nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2022‒04‒18
eleven papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Technological Change, Campaign Spending and Polarization By Pau Balart; Agustín Casas; Orestis Troumpounis
  2. Political inclusion and democracy in Africa: some empirical evidence By Tii N. Nchofoung; Simplice A. Asongu; Vanessa S. Tchamyou; Ofeh M. Edoh
  3. Distance matters: The size of countries and the nationalization of politics. By Ignacio Lago; Santiago Lago-Peñas
  4. What role do local elections play for societal peace in Nepal? Evidence from post-conflict Nepal By Fiedler, Charlotte; Mross, Karina; Berg, Anna; Bhattarai, Prakash; Drees, Dorothea; Kornprobst, Tim; Leibbrandt, Alexandra; Liegmann, Philipp; Riebsamen, Maleen
  5. For God, Tsar and Fatherland? The Political Influence of Church By Ekaterina Travova
  6. A Dataset of Geolocated Villages and Gram Panchayat Election Candidates in Uttar Pradesh By Srivastava, Aryan; Kalra, Aarushi; Tiwari, Saket
  7. Japanese Attitudes Toward Immigrants' Voting Rights: Evidence from Survey Experiments By IGARASHI Akira; ONO Yoshikuni
  8. Urban Political Structure and Inequality: Political Economy Lessons from Early Modern German Cities By Felix Schaff
  9. Political ignorance and the internet By Bertschek, Irene; Müller, David F.
  10. A 'Sudden Outrcry' for Free Trade: Autonomy, Empire and Political Economy in the Irish Free Trade Campaign, 1779-1785 By Carlos Eduardo Suprinyak
  11. On the probability of a Condorcet winner among a large number of alternatives By Lisa Sauermann

  1. By: Pau Balart ((Universitat de les Illes Balears); Agustín Casas (CUNEF); Orestis Troumpounis ((Lancaster University/University of Padova)
    Abstract: We present a model of electoral competition with endogenous platforms and campaign spending where the division of voters between impressionable and ideological is also endogenous and depends on parties’ strategic platform choices. Our approach results in a tractable model that provides interesting comparative statics on the effect of recent technological advancements. For instance, we can accommodate a new justification behind the well-documented simultaneous increase in campaign spending and polarization: an increase in the effectiveness of electoral advertising or a decrease in the electorate’s political awareness, surely increases polarization and may also increase campaign spending.
    Keywords: electoral competition, office motives, endogenous valence, campaign spending, impressionable voters, semiorder lexicographic preferences
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2022–01
  2. 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
  3. By: Ignacio Lago; Santiago Lago-Peñas
    Abstract: Relying on global data from democratic elections in 80 countries from 1800 to 2016, we examine whether the general process of nationalization of voting behavior is driven by country size. We argue that in the early stages of democracies in the nineteenth century, local concerns were more diverse and prominent for voters as countries became larger. As a result, national integration should have a stronger effect on the nationalization of electoral politics in large countries. The results from a longitudinal analysis confirm that the process of nationalization is a large-country phenomenon that took place mainly until World War I.
    Keywords: country size; democracy; elections; nationalization.
    JEL: H72 H74 H77
    Date: 2022–04
  4. By: Fiedler, Charlotte; Mross, Karina; Berg, Anna; Bhattarai, Prakash; Drees, Dorothea; Kornprobst, Tim; Leibbrandt, Alexandra; Liegmann, Philipp; Riebsamen, Maleen
    Abstract: Can local elections introduced in a post-conflict context help to foster societal peace, or do they create new potential for conflict? The value of post-conflict elections has been the matter of controversial academic debates. However, this literature largely neglects to take into account the role of local elections. Based on the literature, we formulate three hypotheses on how local elections might impact societal peace, focussing on the periods before, during and after an election. The first focusses on the potential negative effects of identity-based mobilisation before an election, while the latter two lead us to expect positive effects - either through increased participation through the vote during an election, or improved responsiveness as a consequence after an election. We study each of these three mechanisms in Nepal, a country that experienced almost 10 years of civil war up until 2006 and where local elections were reintroduced in 2017. Combining 79 qualitative interviews at the national and local levels with insights from a large-n survey of 1,400 respondents, we find that overall the reintroduction of local elections had a clear positive impact on societal peace in Nepal. In particular, the results show that the elections increased participation and responsiveness, which has positively affected political trust and reduced (the potential for) political violence. Overall, this paper thereby contributes to the academic debate on the role of elections for peace, calling to attention the positive role local elections can play. It also demonstrates the benefits of moving beyond a narrow definition of peace in relatively stable post-conflict contexts to take a closer look at the effect of political institutions on societal dynamics.
    Date: 2022
  5. By: Ekaterina Travova
    Abstract: This paper investigates the influence of the Orthodox Church network in Post-Soviet Russia on individual political preferences and election results. I use the numbers of monks and nuns from Orthodox monasteries operated in the Russian Empire before the Revolution as historical religious markers to construct a Bartik-style instrument (1991). I find that a denser Church network increases the average local approval rating for the current president and the share of votes cast for the government candidate in presidential elections. Further analysis of mechanisms shows that, today, the extending Church network is increasingly less able to attract people to attend church and to substantially increase the share of practicing believers. However, it does affect the political preferences of those who, regardless of their faith in God, self-identify as Orthodox. The potential channel for persuasion is media.
    Keywords: Orthodoxy; Church; Approval; Election; National Identity; Media;
    JEL: D83 N33 N34 P16 Z12 Z13
    Date: 2022–03
  6. By: Srivastava, Aryan; Kalra, Aarushi; Tiwari, Saket
    Abstract: Village Council or Gram Panchayat (henceforth, Panchayat) elections provide highly localized political shocks, making them suitable to answer various research questions in a causal framework. We collect data for Panchayat elections held in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh for the years 2021 and 2015. While election candidates’ data are openly available on Uttar Pradesh State Election Commision website, they are not easily accessible. Moreover, the villages are not geolocated. This motivated us to scrape the state website to obtain the data, and geolocate it to allow us to match them with our social media data consisting of the user's activity and their geo-location. These data are a valuable resource for researchers interested in questions related to political economy in the Developing World. Link to the Github repository with the code and data can be found here.
    Date: 2022–03–01
  7. By: IGARASHI Akira; ONO Yoshikuni
    Abstract: The presence of native allies is important for the success of immigrants' social movements in East Asian countries, as the number of immigrants is relatively low. However, it remains unclear whether advocacy messages from natives or from immigrants are more effective in changing the attitudes of natives to support policies for immigrants. From the perspective of social identity theory, we hypothesized that the effectiveness of persuasive messages would vary depending on the group issuing the message. To test this, we conducted a survey experiment using a Japanese case of granting local voting rights to immigrants. Our results showed that Japanese support for granting immigrants local voting rights did not decrease when they heard an advocacy message from Japanese but decreased when it came from a Korean immigrant whose voting rights are highly relevant. These results suggest that advocacy messages from natives may lead to more support for immigrants.
    Date: 2022–02
  8. By: Felix Schaff (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: What was the impact of urban political structure on economic inequality in preindustrial times? I document that more closed political institutions were associated with higher economic inequality in a panel of early modern German cities. To investigate the mechanisms behind that macro-relationship, I construct a unique individual-level panel-dataset, containing c.27,000 observations on personal wealth and political office-holding in the city state of Nördlingen from 1579 to 1700. I employ a difference-in-differences setting to show that political elites enriched themselves substantially after entering office. Individuals with higher political power enriched themselves more. These private gains from public office contributed to economic inequality. To mitigate concerns about reverse causality, I exploit the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) as a plausibly exogenous shock to elites' potential for rent-seeking. Political office-holders manipulated this crisis to enrich themselves further, contributing to an unequal wealth distribution. The results are hard to square with a common historical narrative suggesting that urban political elites were "civic-minded" guardians of the common good.
    Keywords: Wealth, Inequality, Elites, Political Economy, Rent-Seeking, Cities
    JEL: D31 D72 H20 N43 N93 P48
    Date: 2022–04
  9. By: Bertschek, Irene; Müller, David F.
    Abstract: We examine the link between Internet usage and political ignorance. We construct a novel Index as a direct measure of individuals' indifference with respect to political issues which determines the degree of individual political ignorance. Our econometric analysis is based on a rich data set consisting of six surveys of individuals covering the time period 2001 to 2014 and being representative for the German electorate. The empirical results show that in the earlier years of Internet diffusion there is a negative link between using the Internet and political ignorance. This link changes sign in later years of Internet diffusion. We discuss potential explanations of this observed change in the link such as information overload and the increase in heterogeneity of Internet users.
    Keywords: Internet,information cost,indifference index,political ignorance
    JEL: D80 O33
    Date: 2021
  10. By: Carlos Eduardo Suprinyak (The American University of Paris - The American University of Paris)
    Abstract: In November 1779, the group of Irish militias known as the Volunteers rallied around a statue of King William III in Dublin protesting for free trade between Ireland and Britain. The episode kickstarted a series of political negotiations around the topic that culminated in the abortive proposal for the establishment of a free trade area in 1785. From the Irish perspective, free trade was regarded as a strategy for eliminating the restrictions and regulations, emanating from London, which had so far stifled the development of local industry. In Britain, however, the proposal faced hostilities due to the expected dislocations for established manufacturing interests. Newly appointed prime minister William Pitt tried to justify the case for free trade with Ireland before the British public by appealing to its beneficial effects for a unified and coherent imperial trade policy. This, in turn, proved unacceptable to Irish politicians and agitators, who regarded free trade as a step in the route to more -- not less -- political autonomy. Exploring public arguments on this topic, the paper investigates the economic and political meanings associated with free trade during the later decades of the 18th century, while discussing how these notions related to the literature on political economy circulating at the time.
    Keywords: free trade,protection,British Empire,Ireland,Josiah Tucker,Adam Smith
    Date: 2022–02–23
  11. By: Lisa Sauermann
    Abstract: Consider $2k-1$ voters, each of which has a preference ranking between $n$ given alternatives. An alternative $A$ is called a Condorcet winner, if it wins against every other alternative $B$ in majority voting (meaning that for every other alternative $B$ there are at least $k$ voters who prefer $A$ over $B$). The notion of Condorcet winners has been studied intensively for many decades, yet some basic questions remain open. In this paper, we consider a model where each voter chooses their ranking randomly according to some probability distribution among all rankings. One may then ask about the probability to have a Condorcet winner with these randomly chosen rankings (which, of course, depends on $n$ and $k$, and the underlying probability distribution on the set of rankings). In the case of the uniform probability distribution over all rankings, which has received a lot of attention and is often referred to as the setting of an "impartial culture", we asymptotically determine the probability of having a Condorcet winner for a fixed number $2k-1$ of voters and $n$ alternatives with $n\to \infty$. This question has been open for around fifty years. While some authors suggested that the impartial culture should exhibit the lowest possible probability of having a Condorcet winner, in fact the probability can be much smaller for other distributions. We determine, for all values of $n$ and $k$, the smallest possible probability of having a Condorcet winner (and give an example of a probability distribution over all rankings which achieves this minimum possible probability).
    Date: 2022–03

This nep-pol issue is ©2022 by Eugene Beaulieu. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.