par département et au niveau national.
    Keywords: vote functions,legislative elections,election forecasting,popularity functions,panel data JEL Classification: C23,C53,D72
    Date: 2021–12–14
  10. By: Antoine Auberger (CRED - Centre de Recherche en Economie et Droit - UP2 - Université Panthéon-Assas)
    Abstract: The purpose of this article is to build models that explain and forecast the outcome of the second-round vote in the French presidential elections (in the case of a classical duel between moderate left and moderate right) in each department and at the national level. We compare two types of models: the first one influenced by a quarterly change in the national unemployment rate, taken into account, along with the popularity variable; and the second one when the vote is directly influenced by an annual change in the national unemployment rate. We also try to take into account the influence of the periods of cohabitation on the responsibility of the incumbent president (if he is running for re-election) with respect to the economic situation. We also highlight the influence of a partisan variable and a local department advantage variable on the second-round vote for the left in the French presidential elections. Its forecasts for the elections of the past (1981–2007, excluding 2002 and 1981–2012, excluding 2002) are satisfactory. We make ex ante forecasts for the second-round vote of the 2012 French presidential election.
    Abstract: Cet article a pour objet la construction et l'estimation de modèles permettant d'expliquer et de prévoir le résultat du second tour des élections présidentielles françaises (en cas de duel gauche modérée / droite modérée) par département et au niveau national. Notre travail met en évidence l'influence de la variation du taux de chômage national et permet de comparer deux types de modèles : l'un avec l'influence de la variation trimestrielle du taux de chômage national prise en compte avec la variable popularité et l'autre avec une influence directe de la variation annuelle du taux de chômage national sur le vote. On essaie aussi de prendre en compte l'influence des périodes de cohabitation sur la responsabilité du président sortant (s'il est candidat à sa réélection) par rapport à la situation économique. On montre également l'influence d'une variable partisane et d'une variable avantage local départemental dans l'explication du vote pour la gauche au second tour des élections présidentielles françaises. Les prévisions pour les élections passées (1981-2007 sans 2002 et 1981-2012 sans 2002) sont bonnes et on peut faire des prévisions ex ante pour le second tour de l'élection présidentielle française de 2012.
    Date: 2021–12–14
  11. By: Martín Gonzalez-Eiras (University of Bologna); Dirk Niepelt (Study Center Gerzensee, University of Bern, CEPR)
    Abstract: We investigate how politico-economic factors shaped government responses to the spread of COVID-19. Our simple framework uses epidemiological, economic and politico-economic arguments. Confronting the theory with US state level data we find strong evidence for partisanship even when we control for fundamentals including the electorate's political views. Moreover, we detect an important role for the proximity of elections which we interpret as indicative of career concerns. Finally, we find suggestive evidence for complementarities between voluntary activity reductions and government imposed restrictions.
    Date: 2022–01
  12. By: Bernhardt, Dan (University of Illinois and University of Warwick); Krasa, Stefan (University of Illinois); Mehdi Shadmehr (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
    Abstract: We investigate the susceptibility of Democracy to demagogues, studying tensions between representatives who guard voters’ long-run interests and demagogues who cater to voters’ short-run desires. Parties propose consumption and investment. Voters base choices on current-period consumption and valence shocks. Younger/poorer economies and economically-disadvantaged voters are attracted to the demagogue’s dis-investment policies, forcing far-sighted representatives to mimic them. This electoral competition can destroy democracy: if capital falls below a critical level, a death spiral ensues with capital stocks falling thereafter. We identify when economic development mitigates this risk and characterize how the death-spiral risk declines as capital grows large.
    Date: 2021
  13. By: Alessandra Casella (Columbia University [New York]); Antonin Macé (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)
    Abstract: Voters have strong incentives to increase their influence by trading votes, acquiring others' votes when preferences are strong in exchange for giving votes away when preferences are weak. But is vote trading welfare-improving or welfare-decreasing? For a practice long believed to be central to collective decisions, the lack of a clear answer is surprising. We review the theoretical literature and, when available, its related experimental tests. We begin with the analysis of logrolling - the exchange of votes for votes. We then focus on vote markets, where votes can be traded against a numeraire. We conclude with procedures allowing voters to shift votes across decisions - to trade votes with oneself only. We find that vote trading and vote markets are typically inefficient; more encouraging results are obtained by allowing voters to allocate votes across decisions.
    Keywords: bundling,quadratic voting,vote trading,storable votes,logrolling,Vote markets,Storable votes,Vote trading,Logrolling,Quadratic voting,Bundling,vote markets
    Date: 2021

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