nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2022‒07‒11
eight papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. No Surprises, Please: Voting Costs and Electoral Turnout By Jean-Victor Alipour; Valentin Lindlacher
  2. The Origins of Elite Persistence: Evidence from Political Purges in Post-World War II France By Toke Aidt; Jean Lacroix; Pierre-Guillaume Méon
  3. Female Political Representation and Violence Against Women: Evidence from Brazil By Magdalena Delaporte; Francisco Pino
  4. Economic Integration and the Transmission of Democracy By Giacomo Magistretti; Marco Tabellini
  5. Dictatorship, Higher Education and Social Mobility By Prem, Mounu
  6. The far-right and anti-vaccine attitudes: lessons from Spain’s mass COVID-19 vaccine roll-out By Serrano-Alarcon, Manuel; Mckee, Martin; wang, Yuxi; Kentikelenis, Alexander; Stuckler, David
  7. On words and votes in Venezuela: The talks between the conflict parties and the elections in November By Zilla, Claudia
  8. The Blocker Postulates for Measures of Voting Power By Arash Abizadeh; Adrian Vetta

  1. By: Jean-Victor Alipour; Valentin Lindlacher
    Abstract: We study how shocks to voting costs affect electoral turnout. Individuals whose polling place is relocated face changes to their cost of voting in person due to altered distance and unfamiliarity with the new polling place. Using address-level and precinct-level data, we find that polling place relocations depress turnout by 0.5–0.6 percentage points (p.p.): in-person turnout declines by 0.8–1.1 p.p. and is only partly compensated by a 0.3–0.5 p.p. increase in mail-in voting. However, the drop in turnout is only transitory as mail-in votes balance the decline in in-person votes in subsequent elections. This finding is consistent with inattentiveness to relocations, causing individuals to miss the deadline for requesting mail-in ballots. Some inattentive voters forgo voting today but turn to mail-in voting in ensuing elections. Our results are in line with rational choice models of voting and incompatible with the hypothesis that voting is habit forming.
    Keywords: voter turnout, habit formation, elections, election administration, precincts, polling places
    JEL: D72 D73 D83 R41
    Date: 2022
  2. By: Toke Aidt; Jean Lacroix; Pierre-Guillaume Méon
    Abstract: This paper studies a new mechanism that allows political elites from a non-democratic regime to survive a democratic transition: connections. We document this mechanism in the transition from the Vichy regime to democracy in post-World War II France. The parliamentarians who had supported the Vichy regime were purged in a two-stage process where each case was judged twice by two different courts. Using a difference-in-differences strategy, we show that Law graduates, a powerful social group in French politics with strong connections to one of the two courts, had a clearance rate that was 10 percentage points higher than others. This facilitated the persistence of that elite group. A systematic analysis of 17,589 documents from the defendants' dossiers is consistent with the hypothesis that the connections of Law graduates to one of the two courts were a major driver of their ability to avoid the purge. We consider and rule out alternative mechanisms.
    Keywords: purges, political transitions, elite persistence, connections
    JEL: D73 K40 N44 P48
    Date: 2022
  3. By: Magdalena Delaporte; Francisco Pino
    Abstract: This paper studies the effect of female political representation on violence against women. Using a Regression Discontinuity design for close mayoral elections between female and male candidates in Brazil, we find that electing female mayors leads to a reduction in episodes of gender violence. The effect is particularly strong when focusing on incidents of domestic violence, when the aggressor is the ex-husband/boyfriend, and when victims experienced sexual violence. The evidence suggests that female mayors might implement different policies from male mayors and therefore contribute to reduce gender violence.
    Date: 2022–05
  4. By: Giacomo Magistretti; Marco Tabellini
    Abstract: In this paper, we study if exposure to the institutions of trade partners changes individuals' attitudes towards democracy and favors the process of democratization. We combine survey data with country-level measures of democracy from 1960 to 2015, and exploit the improvement in air, relative to sea, transportation to derive a time-varying instrument for trade. Relying on within-country variation across cohorts, we find that individuals who grew up when their country was more integrated with democracies are, at the time of the survey, more supportive of democracy. In line with the change in citizens' preferences, economic integration with democratic partners has a large, positive effect on a country's democracy score. Instead, economic integration with non-democratic partners has no impact on either individuals' attitudes or countries' institutions. We provide evidence consistent with the transmission of democratic capital from more to less democratic countries.
    JEL: F14 F15 P16
    Date: 2022–05
  5. By: Prem, Mounu
    Abstract: We study the relationship between political regimes, education, and redistribution, fo-cusing on the 1973 coup that brought Augusto Pinochet to power in Chile. We show that the Pinochet dictatorship’s aims of political control and fiscal conservatism led to a sharp reduction in openings for new students in all universities in the country. Individuals who reached college age shortly after the coup experienced a large decline in college enrollment, had worse labor mar-ket outcomes throughout their lives, and struggled to climb up the socioeconomic ladder. This suggests a negative link between dictatorship and social mobility. We further show that limited educational opportunities affect political behavior, as those affected by the educational contraction increasingly voted against Pinochet in the 1988 plebiscite that triggered Chile’s return to democ-racy. Hence, policies that foster regime survival in the short run may prove detrimental over a longer time horizon if a democratic window of opportunity arises.
    Keywords: Chile; Pinochet, education; redistribution; democratization
    Date: 2022–06–10
  6. By: Serrano-Alarcon, Manuel; Mckee, Martin; wang, Yuxi; Kentikelenis, Alexander; Stuckler, David
    Abstract: Far-right politicians in several countries have been vocal opponents of COVID-19 vaccination. But does this matter? We take advantage of repeated cross-sectional surveys with samples of around 3,800 individuals across Spain conducted monthly from December 2020 to January 2022 (n = 51,294) to examine any association between far-right politics and vaccine hesitancy. Consistent with prior data, we found that far-right supporters were almost twice as likely to be vaccine-hesitant than the overall population in December 2020, before vaccines became available. However, with a successful vaccine roll out, this difference shrank, reaching non-significance by September 2021. From October 2021, however, vaccine hesitancy rebounded among this group at a time when the leadership of the far-right promoted a “freedom of choice” discourse common among anti-vax supporters. By the latest month analyzed (January 2022) far-right voters had returned to being twice as likely to be vaccine-hesitant and 7 percentage points less likely to be vaccinated than the general population. Our results are consistent with evidence that far-right politicians can encourage vaccine hesitancy. Nonetheless, we show that public attitudes towards vaccination are not immutable. Whereas a rapid and effective vaccine rollout can help to overcome the resistance of far-right voters to get vaccinated, they also seem to be susceptible to their party leader's discourse on vaccines.
    Date: 2022–04–18
  7. By: Zilla, Claudia
    Abstract: Regional and local elections are to be held in Venezuela on 21 November. After several years of election boycotts opposition forces are taking part in the elections again. In addition, since August this year they have participated in a dialogue with envoys of President Nicolás Maduro in Mexico. While many Venezuelans are struggling to merely survive, the two conflict parties are seeking to extend their room for manoeuvre. The international community should support the dialogue and election process and dose pressure on and incentives for the Maduro regime giving priority to the needs of society.
    Date: 2021
  8. By: Arash Abizadeh; Adrian Vetta
    Abstract: A proposed measure of voting power should satisfy two conditions to be plausible: first, it must be conceptually justified, capturing the intuitive meaning of what voting power is; second, it must satisfy reasonable postulates. This paper studies a set of postulates, appropriate for a priori voting power, concerning blockers (or vetoers) in a binary voting game. We specify and motivate five such postulates, namely, two subadditivity blocker postulates, two minimum-power blocker postulates, each in weak and strong versions, and the added-blocker postulate. We then test whether three measures of voting power, namely the classic Penrose-Banzhaf measure, the classic Shapley-Shubik index, and the newly proposed Recursive Measure, satisfy these postulates. We find that the first measure fails four of the postulates, the second fails two, while the third alone satisfies all five postulates. This work consequently adds to the plausibility of the Recursive Measure as a reasonable measure of voting power.
    Date: 2022–05

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