nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2022‒07‒18
twenty papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Immigration and Electoral Outcomes: Evidence from the 2015 Refugee Inflow to Germany By Bredtmann, Julia
  2. Competing for Attention – The Effect of Talk Radio on Elections and Political Polarization in the US By Ashani Amarasinghe; Paul A. Raschky
  3. Tariffs, Agricultural Subsidies, and the 2020 US Presidential Election By Choi, Jaerim; Lim, Sunghun
  4. Political fragmentation and government stability: evidence from local governments in Spain By Carozzi, Felipe; Cipullo, Davide; Repetto, Luca
  5. The Political Costs of Oil Price Shocks By Rabah Arezki; Simeon Djankov; Ha Nguyen; Ivan Yotzov
  6. It Takes Money to Make MPs: Evidence from 150 Years of British Campaign Spending By Julia Cage; Edgard Dewitte
  7. The Heterogeneous Price of a Vote: Evidence from Multiparty Systems, 1993-2017 By Yasmine Bekkouche; Julia Cage; Edgard Dewitte
  8. The Political Effects of Immigration: Culture or Economics? By Alberto Alesina; Marco Tabellini
  9. When Does Money Matter for Elections? By Julia Cage; Edgard Dewitte
  10. Hindsight Bias and Trust in Government: Evidence from the United States By Holger Herz; Deborah Kistler; Christian Zehnder; Christian Zihlmann
  11. Policy Diffusion and Polarization across U.S. States By Stefano DellaVigna; Woojin Kim
  12. Identity and support for policies towards Indigenous people: Evidence from Australia By Astghik Mavisakalyan; Yashar Tarverdi
  13. Three essays in the political economy of information By Elisa Mougin
  14. Biased reporting by the German media? By Löw, Franziska
  15. Angry men and Civic women? Gendered effects of conflict on political participation By Julie Litchfield; Elodie Douarin; Fatlinda Gashi
  16. Economic Conditions and the Rise of Anti-Democratic Extremism By Benjamin Crost
  17. Identifying Politically Connected Firms: A Machine Learning Approach By Deni Mazrekaj; Vitezslav Titl; Fritz Schiltz
  18. Predetermined Assembly Size and Equal Influence in MMP-Elections By Stensholt, Eivind
  19. Optimized Distortion and Proportional Fairness in Voting By Soroush Ebadian; Anson Kahng; Nisarg Shah; Dominik Peters
  20. The political economy of women's empowerment policies in India: Understanding it through the beginning and end of the Mahila Samakhya programme By Jyotsna Jha; Niveditha Menon; Neha Ghatak

  1. By: Bredtmann, Julia (RWI)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the effects of local exposure to refugees on electoral outcomes in the 2016 state election in Germany. Based on quasi-random variation in the allocation of refugees across municipalities and unique data on refugee populations and their type of accommodation, I find that an increase in the population share of refugees increases the vote share of right-wing parties and decreases the vote share of the incumbent federal government parties. The electoral effects, however, are solely driven by refugees living in centralized accommodation, while no such effects are found for refugees living in decentralized accommodation. These findings have important implications for the design of public policies in handling future receptions of refugees, as they reveal that an earlier transfer of refugees from centralized to decentralized accommodation could attenuate a growing support for right-wing parties.
    Keywords: immigration, refugees, political economy, voting
    JEL: D72 F22 J15 R23
    Date: 2022–06
  2. By: Ashani Amarasinghe (University of Sydney and SoDa Laboratories, Monash University); Paul A. Raschky (Department of Economics and SoDa Laboratories, Monash University)
    Abstract: This paper studies the effects of talk radio, specifically the Rush Limbaugh Show, on electoral outcomes and attitude polarization in the U.S. We propose a novel identification strategy that considers the radio space in each county as a market where multiple stations are competing for listeners’ attention. Our measure of competition is a spatial Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) in radio frequencies. To address endogeneity concerns, we exploit the variation in competition based on accidental frequency overlaps in a county, conditional on the overall level of radio frequency competition. We find that counties with higher exposure to the Rush Limbaugh Show have a systematically higher vote share for Donald Trump in the 2016 and 2020 U.S. presidential elections. Combining our county-level Rush Limbaugh Show exposure measure with individual survey data reveals that self-identifying Republicans in counties with higher exposure to the Show express more conservative political views, while self-identifying Democrats in these same counties express more moderate political views. Taken together, these findings provide some of the first insights on the effects of contemporary talk radio on political outcomes, both at the aggregate and individual level.
    Keywords: Talk radio, elections, political polarization, U.S.
    JEL: D72 L82 N42
    Date: 2022–06
  3. By: Choi, Jaerim; Lim, Sunghun
    Abstract: This paper provides evidence on the effects of US and Chinese trade policies on the 2020 US presidential election. In response to a series of US tariffs imposed on Chinese goods, China imposed retaliatory tariffs, especially on US agricultural products, which largely affected Republican-leaning counties. The US government then subsidized US farmers by providing direct payments through the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) to mitigate the Chinese retaliatory tariffs. Using the universe of actual county-level MFP disbursement data, we first document that US agricultural subsidies relative to the Chinese retaliatory tariff exposure were especially higher in solidly Republican counties, implying that Trump allocated rents in exchange for political patronage. Then, we find that US agricultural subsidies outweighed Chinese retaliatory tariffs and led to an increase in the Republican vote share in the 2020 presidential election. Finally, we uncover evidence that China’s retaliatory trade policy and US agricultural policy exacerbated political polarization in the US, especially the rural-urban divide.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, International Relations/Trade, Political Economy, Public Economics
    Date: 2022–04
  4. By: Carozzi, Felipe; Cipullo, Davide; Repetto, Luca
    Abstract: This paper studies how political fragmentation affects government stability. Using a regression discontinuity design, we show that each additional party with representation in the local parliament increases the probability that the incumbent government is unseated by 5 percentage points. The entry of an additional party affects stability by reducing the probability of a single-party majority and increasing the instability of governments when such a majority is not available. We interpret our results in light of a bargaining model of coalition formation featuring government instability.
    Keywords: government; stability; fragmentation; no-confidence votes; bargaining
    JEL: C78 D72 H70
    Date: 2022–04–01
  5. By: Rabah Arezki; Simeon Djankov; Ha Nguyen; Ivan Yotzov
    Abstract: We explore the effect of oil import price shocks on political outcomes using a worldwide dataset on elections of chief executives. Oil import price shocks cause a reduction in the odds of reelection of incumbents, an increase in media chatter about fuel prices, and an increase in non-violent protests. These results are present in democracies but absent in autocracies. To explain the dichotomy, we show that the pass-through from international to domestic fuel prices is limited in autocracies with adverse consequences on levels of debt and international reserves. The results point to the interdependence of goods markets and politics.
    Keywords: elections, democracy, autocracy, incumbent, oil prices, economic shocks
    JEL: D72 E21 P16 Q43
    Date: 2022
  6. By: Julia Cage (ECON - Département d'économie (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR); Edgard Dewitte (ECON - Département d'économie (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: We study electoral campaigns over the long run, through the lens of their spending. In particular, we ask whether changing media technologies and electoral environments impacted patterns of spending and their correlation with electoral results. To do so, we build a novel exhaustive dataset on general elections in the United Kingdom from 1857 to 2017, which includes information on campaign spending (itemized by expense categories), electoral outcomes and socio-demographic characteristics for 69, 042 election-constituency candidates. We start by providing new insights on the history of British political campaigns, in particular the growing importance of advertising material, including via digital means, to the detriment of paid staff and electoral meetings. We then show that there is a strong positive correlation between expenditures and votes, and that overall the magnitude of this relationship has strongly increased since the 1880s, with a peak in the last quarter of the 20th century. We link these transformations to changes in the conduct of campaigns, and to the introduction of new information technologies. We show in particular that the expansion of local radio and broadband Internet increased the sensitivity of the electoral results to differences in campaign spending. These results encourage greater contextualization in the drafting of campaign finance regulations.
    Keywords: Elections,Campaign finance,Electoral expenditures,Information technologies
    Date: 2021–09–01
  7. By: Yasmine Bekkouche (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS-PSL - 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
  8. By: Alberto Alesina; Marco Tabellini
    Abstract: We review the growing literature on the political economy of immigration. First, we discuss the effects of immigration on a wide range of political and social outcomes. The existing evidence suggests that immigrants often, but not always, trigger backlash, increasing support for anti-immigrant parties and lowering preferences for redistribution and diversity among natives. Next, we unpack the channels behind the political effects of immigration, distinguishing between economic and non-economic forces. In examining the mechanisms, we highlight important mediating factors, such as misperceptions, the media, and the conditions under which inter-group contact occurs. We also outline promising avenues for future research.
    JEL: D72 J15 J61 Z1
    Date: 2022–05
  9. By: Julia Cage (ECON - Département d'économie (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, LIEPP - Laboratoire interdisciplinaire d'évaluation des politiques publiques (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po); Edgard Dewitte (ECON - Département d'économie (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, LIEPP - Laboratoire interdisciplinaire d'évaluation des politiques publiques (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po)
    Abstract: This paper studies electoral campaigns over the long run, through the lens of their spending. In particular, we ask whether changing media technologies and electoral environments have impacted patterns of campaign spending, and their correlation with electoral results. To do so, we build a novel exhaustive dataset on general elections in the United Kingdom from 1857 to 2017, which in­cludes information on campaign spending (itemized by expense categories), electoral outcomes and socio­demographic characteristics for 69,042 election­-constituency­-candidates. We start by providing new insights on the history of British political campaigns, documenting in particular the growing importance of advertising material (including via digital means), to the detriment of paid staff and electoral meetings. Using a saturated fixed effects model, we then show that there is a strong positive correlation between expenditures and votes, and that overall the magnitude of this relationship has strongly increased since the 1880s, peaking in the last quarter of the 20th century. We link these transformations to changes in the conduct of campaigns, and to the introduction of new information technologies. We show in particular that the expansion of local radio and broadband Internet increased the sensitivity of the electoral results to differences in campaign spending.
    Abstract: Cet article étudie les campagnes électorales sur le long terme, à travers le prisme de leurs dépenses. En particulier, nous investiguons l'impact des évolutions majeures dans les technologies de l'information et les contextes électoraux sur les niveaux, allocations et influences des dépenses des candidats. Pour ce faire, nous construisons un nouvel ensemble de données exhaustif sur les élections générales au Royaume­-Uni de 1857 à 2017, qui comprend des informations sur les dépenses de campagne (détaillées par catégories de dépenses), les résultats électoraux et les caractéristiques socio­démographiques de 69042 candidats­-élections­-circonscriptions. Nous commençons par apporter de nouveaux éclairages sur l'histoire des campagnes politiques britanniques, en documentant notamment l'importance croissante du matériel publicitaire (y compris via des moyens numériques), au détriment du personnel rémunéré et des meetings électoraux. À l'aide d'un modèle à effets fixes, nous montrons ensuite qu'il existe une forte corrélation positive entre les dépenses des candidats et les résultats électoraux de ceux ­ci, et que, dans l'ensemble, la magnitude de cette relation a fortement augmenté depuis les années 1880, pour atteindre un pic dans le dernier quart du XXe siècle. Nous lions ces transformations à des changements dans les stratégies de campagne et à l'introduction de nouvelles technologies de l'information. Nous montrons en particulier que l'expansion de la radio locale et de l'ADSL a augmenté la sensibilité des résultats électoraux aux différences de dépenses de campagne.
    Keywords: Electoral campaigns,Campaign spending,Elections
    Date: 2022–03–10
  10. By: Holger Herz; Deborah Kistler; Christian Zehnder; Christian Zihlmann
    Abstract: We empirically assess whether hindsight bias has consequences on how citizens evaluate their political actors. Using an incentivized elicitation technique, we demonstrate that people systematically misremember their past policy preferences regarding how to best fight the Covid-19 pandemic. At the peak of the first wave in the United States, the average respondent mistakenly believes they supported significantly stricter restrictions at the onset of the first wave than they actually did. Exogenous variation in the extent of hindsight bias, induced through random assignment to survey structures, allows us to show that hindsight bias causally reduces trust in government.
    Keywords: hindsight bias, trust in government, evaluation distortion, biased beliefs
    JEL: D72 D83 D91
    Date: 2022
  11. By: Stefano DellaVigna; Woojin Kim
    Abstract: Economists have studied the impact of numerous state laws, from welfare rules to voting ID requirements. Yet for all this policy evaluation, what do we know about policy diffusion—how these policies spread from state to state? We present a series of facts based on a data set of over 700 U.S. state policies spanning the past 7 decades. First, considering the introduction of new laws, state capacity seems to have a small role, in that larger and richer states are only slightly more likely to innovate policy. Second, the diffusion of policies from 1950 to 2000 is best predicted by proximity: a state is more likely to adopt a policy if nearby states have already done so. Third, instead since 2000, political alignment outperforms geographic proximity in predicting diffusion. Fourth, the diffusion of COVID state policies, as opposed to vaccination mandates since the 1970s, follows similar patterns of political polarization. Models of learning and correlated preferences could account for these patterns, including the decreased role of geography over time, if ideas spread more easily and preference correlation has become more political than geographical. We document, however, a role for party control: similarity in state party control predicts policy adoption in the last two decades, even controlling for voter political preferences. We conclude that party polarization has emerged as a key factor recently for policy adoption. Finally, building on these results, we broadly classify the patterns of policy diffusion in a set of difference-in-differences papers.
    JEL: D04 H3 J68
    Date: 2022–06
  12. By: Astghik Mavisakalyan; Yashar Tarverdi
    Abstract: This paper adds to knowledge on the role of politicians' and voters' identities in influencing policy-making in societies marked by ethnic inequality. The outcome we investigate is the initiatives and policies targeting Indigenous populations in the context of Australia. We ask whether and how politicians' and voters' identities, defined based on a range of their observable characteristics, shape initiation and support of Indigenous-focused policies.
    Keywords: Politician, Identity, Voting behaviour, Political ideology, Ethnic inequality, Indigenous peoples, Policy
    Date: 2022
  13. By: Elisa Mougin (ECON - Département d'économie (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: The aim of the thesis is to delve into some of the determinants of the supply side of the information market, and consider the possible implications that those determinants can have on societies and political systems. The three chapters are independent from each other and can be read separately. They are three studies on three questions in media economics and aim at contributing to the debate on how information is produced and with with consequences.As the main methodology, I use tools from applied microeconomics to quantitatively isolate relationships between one determinant of the production function of information and discourse, or content, as my outcome of interest. I also borrow to the political science literature and studies in communication to better discuss the pattern emphasized through data analysis.In the first chapter, I consider parameters that affect media capture, and how the perceptions of the likelihood to find a story to disclose and the characteristics of the market influence the different forms of pressures over media outlets over the world. In the second chapter, I look into the influence of money on political discourse and investigates how receiving donations from firms can affect candidates discourse, in an analysis of political manifestos issued by candidates to the French legislative election. In the third chapter, I study the impact of technological change on media content and political behavior. More precisely, I look at the effect of the introduction of digital TV in Kenya on news content and on political preferences during the presidential election of 2017. Hence, the three chapters of this dissertation illustrate the complexity of the media landscape and of the determinants of the political discourse. Building on the existing results from the literature and using a large range of methods, I try to contribute to the general debate on the challenges pertaining to today's world of information and entertainment, in its multifaceted aspects.
    Abstract: Cette thèse porte principalement sur l'étude des déterminants de l'offre du marché de l'information, et cherche à examiner comment ces multiples facteurs peuvent influencer nos sociétés ou systèmes politiques. Les trois chapitres sont indépendants les uns des autres et peuvent être lus séparément. Ils constituent trois études dans le champ de l'économie des médias et visent à contribuer au débat sur les modes de production de l'information et leurs possibles effets.Pour mettre en évidence les relations entre un déterminant donné de la fonction de production de l'information, et discours le contenu produit, j'utilise une variété de méthodes, tenant principalement de la microéconomie appliquée. J'emprunte également aux méthodes utilisées en science politique et en sciences de la communication, afin de mieux mettre en perspective et interpréter les résultats tirés de l'analyse quantitative des données. Dans le premier chapitre, nous analysons les paramètres qui affectent la capture de médias, et comment les perceptions de la probabilité qu'une enquête journalistique aboutisse à la publication d'une information inédite, et les caractéristiques du marché influencent les différentes formes de pression exercées sur les médias dans le monde. Dans le deuxième chapitre, nous étudions l'influence de l'argent sur le discours des hommes et femmes politiques : il est question de comprendre comment le fait de recevoir des dons de la part d'entreprises privées peut affecter le discours des candidats. Pour ce faire, nous analysons les professions de foi publiées par les candidats aux élections législatives françaises dans les années 1990. Dans le troisième chapitre, je m'intéresse aux possibles impacts du changement technologique sur la production des contenus et le comportement politique des citoyens. Plus précisément, j'étudie l'effet de l'introduction de la télévision numérique au Kenya sur l'information télévisuelle et comment les programmes ont affecté les préférences politiques lors de l'élection présidentielle de 2017.
    Keywords: Media,Political economy,Information,Elections,Médias,Economie politique
    Date: 2021–10–01
  14. By: Löw, Franziska (Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg)
    Abstract: The dynamics of online news and political outcomes have been of high interest in various research fields in recent years. This paper provides a new method to estimate media bias using a structural topic model and cosine similarity to test slanting toward different political actors. For the empirical analysis, the content of German online newspapers and press releases of German parties during the election campaign before the federal election in 2017 is analyzed. Following the assumption that a) potential media bias is demand-driven and b) election results can be used as a proxy for reader beliefs, the results show that news articles of most newspapers slant towards AfD topics. Furthermore, we find evidence for the hypothesis that the election day results in changes in news coverage since newspapers can observe the true beliefs of readers.
    Keywords: Media; Bias; Structural topic model; Text analysis
    JEL: C20 D72 L82
    Date: 2022–06–14
  15. By: Julie Litchfield (Department of Economics, University of Sussex); Elodie Douarin (School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London); Fatlinda Gashi (Department of Economics, University of Sussex)
    Abstract: We study the effect of the 1998-99 Kosovo war on current levels of political participation, disaggregating our analysis by the type of conflict experience, namely death or injury to self or a family member, or displacement, and by gender. We show that conflict is associated with more political participation, but with important distinctions between genders in terms of the form of participation and the experience itself. Displacement is associated with more voting among women, but not among men, and with more demonstrating by men but weaker or no effects for women; death and injury are associated with more political party membership for men, but not women. We argue that while experiences of conflict do generally increase levels of political participation, the form that this takes varies by gender, with effects on private, civic, action among women, and effects on direct, public, active, arguably more emotionally heightened engagement among men.
    Keywords: conflict, political participation, gender
    JEL: D74 O17 Z13
    Date: 2021–10
  16. By: Benjamin Crost (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
    Abstract: This paper provides evidence that adverse economic conditions contributed to the rise of anti-democratic extremism in the United States. A state-level analysis shows that increases in the unemployment rate during the Great Recession led to a large increase in the number of anti-democratic extremist groups. Further analysis shows that anti-democratic extremism is most strongly affected by the male unemployment rate and the white unemployment rate, consistent with the observation that most members of these extremist groups are white men. The effect of unemployment is concentrated in states with high pre-existing racial resentment, proxied by the number of racist web searches at baseline. If unemployment had remained at its pre-recession level, the increase in anti-democratic groups between 2007 and 2010 could have been reduced by more than 60%.
    Keywords: Great Recession, Economic Conditions, Unemployment, Anti-Democratic Extremism, Anti-Government Movement
    JEL: D72 D74 H56
    Date: 2021–07
  17. By: Deni Mazrekaj; Vitezslav Titl; Fritz Schiltz
    Abstract: This article introduces machine learning techniques to identify politically connected firms. By assembling information from publicly available sources and the Orbis company database, we constructed a novel firm population dataset from Czechia in which various forms of political connections can be determined. The data about firms’ connections are unique and comprehensive. They include political donations by the firm, having members of managerial boards who donated to a political party, and having members of boards who ran for political office. The results indicate that over 85% of firms with political connections can be accurately identified by the proposed algorithms. The model obtains this high accuracy by using only firm-level financial and industry indicators that are widely available in most countries. We propose that machine learning algorithms should be used by public institutions to identify politically connected firms with potentially large conflicts of interests, and we provide easy to implement R code to replicate our results.
    Keywords: Political Connections, Corruption, Prediction, Machine Learning
    Date: 2021
  18. By: Stensholt, Eivind (Dept. of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics)
    Abstract: In MMP-elections (Mixed Member Proportional representation), a QP-ballot contains a first-vote for party Q’s candidate in a single-seat constituency and a second-vote for a list of candidates from party P in one common tally. In split ballots P≠Q. Traditional accounting (e.g. in Bundestag elections) does not record a ballot’s combination of first- and second-vote; collecting them in separate ballot boxes will not change the result. The assembly size is out of control (111 extra-ordinary list seats in 2017 (137 in 2021). Faithful accounting uses these combinations to obtain a predetermined size (the law’s Bundestag norm is 299 list seats), while still complying with MMP’s proportionality rule. The Federal Constitutional Court emphasizes the principle of all voters’ equal influence on the result. In 2017 and 2021 many split QP-ballots gave full support to two winners, but QQ-ballots only to one (Q=CSU). Faithful accounting removes this and some other inequalities in voters’ influence on the election outcome. The 2017 election achieved a unique transparency by giving top priority to (strict) proportionality. As the main example, it allows the following exposition of MMP with faithful accounting. A broader discussion in a wider setting, with references, is found in The Structure of MMP-elections.
    Keywords: Mixed member proportional; equal influence; assembly size; split ballots; faithful accounting
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2022–06–21
  19. By: Soroush Ebadian; Anson Kahng; Nisarg Shah; Dominik Peters
    Abstract: A voting rule decides on a probability distribution over a set of $m$ alternatives, based on rankings of those alternatives provided by agents. We assume that agents have cardinal utility functions over the alternatives, but voting rules have access to only the rankings induced by these utilities. We evaluate how well voting rules do on measures of social welfare and of proportional fairness, computed based on the hidden utility functions. In particular, we study the distortion of voting rules, which is a worst-case measure. It is an approximation ratio comparing the utilitarian social welfare of the optimum outcome to the welfare of the outcome selected by the voting rule, in the worst case over possible input profiles and utility functions that are consistent with the input. The literature has studied distortion with unit-sum utility functions, and left a small asymptotic gap in the best possible distortion. Using tools from the theory of fair multi-winner elections, we propose the first voting rule which achieves the optimal distortion $\Theta(\sqrt{m})$ for unit-sum utilities. Our voting rule also achieves optimum $\Theta(\sqrt{m})$ distortion for unit-range and approval utilities. We then take a similar worst-case approach to a quantitative measure of the fairness of a voting rule, called proportional fairness. Informally, it measures whether the influence of cohesive groups of agents on the voting outcome is proportional to the group size. We show that there is a voting rule which, without knowledge of the utilities, can achieve an $O(\log m)$-approximation to proportional fairness, the best possible approximation. As a consequence of its proportional fairness, we show that this voting rule achieves $O(\log m)$ distortion with respect to Nash welfare, and provides an $O(\log m)$-approximation to the core, making it interesting for applications in participatory budgeting.
    Date: 2022–05
  20. By: Jyotsna Jha; Niveditha Menon; Neha Ghatak
    Abstract: This paper analyses the political economy of women's-empowerment-related policy-making in India through a re-examination of the context of both the genesis and closure of a major programme, Mahila Samakhya. Mahila Samakhya, which embodied feminist philosophy and pedagogy, started in 1987 with the aim of creating the education-based empowerment of Dalit and Adivasi women in rural India, and was inexplicably shut down in 2014.
    Keywords: Women's empowerment, Feminism, Collectivization, Local history, Political economy, Feminist economics
    Date: 2022

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