nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2022‒02‒07
five papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Partisan Fertility and Presidential Elections By Dahl, Gordon B.; Lu, Runjing; Mullins, William
  2. The Role of Personality for Gender Gaps in Political Interest and Activity By Adam Ayaita
  3. Trust and Public Support for the Colombian Peace Agreement By Esmeralda Lopez
  4. Economic inequality, unfairness perceptions, and populist attitudes By Nils D. Steiner
  5. Does a Governor's Gender and Political Party Affect a State's GDP Growth during the COVID-19 Pandemic? By Leah S. Sine; Seth R. Gitter

  1. By: Dahl, Gordon B. (University of California, San Diego); Lu, Runjing (University of Alberta); Mullins, William (University of California, San Diego)
    Abstract: Changes in political leadership drive sharp changes in public policy and partisan beliefs about the future. 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 shift amounting to 1.2 to 2.2% of the national fertility rate. In addition, Hispanics see fertility fall relative to non-Hispanics, especially compared to rural or evangelical whites.
    Keywords: fertility, partisanship, elections
    JEL: J13 D72
    Date: 2021–12
  2. By: Adam Ayaita
    Abstract: Women have been found to be, on average, less interested in politics and less politically active than men, which might reduce the representation of women’s interests in a democracy. In order to enhance the understanding of these gender gaps, this preregistered study analyzes the role of personality differences for gender gaps in political interest and activity.I use a large representative sample of the adult population in Germany for the analysis. First, I replicate the findings that women tend to have lower scores in political interest and activity and that these gaps are not fully explained by demographic, situational, and structural factors. Second, I find that the remaining gender gaps in political interest and activity are, overall, not significantly explained by gender differences in personality. However, gender differences in some specific personality traits partially explain the political gender gaps: Women’s higher average agreeableness contributes to the gender gap in political interest, and women’s higher average conscientiousness contributes to the gender gap in political activity.
    Keywords: Gender, personality, political activity, political engagement, political interest, politics
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Esmeralda Lopez (University of North Texas, United States)
    Abstract: The 2016 Colombian peace agreement failed by a narrow margin when put to a public vote, but a month later, the legislature bypassed the need for public support officially ending the 52-year armed conflict between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia [FARC]. Today, few promises of the agreement have come to fruition, leaving Colombia’s rural population in need and causing some ex-combatants to return to the FARC. While some attributed failure of the peace agreement to low voter turnout, a better understanding of the public’s lack of support for the peace agreement is needed. This study uses logistic regression to analyze 2016 survey data from the Latin American Public Opinion Project to examine how institutional trust correlates with predicting support for the Colombian peace agreement. Variables such as public opinion regarding trust in government institutions (the legislature, executive, judiciary, and elections) and trust in the FARC, including a belief that the FARC will demobilize, are included within the study. The model supports the hypothesis that greater trust in institutions increases the probability that the respondent will support the peace agreement. Five of the six variables are statistically significant, and the trust in the national legislature variable is approaching significance. Future studies related to this topic should include greater analysis of Colombia’s rural population who was most affected by forced displacement and other forms of violence during the conflict.
    Keywords: Colombia, armed conflict, peace agreement, public opinion, trust
    Date: 2021–08
  4. By: Nils D. Steiner (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz)
    Abstract: One popular explanation for the rise of populism points to growing economic inequality. This explanation remains contested, however, not least because direct evidence on the link between economic inequality and support for populism is scarce. This contribution puts forth the simple argument that anti-elite populist sentiments flourish in contexts of high economic inequality, when and because individuals perceive income distributions to be unfair. To probe the different observable implications of this argument, several survey datasets are analyzed. First, German survey data indicate that individuals who think that differences in income are too large are much more inclined to hold populist attitudes. Second, international survey data from the ISSP show the trend towards growing income concentration to be reflected in a growing tendency of the public to view income differences as too large. Third, international survey data from the latest wave of the CSES suggest that populist attitudes are more widespread in countries with higher levels of economic inequality. Collectively, these findings point to the plausibility of a link between growing inequality and populism’s upsurge, thereby contributing to the ongoing debate.
    Keywords: Populism, populist attitudes, economic inequality, injustice perceptions, inequity aversion
    Date: 2022–01–14
  5. By: Leah S. Sine (Towson University); Seth R. Gitter (Department of Economics, Towson University)
    Abstract: In a vacuum of federal policies during the COVID crisis, U.S. state governors who were female and/or Democrats were more likely to enact public health policies that reduced COVID deaths. Using 2005–2020 quarterly data, we test whether states with female and Democratic governors experienced lower GDP growth rates during COVID. We find that states with Democratic governors experienced annual GDP growth two percentage points lower than states with Republican governors in 2020, with statistically weaker results for female governors. The two-point reduction in GDP growth is less than the economic value of estimated lives saved due to these policies.
    Keywords: Covid, Governors, Female Leadership.
    JEL: H12 H70 H75
    Date: 2022–01

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