nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2022‒10‒17
eight papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Political Culture and Democratisation By Lourdes Rojas Rubio
  2. Drought-Reliefs and Partisanship By Federico Boffa; Francisco Cavalcanti; Christian Fons-Rosen; Amedeo Piolatto
  3. A Mathematical Analysis of the 2022 Alaska Special Election for US House By Adam Graham-Squire; David McCune
  4. (Not) Addressing Issues in Electoral Campaigns By Salvador Barberà; Anke Gerber
  5. No Country for Young People? The Rise of Anti-Immigration Politics in Ageing Societies By Valerio Dotti
  6. Citizens’ Protests: causes and consequences. A Research on Regime Change and Revolutionary Entrepreneurs by Bueno De Mesquita By Mario Gilli; Filippo Giorgini
  7. The influence of economic disparities of regions on political polarization in Czech Republic By Ondrej Rolnik
  8. Populist attitudes, fiscal illusion and fiscal preferences: evidence from Dutch households By Jante Parlevliet; Massimo Giuliodori; Matthijs Rooduijn

  1. By: Lourdes Rojas Rubio (Université de Cergy-Pontoise, THEMA)
    Abstract: This research claims that the transmission of political-culture matters for the transition toward democracy and for becoming a stable democracy. However, some important long-standing unresolved issues and some contextual factors of a society affect the strength of the political transmission of preferences. They influence the steady state of the share of citizens who prefer a democratic system and, hence, the probability of democratisation for autocratic societies and the probability of remaining a democracy for democratic societies. A model of political-cultural transmission with overlapping generations is developed to examine the effect of inequality, democratic effectiveness, corruption, elite uncertainty and extra-elite socialisation on the probability of becoming or remaining a democracy, through their impact on the transmission of political preferences in the long run among citizens. The theoretical analysis shows that; in autocracies, inequality, elite uncertainty, and extra-elite socialisation increase the transmission of democratic political culture, which in turn increases the probability of democratisation. In counterpart, in democracies, inequality and corruption decrease the transmission of democratic political culture and, therefore, the probability of remaining in democracy.
    Date: 2022
  2. By: Federico Boffa; Francisco Cavalcanti; Christian Fons-Rosen; Amedeo Piolatto
    Abstract: We analyse partisan biases in the allocation of central discretionary transfers in a federal country. We study drought aid-relief in Brazil, where presidential and municipal elections alternate every two years, to identify a novel pattern of distributive politics, determined by the sequence of central and local elections. In particular, we show that alignment advantage materialises only in the period before municipal elections, while it disappears in the period before presidential elections. Furthermore, we show that even before mayoral elections partisanship only counts for districts with intermediate levels of aridity, where being aligned causes an increase by a factor of almost two (equivalent to +18.1 p.p.) in the chances of receiving aid-relief. We rationalise this pattern in a model with office-motivated politicians and rational voters.
    Keywords: federalism, distributive politics, partisan alignment, presidential elections, aridity, Brazil
    JEL: D72 H11 H7
    Date: 2022–03
  3. By: Adam Graham-Squire; David McCune
    Abstract: The August 2022 Alaska Special Election for US House contained many interesting features from the perspective of social choice theory. This election used instant runoff voting (often referred to as ranked choice voting) to elect a winner, and many of the weaknesses of this voting method were on display in this election. For example, the Condorcet winner is different from the instant runoff winner, and the election demonstrated a monotonicity paradox. The election also demonstrated a no show paradox; as far as we are aware, this election represents the first document American ranked choice election to demonstrate this paradox.
    Date: 2022–09
  4. By: Salvador Barberà; Anke Gerber
    Abstract: Two candidates competing for election may raise some issues for debate during the electoral campaign, while avoiding others. We present a model in which the decision to introduce an issue, or to reply to the opponent’s position on one that she raised, may result in further additions to the list of topics that end up being discussed. Candidates’ strategic decisions are driven by their appraisal of their expected vote share at the end of the campaign. Our analysis appeals to a protocol-free equilibrium concept, and predicts the list of topics that will be touched upon by each candidate, and the order in which they might be addressed. We show that important phenomena observed during campaigns, like the convergence of the parties to address the same issues, or else their diverging choice on which ones to treat, or the relevance of issue ownership can be explained within our stark basic model.
    Keywords: electoral campaigns, issues, equilibrium sets of continuation, campaigns, issue convergence, issue divergence, issue ownership
    JEL: D72 P16
    Date: 2022–06
  5. By: Valerio Dotti (Department of Economics, University Of Venice CÃ Foscari)
    Abstract: We investigate the effects of (1) population ageing and (2) rising income inequality on immigration policies using a citizen-candidate model of elections. In each period, young people work and pay taxes while old people receive social security payments. Immigrants are all young, meaning they contribute significantly to financing the cost of public services and social security. Among natives, the elderly and the poor benefit the most from public spending. However, because these two types of voters do not internalise the positive fiscal effects of immigration, they have a common interest in supporting candidates who seek to curb immigration and increase the tax burden on high-income individuals. Population ageing and rising income inequality increase the size and, in turn, the political power of such sociodemographic groups, resulting in more restrictive immigration policies, a larger public sector, higher tax rates, and lower societal well-being. Calibrating the model to UK data suggests that the magnitude of these effects is large. The implications of this model are shown to be consistent with patterns observed in UK attitudinal data.
    Keywords: Immigration, Ageing, Policy, Voting
    JEL: D72 J61 J14 H55
    Date: 2022
  6. By: Mario Gilli (Department of Economics, Management and Statistics and Center for European Studies, University of Milano-Bicocca); Filippo Giorgini (Department of Economics, Management and Statistics and Center for European Studies, University of Milano-Bicocca)
    Abstract: Citizens political participation to protests is a crucial issue for any political system, whether democratic or autocratic. Political systems have different ways of dealing with citizens’ protests, determining cost and benefit of public dissent, responding to public requests and allowing different degree of transparency in public information. Also the social characteristics of a country, such as citizens’ diversity and radicalization, matter for citizens political participation. The aim of this paper is to analyze causes and consequences of citizens’ protests, focusing on how private and public information affect citizens’ opinion and political behavior, and on how they depend on sociopolitical factors as well as on the political regime. In Regime Change and Revolutionary Entrepreneurs, Bueno de Mesquita proposed a seminal model to study why revolutionary vanguards might use violence to mobilize citizens against a regime. We claim that the model can be used more generally to investigate citizens’ protest. We refer to his model to understand citizens’ political behavior, studying the relationship between the model’s structural parameters and the causes and consequences of citizens’protests, adopting a partially different approach and extending his results.
    Keywords: protests, political regimes, sociopolitical variables
    JEL: C72 D74 P48
    Date: 2022–09
  7. By: Ondrej Rolnik (Department of Economics, Faculty of Business and Economics, Mendel University in Brno, Zemedelska 1, 613 00 Brno, Czech Republic)
    Abstract: The aim of the paper is to prove a hypothesis concerning the causality of economic well-being and political polarization in the state. The causality is proven in all regions of the Czech Republic on the observed data set, from 1993 to the present. The evidence was provided by expressing the economic well-being by three indicators, i.e., gross domestic product per capita, unemployment and disposable income per capita in combination with the development of a created polarization index. This index depends on the left-right ideological party division combined with election results in the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic for regional districts. Socio-demographic indicators of the development of individual regions were used as control variables. These include, the average state of the population, the share of university-educated people in the average state of the population, age indicators, the population density of a given region, or voter turnout in a given election year. The most important variable of the economic well-being influencing the development of polarization is the disposable income of households. The proof is accomplished by quantitative economic analysis using the Least Squares Method.
    Keywords: polarization, politics, economic well-being, Czech Republic, gross domestic product, disposable income, unemployment, political economics
    JEL: D72 E61 I31 P16
    Date: 2022–09
  8. By: Jante Parlevliet; Massimo Giuliodori; Matthijs Rooduijn
    Abstract: It is well documented that the public is often poorly informed about economic facts and mechanisms. In the domain of fiscal policy, this may make voters susceptible to favour spending, while underestimating its costs (fiscal illusion). While politicians typically have a comparative advantage in economic policymaking, voters may be less inclined to rely on proposals for prudent fiscal policy if they do not believe that these politicians act in their best interest – an idea that in recent decades has become more prevalent. Using a novel dataset from the Netherlands, this paper assesses whether people with strong populist ideas also report significantly more expansionary fiscal preferences, and whether populist attitudes reinforce the risk of fiscal illusion. We find that (i) populist attitudes indeed come with more expansionary preferences, (ii) literacy and information provision – which have the potential to alleviate the occurrence of fiscal illusion – contribute to less expansionary fiscal preferences and (iii) the effect of literacy is conditional on the level of populist sentiment. In particular, we find that poorly literate respondents report significantly higher support for tax relief only when they hold strong populist attitudes, but not when they have more favourable attitudes towards the elite.
    Keywords: fiscal preferences; literacy; information; fiscal illusion; populism
    JEL: D72 D74 D83 E62 F52 G53 H23 H31
    Date: 2021–11

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