nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2022‒10‒10
seven papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Why do we vote? Evidence on expressive voting. By Raisa Sherif
  2. Do Unions Shape Political Ideologies at Work? By Matzat, Johannes; Schmeißer, Aiko
  3. Does Demography Determine Democratic Attitudes? By Kotschy, Rainer; Sunde, Uwe
  4. “Votes for Women” on the edge of urbanization By Pantelis Kammas; Vassilis Sarantides
  5. How Trump triumphed: Multi-candidate primaries with buffoons By Castanheira, Micael; Huck, Steffen; Leutgeb, Johannes; Schotter, Andrew
  6. Income Contingency and the Electorate's Support for Tuition By Lergetporer, Philipp; Woessmann, Ludger
  7. Trust Institutions, Perceptions of Economic Performance and the Mitigating role of Political Diversity By Samba Diop; Simplice A. Asongu

  1. By: Raisa Sherif
    Abstract: Despite the likelihood of an individual vote changing the final outcome is close to zero and voting is not costless, we see significant voter turnout in elections. Voters are often guided by reasons other than changing the outcome, collectively called the ‘expressive motives’. This paper uses an online survey conducted in the United States to identify several expressive voting motives and quantify the relative importance of each of them. One of the main reasons for respondents go to polls is the desire to be part of the democratic process irrespective of whether they can change the outcome. Many of the respondents also believe that if they do not vote, they cannot complain about the government or the state of the democracy at a later stage. Individuals who belong to minority groups are likely to state that they turn out to vote because voting is a privilege not extended to past generations. The likelihood that an individual votes expressively is positively correlated with other expressive political behaviours like donations to political parties, participating in a demonstration, and posting political opinions online. Older individuals and those with higher income and education levels are also more likely to state that they engage in expressive voting.
    Date: 2022–02
  2. By: Matzat, Johannes; Schmeißer, Aiko
    Abstract: Labor unions' largest potential for political influence likely arises from their direct connection to millions of individuals at the workplace. There they may change the political views of both unionizing workers as well as of their non-unionizing management which is arguably the most relevant out-group. In this paper, we analyze the impact of unionization on workers' and managers' campaign contributions at the workplace over the 1980-2016 period in the United States. Therefore, we combine establishment-level union election data with transaction-level campaign contributions to federal and local candidates. In stacked Difference-in-Differences models, we find that unionization results in a leftward shift of campaign contributions. Unionization increases the support for Democrats relative to Republicans not only among workers but also among managers. To test the validity of these findings, we perform Regression Discontinuity exercises which show that there are no differential trends along placebo vote share cutoffs and that the results hold when comparing increasingly close elections. Moreover, we provide evidence that our results are not driven by compositional changes of the workforce.
    Date: 2022–09–16
  3. By: Kotschy, Rainer (Harvard University); Sunde, Uwe (LMU Munich)
    Abstract: This paper presents new evidence on how demography affects democratic attitudes in Western democracies. Using individual survey responses, the empirical analysis disentangles age from cohort patterns and other contemporaneous economic and political influences that shape democratic attitudes. The results reveal that support for democracy increases with age and is lower for more recent birth cohorts. These patterns are more pronounced in Western democracies than in the former Eastern bloc and in other countries around the world. Additional findings document that demography's effect partly captures heterogeneity in experiences with democracy, and that socioeconomic factors impact democratic attitudes.
    Keywords: support for democracy; age-periods-cohort models; population aging; demographic composition; stability of democracy; modernization hypothesis;
    JEL: D72 O17 O43 P48
    Date: 2022–09–13
  4. By: Pantelis Kammas (Athens University of Economics and Business, Patission 76, Athens 10434, Greece); Vassilis Sarantides (Department of Economics, University of Sheffield, 9 Mappin Str, Sheffield S1 4DT, UK)
    Abstract: This paper explores the existence of a gender voting gap in an economy that lies on the edge of urbanization. Building on a unique community level dataset for Greece in 1950s we investigate: (i) the impact of women’s enfranchisement on party vote shares and (ii) the role of female labour force participation on the observed gender voting gap. Our analysis provides strong evidence in favour of the “traditional gender voting gap” (women vote more conservatively compared to men) in the urbanized communities of our sample, and no gender voting differences in the rural ones. Our empirical findings also suggest that the observed gender voting gap is highly conditional upon the level of “Out of Labour Force” female population. This is because in an economic environment characterized by limited demand of female labour force, women tend to support more vigorously the sanctity of family values and therefore vote more conservatively compared to men.
    Keywords: women’s suffrage; political preferences; women’s labour market participation
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2022–08
  5. By: Castanheira, Micael; Huck, Steffen; Leutgeb, Johannes; Schotter, Andrew
    Abstract: While people on all sides of the political spectrum were amazed that Donald Trump won the Republican nomination this paper demonstrates that Trump's victory was not a crazy event but rather the equilibrium outcome of a multi-candidate race where one candidate, the buffoon, is viewed as likely to self-destruct and hence unworthy of attack. We model such primaries as a truel (a three-way duel), solve for its equilibrium, and test its implications in a laboratory experiment. We find that people recognize a buffoon when they see one and aim their attacks elsewhere with the unfortunate consequence that the buffoon has an enhanced probability of winning. This result is strongest amongst those subjects who demonstrate an ability to best respond suggesting that our results would only be stronger when the game is played by experts and for higher stakes.
    Keywords: truel,political primaries,Trump
    JEL: C72 C92 D72 D74
    Date: 2022
  6. By: Lergetporer, Philipp (TU Munich and ifo Institute); Woessmann, Ludger (LMU Munich and ifo Institute)
    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: H52 I22 D72
    Date: 2022–01–18
  7. By: Samba Diop (Alioune Diop University, Bambey, Senegal); Simplice A. Asongu (Yaoundé, Cameroon)
    Abstract: Several previous studies have explored the nexus between trust and socio-economic conditions but do not attempt to examine channels through which the relation operates. In this paper, we examine how political fractionalization mitigates the positive relationship between trust institutions and national economic performance in Africa. Using Round 7 data of Afrobarometer in over 1000 districts in 34 countries, we find that trust institutions positively and significantly affect economic performance. Nevertheless, the positive effect is attenuated in districts with a high level of political diversity. More specifically, a higher level of trust is associated with lower economic performance at a higher level of political fractionalization and vice versa, with a steady linear decrease of the estimated coefficients. Policy implications are discussed.
    Keywords: Trust institutions; economic performance; political diversity
    JEL: K00 O10 P16 P43 P50
    Date: 2022–09

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