nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2022‒03‒07
ten papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. The Effect of Social Media on Elections: Evidence from the United States By Thomas Fujiwara; Karsten Müller; Carlo Schwarz
  2. Other-Regarding Preferences and Redistributive Politics By Fehr, Ernst; Epper, Thomas; Senn, Julien
  3. Political inclusion and democracy in Africa: some empirical evidence By Nchofoung, Tii; Asongu, Simplice; Tchamyou, Vanessa; Edoh, Ofeh
  4. Politics, Institutions and Tax Revenue Mobilization in West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) Countries By Yawovi Mawussé Isaac Amedanou
  5. The Heterogeneous Price of a Vote: Evidence from Multiparty Systems, 1993-2017 By Yasmine Bekkouche; Julia Cage; Edgard Dewitte
  6. Partisan Fertility and Presidential Elections By Dahl, Gordon; Lu, Runjing; Mullins, William
  7. Income Contingency and the Electorate’s Support for Tuition By Lergetporer, P; Woessmann, L
  8. Trust in the time of coronavirus: longitudinal evidence from the United States By Aassve, Arnstein; Capezzone, Tommaso; Cavalli, Nicolo'; Conzo, Pierluigi; Peng, Chen
  9. Partisan Entrepreneurship By Engelberg, Joseph E.; Guzman, Jorge; Lu, Runjing; Mullins, William
  10. Anti democratic attitudes: The influence of work, digital transformation and climate change By Hövermann, Andreas; Kohlrausch, Bettina; Voss-Dahm, Dorothea

  1. By: Thomas Fujiwara (Princeton University and NBER); Karsten Müller (National University of Singapore); Carlo Schwarz (Università Bocconi)
    Abstract: We study how social media affects election outcomes in the United States. We use variation in the number of Twitter users across counties induced by early adopters at the 2007 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, a key event in Twitter’s rise to popularity. We show that this variation is unrelated to observable county characteristics and electoral outcomes before the launch of Twitter. Our results indicate that Twitter lowered the Republican vote share in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, but had limited effects on Congressional elections and previous presidential elections. Evidence from survey data, primary elections, and a text analysis of millions of tweets suggests that Twitter’s relatively liberal content may have persuaded voters with moderate views to vote against Donald Trump.
    Keywords: voting behavior, elections
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2021–11
  2. By: Fehr, Ernst (University of Zurich); Epper, Thomas (University of Lille); Senn, Julien (University of Zurich)
    Abstract: Increasing inequality and associated egalitarian sentiments have again put redistribution on the political agenda. Other-regarding preferences may also affect support for redistribution, but knowledge about their distribution in the broader population and how they are associated with political support for redistributive policies is still scarce. In this paper, we take advantage of Swiss direct democracy, where people voted several times on strongly redistributive policies in national plebiscites, to study the link between other-regarding preferences and support for redistribution in a broad sample of the Swiss population. We document that inequality aversion and altruistic concerns play a quantitatively large positive role in the support for redistribution, in particular for more affluent individuals. In addition, previously identified key motives underlying opposition to redistribution – such as the belief that effort is an important driver of individual success – play no role for selfish individuals but are highly relevant for altruistic and egalitarian individuals. Finally, while inequality averse individuals display strong support for policies that primarily aim at reducing the incomes of the rich, altruistic individuals are considerably less supportive of such policies. Thus, knowledge about the fundamental properties and the distribution of individuals' other-regarding preferences also provides a deeper understanding about who is likely to support specific redistributive policies.
    Keywords: social preferences, altruism, inequality aversion, preference heterogeneity, demand for redistribution
    JEL: D31 D72 H23 H24
    Date: 2022–02
  3. By: Nchofoung, Tii; Asongu, Simplice; Tchamyou, Vanessa; Edoh, Ofeh
    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
  4. By: Yawovi Mawussé Isaac Amedanou (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne)
    Abstract: This paper argues that the main determinant of differences in tax revenue collection across countries are differences in political regimes and institutions. The evidence based on the 8 members States of West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) over the period 90-2017, clearly supports that tax collection leads to better economic institutions and more democratic political system. Thus, handle the problem of tax collection will entail a reform of these institutions and a democratization of the political regimes. Institutions, political regimes, and democracy significantly increase tax collection while autocracy reduces it. The findings turn out to be robust accounting for the potential endogeneity of various institutions and aid intensity through 2SLS estimates.
    Keywords: Political regime,Democracy,Autocracy,Institutions,Tax revenue,WAEMU
    Date: 2021–06
  5. By: Yasmine Bekkouche (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, ULB - Université libre de Bruxelles); Julia Cage (ECON - Département d'économie (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Edgard Dewitte (ECON - Département d'économie (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: What is the impact of campaign spending on votes? Does it vary across election types, political parties or electoral settings? Estimating these effects requires comprehensive data on spending across candidates, parties and elections, as well as identification strategies that handle the endogenous and strategic nature of campaign spending in multiparty systems. This paper provides novel contributions in both of these areas. We build a new comprehensive dataset of all French legislative and UK general elections over the 1993–2017 period. We propose new empirical specifications, including a new instrument that relies on the fact that candidates are differentially affected by regulation on the source of funding on which they depend the most. We find that an increase in spending per voter consistently improves candidates' vote share, both at British and French elections, and that the effect is heterogeneous depending on candidates' party. In particular, we show that spending by radical and extreme parties has much lower returns than spending by mainstream parties, and that this can be partly explained by the social stigma attached to extreme voting. Our findings help reconcile the conflicting results of the existing literature, and improve our understanding of why campaigns matter.
    Keywords: Elections,Campaign financing,Campaign expenditures,Campaign finance reform,Multiparty electoral data,Heterogeneous effects of campaign spending
    Date: 2022–02–01
  6. By: Dahl, Gordon; Lu, Runjing (University of Alberta); Mullins, William (UC 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.
    Date: 2021–04–24
  7. By: Lergetporer, P (Technical University of Munich and ifo Institute, CESifo); Woessmann, L (University of Munich and ifo Institute, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, CESifo, IZA and CAGE)
    Abstract: We show that the electorate’s preferences for using tuition to finance higher education strongly depend on the design of the payment scheme. In representative surveys of the German electorate (N>18,000), experimentally replacing regular upfront by deferred income-contingent payments increases public support for tuition by 18 percentage points. The treatment turns a plurality opposed to tuition into a strong majority of 62 percent in favor. Additional experiments reveal that the treatment effect similarly shows when framed as loan repayments, when answers carry political consequences, and in a survey of adolescents. Reduced fairness concerns and improved student situations act as strong mediators.
    Keywords: tuition, higher education finance, income-contingent loans, voting JEL Classification: H52, I22, D72
    Date: 2022
  8. By: Aassve, Arnstein; Capezzone, Tommaso; Cavalli, Nicolo'; Conzo, Pierluigi; Peng, Chen
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed most countries to an unexpected crisis, with unclear consequences for citizens’ trust in others and in public authorities. This study shed lights on how social and political trust changed during the pandemic. We conducted a longitudinal survey in the US of about 1000 respondents at three points in time during the pandemic. We elicited respondents’ trust towards other people and towards different institutional authorities, along with attribution of responsibility for the current situation. Results show that institutional trust fell, while interpersonal trust slightly increased, especially during the peak of the first pandemic wave. This dynamic was mainly driven by Republicans, whose institutional trust decreased, especially when exposed to COVID-19, along with growth in social trust. Considering that Republicans attributed, at the time, more responsibilities to their political leader, we argue that institutional trust was crowded out by social trust. Disappointed voters felt unprotected by institutions and looked for support elsewhere in society. Consistent with this, though, in the reverse direction, experimental results from the third wave show that Republicans increased institutional trust. However, social trust fell when primed with positive information about the pandemic. Overall, these findings suggest that societal shocks may induce people to exchange formal with informal institutions as a coping strategy, with social and political trust moving in opposite directions.
    Date: 2022–01–27
  9. By: Engelberg, Joseph E.; Guzman, Jorge; Lu, Runjing (University of Alberta); Mullins, William (UC San Diego)
    Abstract: Republicans start more firms than Democrats. Using a sample of 40 million party-identified Americans between 2005 and 2017, we find that 6% of Republicans and 4% of Democrats become entrepreneurs. This partisan entrepreneurship gap is time-varying: Republicans increase their relative entrepreneurship during Republican administrations and decrease it during Democratic administrations, amounting to a partisan reallocation of 170,000 new firms over our 13 year sample. We find sharp changes in partisan entrepreneurship around the elections of President Obama and President Trump, and the strongest effects among the most politically active partisans: those that donate and vote.
    Date: 2021–03–01
  10. By: Hövermann, Andreas; Kohlrausch, Bettina; Voss-Dahm, Dorothea
    Abstract: When anti-democratic attitudes find great popular acclaim, it is time to sit up and take notice: people are turning away from the democratic system and no longer put their trust in the political and social rules and instances that organise and structure societal coexistence. As a result, social cohesion and the acceptance of democratic decisions come under increasing pressure. And yet a stable democracy is particularly important at a time in which the "three Ds" - decarbonisation, digitalisation, demography - are challenging German society and triggering change. So how widespread are anti-democratic attitudes and how is the connection between social circumstances and democratic integration during times of announced and actual change processes? How do perceptions and experience resulting from gainful employment influence anti-democratic attitudes? We have taken the evaluations of a representative public opinion poll to show that people in objectively precarious circumstances are denied access to opportunities for participation and for shaping their own lives also in view of external changes. Subjective perception also plays a role in anti-democratic attitudes: the lack of recognition is experienced as devaluation of one's own social and professional status. Anti-democratic attitudes are also closely linked to the fear and experience of getting left behind by social change processes such as digital or socioecological transformation.
    Date: 2022

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