nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2022‒11‒21
fourteen papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Climate Change and Political Participation: Evidence from India By Amrit Amirapu; Irma Clots-Figueras; Juan Pablo Rud
  2. Obvious Manipulations of tops-only Voting Rules By R. Pablo Arribillaga; Agustin Bonifacio
  3. The Political Consequences of Green Policies: Evidence from Italy By Italo Colantone; Livio Di Donaldo; Yotam Margalit; Marco Percoco
  4. Electoral Turnovers By Benjamin Marx; Vincent Pons; Vincent Rollet
  5. Political Advertising by Special Interest Groups and Voter Participation: The Effects of Less Restrictive Campaign Finance Rules Following Citizens United By Balles, Patrick
  6. Revealed in transition : The political effect of planning’s legacy By Natkhov, Timur; Pyle, William
  7. Inequality, Corruption and Support for Democracy By Lourdes ROJAS RUBIO
  8. Cash Transfer and Voter Turnout By Alexander James; Nathaly M. Rivera; Brock Smith
  9. Competition, Benchmarking, and Electoral Success: Evidence from 65 years of the German Bundestag By Frank, Marco; Stadelmann, David
  10. Rise in public approval of religious extremism in Pakistan By Kazmi, Syeda Ulya Ehsen
  11. COVID-19 Vaccination, Political Partisanship, and Moral Values By Piergiuseppe Fortunato; Alessio Lombini
  12. A Glimpse of Freedom: Allied Occupation and Political Resistance in East Germany By Martinez, Luis R.; Jessen, Jonas; Xu, Guo
  13. Subnational democratization and the onset of the Mexican drug war By Luis Sanchez; Vassilis Sarantides
  14. Increasing Inequality and Voting for Basic Income: Could Gender Inequality Worsen? By Creina Day

  1. By: Amrit Amirapu; Irma Clots-Figueras; Juan Pablo Rud
    Abstract: Can democratic politics provide a means for responding to climate change? We explore this question by studying the effects of extreme temperatures on Indian elections between 2009 and 2017. We find that areas exposed to extreme temperatures experience an increase in voter turnout and a change in the composition of the pool of candidates who stand for election. As a consequence, electoral outcomes are affected. We provide evidence that the negative effect of climate change on agricultural productivity is the most important driver of our results. In particular, we show that the positive relationship between temperatures and turnout mirrors the negative effect on agricultural productivity and we find that winning candidates are more likely to have an agricultural background. Politicians with an agricultural background invest more on irrigation, which mitigates the effects of high temperatures, both on agricultural production and on turnout. Our paper provides new evidence about the ways in which agents in developing countries (including both voters and candidates) may respond to climate change via political channels.
    Keywords: climate change; political economy; voter turnout
    JEL: O13 P48 Q54
    Date: 2022–11
  2. By: R. Pablo Arribillaga (Universidad Nacional de San Luis/CONICET); Agustin Bonifacio (Universidad Nacional de San Luis/CONICET)
    Abstract: In a voting problem with a finite set of alternatives to choose from, we study the manipulation of tops-only rules. Since all non-dictatorial (onto) voting rules are manipulable when there are more than two alternatives and all preferences are allowed, we look for rules in which manipulations are not obvious. First, we show that a rule does not have obvious manipulations if and only if when an agent vetoes an alternative it can do so with any preference that does not have such alternative in the top. Second, we focus on two classes of tops-only rules: (i) (generalized) median voter schemes, and (ii) voting by committees. For each class, we identify which rules do not have obvious manipulations on the universal domain of preferences.
    Keywords: obvious manipulations, tops-onlyness, (generalized) median voting schemes, voting by committees, voting by quota.
    JEL: D71 D72
    Date: 2022–11
  3. By: Italo Colantone (Bocconi University, Baffi-Carefin Research Center and CESifo); Livio Di Donaldo (Bocconi University, Dondena Research Center); Yotam Margalit (Tel Aviv University, Department of Political Science); Marco Percoco (Bocconi University, GREEN Research Center)
    Abstract: For many governments, enacting green policies is a priority, but such policies often impose on citizens substantial and uneven costs. How does the introduction of green policies a?ect voting? We study this question in the context of a major ban on polluting cars introduced in Milan, which was strongly opposed by the populist right party Lega. Using several inferential strategies, we show that owners of banned vehicles—who incurred a median loss of €3,750—were significantly more likely to vote for Lega in the subsequent elections. Our analysis indicates that this electoral change did not stem from a broader shift against environmentalism, but rather from disaffection with the policy’s uneven pocketbook implications. In line with this pattern, recipients of compensation from the local government were not more likely to switch to Lega. The findings highlight the central importance of distributive consequences in shaping the political ramifications of green policies.
    Keywords: environmental politics, green policies, distributional consequences.
    JEL: P10 D70 Q50
    Date: 2022–10
  4. By: Benjamin Marx (ECON - Département d'économie (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Vincent Pons (Harvard University [Cambridge], CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR, NBER - National Bureau of Economic Research [New York] - NBER - The National Bureau of Economic Research); Vincent Rollet (MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
    Abstract: In most national elections, voters face a key choice between continuity and change. Electoral turnovers occur when the incumbent candidate or party fails to win reelection. To understand how turnovers affect national outcomes, we study the universe of presidential and parliamentary elections held since 1945. We document the prevalence of turnovers over time and we estimate their effects on economic performance, trade, human development, conflict, and democracy. Using a close-elections regression discontinuity design (RDD) across countries, we show that turnovers improve country performance. These effects are not driven by differences in the characteristics of challengers, or by the fact that challengers systematically increase the level of government intervention in the economy. Electing new leaders leads to more policy change, it improves governance, and it reduces perceived corruption, consistent with the expectation that recently elected leaders exert more effort due to stronger reputation concerns.
    Keywords: Elections,Turnovers,Democracy,Institutions
    Date: 2022–02
  5. By: Balles, Patrick
    JEL: D72 K16 L82
    Date: 2022
  6. By: Natkhov, Timur; Pyle, William
    Abstract: Decades of investment decisions by central planners left communist societies with structures of production ill-prepared for competitive markets. Their vulnerability to liberalization, however, varied across space. Similar to the effects identified in the “China shock” literature, we hypothesize that post-market-shock outcomes will reflect pre-market-shock structures of production. Tracking voting outcomes at the district level in Russia’s presidential elections, we document asymmetric reactions to the liberalization of markets in 1992. Electoral support for the pro-market incumbent declined most in areas with structural inheritances that made them most vulnerable to reforms. This finding sheds new light on an old debate about the importance of “initial conditions” (as opposed to policies) to the trajectories of post-communist societies.
    JEL: N14 N44 P00 P23
    Date: 2022–11–07
  7. By: Lourdes ROJAS RUBIO (Université de Cergy-Pontoise, THEMA)
    Abstract: Do inequality and corruption erode support for democracy? Scholars have long theorised that long-term experience with a political system influences its support. However, the empirical evidence provided is weak. This study examines the effect of inequality and corruption on support for democracy in 119 countries over 30 years. It shows that inequality and corruption have a negative effect on support for democracy. These findings highlight the importance of inequality and corruption as determinants of support for democracy. Furthermore, this article investigates whether the effect of inequality on support for democracy differs between autocratic and democratic countries. It found a positive effect of inequality on support for democracy in autocratic countries. This empirical evidence suggests that the negative effect of inequality on support for democracy comes from long-term experience with a political system that has continually failed to accomplish its principles. The results are robust to different measures of inequality and corruption.
    Keywords: Inequality, corruption, political culture, democracy, support for democracy.
    JEL: C23 C26 D31 D63 D73 H11 Z10 Z18
    Date: 2022
  8. By: Alexander James; Nathaly M. Rivera; Brock Smith
    Abstract: We estimate the effect of cash transfers on voter turnout, leveraging a large-scale natural experiment, the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) program, which provides residents with a check of varying size one month before election day. We find that larger transfers cause people to vote, especially in gubernatorial elections in which a 10% increase in cash ($182) causes a 1.4 percentage point increase in turnout. Effects are concentrated among racial minorities, the young, and poor. There is little evidence that transfers reduce logistical costs of voting, but rather operate by reducing voter apathy among the low-income electorate.
    Date: 2022–10
  9. By: Frank, Marco; Stadelmann, David
    JEL: D72 D78 H11
    Date: 2022
  10. By: Kazmi, Syeda Ulya Ehsen
    Abstract: This working paper aims to explain the rise in public approval of religious extremism in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. To focus on the religiopolitical parties who tend to have an extremist outlook and distinguish them from other religious parties, I present a scale for rating the religiopolitical parties on a spectrum of Moderate to Extremist by analysing their manifestos. Using the votes casted in General Elections of 2013 and 2018, and MICS surveys during the decade of 2010 – 2019 conducted all over Pakistan, and the Census held in 2017, I find a negative relationship between education and votes for religious extremists. On the contrary, there is a positive relation between wealth and the rise of popular support for religious extremism. The analysis of income tax reveals that the higher the income tax filed, the greater the support for religious extremists might be. The results also establish a significant positive relationship between income inequality and support for religious extremists. Furthermore, the urban middle class is more likely to vote for religious extremist parties than the rural poor. The results, however, are not homogenous across all provinces of Pakistan. Nonetheless, they raise important questions worth exploring the factors contributing to the heterogeneity.
    Keywords: Economics of Religion, Political Economy of Religion, Elections, Religious Extremism, Pakistan
    JEL: D72 N35 Z12
    Date: 2022–05–17
  11. By: Piergiuseppe Fortunato; Alessio Lombini
    Abstract: This paper examines the association between political partisanship and willingness to vaccinate against COVID-19 in the US. It shows that those counties with a stronger lead of the Republican candidate during the latest presidential electoral rounds displayed consistently lower vaccination rates (1st and 2nd dose) than swing counties and Democratic strongholds. The paper also examines how partisanship interacts with socio-demographic variables such as education, income per capita, and ethnic composition in affecting vaccination attitudes. The results remain qualitatively unaffected when taking into consideration differences in the timing and intensity of vaccination campaigns across states and the potential endogeneity of political preferences. Our results also highlight how the specific combination of moral values that characterize the Republican electorate might explain the observed association between partisanship and vaccination rates.
    Keywords: COVID-19, Vaccination, Partisanship, Moral Values
    JEL: I12 I18 Z13
    Date: 2022–11
  12. By: Martinez, Luis R. (University of Chicago); Jessen, Jonas (European University Viadrina, Frankfurt / Oder); Xu, Guo (UC Berkeley)
    Abstract: This paper exploits the idiosyncratic line of contact separating Allied and Soviet troops within East Germany at the end of WWII to study political resistance in a non-democracy. When Nazi Germany surrendered, 40% of what would become the authoritarian German Democratic Republic was initially under Allied control but was ceded to Soviet control less than two months later. Brief Allied exposure increased protests during the major 1953 uprising. We use novel data on the appointment of local mayors and a retrospective survey to argue that even a "glimpse of freedom" can foster civilian opposition to dictatorship.
    Keywords: East Germany, political resistance, protest, autocracy, spatial RDD, World War II
    JEL: F51 H10 N44 P20
    Date: 2022–09
  13. By: Luis Sanchez (Department of Economics, University of Sheffield, 9 Mappin Str, Sheffield S1 4DT, UK.); Vassilis Sarantides (Athens University of Economics and Business, Patission 76, Athens 10434, Greece)
    Abstract: The Mexican drug war escalated dramatically since 2007. However, its origin is in the 1990s turf wars involving the main drug trafficking organisations operating in the country. In this study we seek to examine the main cause of turf wars at the municipal level between 1995-2006. In particular, we highlight the significant role of a large-scale land titling reform (PROCEDE) that secured property rights for the electorate, previously controlled by the state party (PRI) for seven decades. Our results indicate that political change at the municipality level after the rollout of PROCEDE is a significant determinant of organised crime deaths (OCDs). We further provide evidence that the effect is exacerbated when municipal political change is combined with a change at the gubernational level. We also show that increased intercartel violence is inextricably linked to the geographic expansion of cartel operations. Overall, the fall of the PRI at the subnational level after the rollout of PROCEDE - to signify its strong local roots - broke the equilibrium between corrupted local officials and local drug cartels making the latter more vulnerable to expansion operations of rival cartels resulting in more OCDs.
    Keywords: land reform; PROCEDE; PRI; democratisation; organised crime deaths
    JEL: D72 K42 O54 Q15
    Date: 2022–10
  14. By: Creina Day
    Abstract: This paper examines the link between political support for basic income funded by linear income taxation and income inequality by household and gender. We develop a model with an increasingly right-skewed distribution of skill across households and a gender wage gap within households. Household preference for basic income decreases as skill level increases and female labour supply decreases with time spent rearing children. Majority voting supports the basic income scheme as mean relative to median household skill increases. Household fertility and skill level are inversely related under the scheme. An increase in the marginal tax rate to fund required government revenue could excacerbate gender inequality by reducing female labour supply. Quantitative illustrations suggest that the recent peak in the mean to median wage gap would provide voting support for basic income from the majority of households in the United States. Basic income of $12,000 conditional on below-median wages would increase government spending by 10.8% which, if funded by progressive income taxation, could reduce the adverse effects on gender inequality.
    Keywords: Basic income, Taxation, Gender inequality, Fertility
    JEL: C60 H24 H53 J13 J16
    Date: 2022–09

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