nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2023‒03‒13
nine papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Replication Report: A Comment on Gethin, Martínez- Toledano & Piketty (2022) By Gong, Da; Hammar, Olle
  2. Electoral Importance and the News Market: Novel Data and Quasi-Experimental Evidence from India By Cagé, Julia; Cassan, Guilhelm; Jensenius, Francesca R.
  3. The determinants of economic institutions and the knock-on effects on GDP per capita By Castro Souza Junior, Jose Ronaldo; Gross, Daniel; Figueiredo, Lizia
  4. What do we learn from politically engaged citizens concerning participatory tools and initiatives? A French perspective By Claire OLLIER
  5. Drain the Swamp: A Theory of Anti-Elite Populism By Gabriele Gratton; Barton E. Lee
  6. War violence, nationalism, and party support: Evidence from Italy By Giacomo Lemoli; Gloria Gennaro
  7. How well-integrated was the sixteenth-century Holy Roman Empire? By Volckart, Oliver
  8. Coping with Private Lobbies in Industrial and Product Safety Regulation: A Literature Survey By Julien Jacob; Caroline Orset Orset
  9. Economic resilience, social dialogue and democracy in wartime: critical reflections on the challenges facing Ukraine’s economy By Cooper, Luke

  1. By: Gong, Da; Hammar, Olle
    Abstract: Gethin, Martínez-Toledano and Piketty (2022) analyze the long-run evolution of political cleavages using a new database on socioeconomic determinants of voting from approximately 300 elections in 21 Western democracies between 1948 and 2020. They find that, in the 1950s and 1960s, voting for the "left" was associated with lower-educated and low-income voters. After that, voting for the "left" has gradually become associated with higher-educated voters, while highincome voters have continued to vote for the "right". In the 2010s, there is a disconnection between the effects of income and education on voting. In this replication, we first conduct a computational reproduction, using the replication package provided by the authors. Second, we do a robustness replication testing to what extent the original results are robust to i) restricting the sample to "core" left and right parties, ii) analyzing the top 80% versus bottom 20%, iii) weighting by population, iv) dropping control variables, and v) using country fixed effects. The main results of the paper are found to be largely replicable and robust.
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Cagé, Julia; Cassan, Guilhelm; Jensenius, Francesca R.
    Abstract: Information conveyed through news media influences political behavior. But to what extent are media markets themselves shaped by political motives? We build a novel panel data set of newspaper markets in India from 2002 to 2017 to measure the impact of changes in electoral importance on how news markets develop over time. We exploit the announcement of an exogenous change in the boundaries of electoral constituencies to causally identify the relationship between the (future) electoral importance of news markets and the change in the number and circulation of newspapers. Using an event-study approach and a staggered difference-in-differences approach, we show that markets that became more electorally important experienced a significant rise in both circulation and the number of titles per capita. Both supply and demand seem to drive the increase, but we estimate that the former explains almost all the variation in the short run and around 60\% in the long run. Finally, we document how effects vary with prior levels of political competition and newspapers’ characteristics, and discuss implications for voting behavior and democratic accountability.
    Keywords: Newspapers, media, India, malapportionment, redistricting
    Date: 2023–03
  3. By: Castro Souza Junior, Jose Ronaldo; Gross, Daniel; Figueiredo, Lizia
    Abstract: There have been only a small number of empirical studies assessing the determinants of economic institutions despite the development of several notable theories regarding their origins and their impact on economic development. In this article, we identify the key determinants of economic institutions highlighted in the theoretical literature and select empirical proxies that best represent them while also ensuring as large a sample of countries as possible. With economic institutions as the dependent variable, we use a dynamic panel data model which allows us to deal with endogeneity problems. Our results indicate that democratic political institutions, years of schooling and political regime duration have a positive and statistically significant effect, and income inequality has a negative and statistically significant effect on the quality of economic institutions. Our main results are robust to removing certain groups of countries from the sample. We also use an interaction term to evaluate if regime duration has a stronger effect on the quality of economic institutions in autocracies than democracies, however the results we found are not robust to the two democratic political institutions data sources used in this paper. In the second part of the article, we use the same dynamic panel data model but with GDP per capita as the dependent variable. When we control for the quality of economic institutions, the association between democratic political institutions and GDP per capita switches from positive to negative. This and other evidence support our hypothesis that democratic political institutions have a positive indirect effect on per capita income via economic institutions.
    Keywords: economic institutions; political institutions; law and economics
    JEL: C5 K1 O1
    Date: 2023–01–09
  4. By: Claire OLLIER (CERGAM - Centre d'Études et de Recherche en Gestion d'Aix-Marseille - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - UTLN - Université de Toulon, AMU - Aix Marseille Université, AMU IMPGT - Institut de management public et de gouvernance territoriale - AMU - Aix Marseille Université)
    Abstract: Participatory democracy lies in "the institutionalization of citizen participation in the implementation of public policies" (Blondiaux and Sintomer, 2002). Considered as an "indispensable ingredient for the good governance of territories and public affairs" (Raymond, 2009), it now constitutes an inescapable reality of the evolution of forms of governance. The dissemination of good practice guides, exemplary cases, benchmarking practices or instruments demonstrate the efforts undertaken by local elected officials to standardize participatory policies regardless of ideological variable (Mazeaud et Nonjon, 2018). Participatory initiatives allow the territories to benefit a certain reputation in the field, as illustrated by the example of the participatory budget in Porto Alegre. Yet, all the studies regarding representativeness of participating citizens in participatory policies exhibit that the multiplication of tools and initiatives does not mean an enlargement of the participants, their frequentation proving to be very unequal (Blondiaux, 2008; Nez and Talpin, 2010). Those studies indicate for the most part the reproduction of a "hidden quota" (Gaxie, 1987), an over-representation of certain categories of participants of participatory systems (Rui, 2004; Lefebvre, 2007) correlated with a difficulty of extending audiences to the most marginalized groups, the political problem remaining of a lack of consideration of popular demands (Blondiaux, 2008 ; Carrel, 2013; Gourgues and Mazeaud, 2018). Moreover, the political wish to consecrate the new political figure of the "ordinary citizen", "the average citizen", the neutral "profane" possessing a civic identity beyond partisan affiliations and traditional political divisions is very largely a matter of a political fiction according to academics (Blondiaux, 2007; Seguin, 2020). Indeed, participatory democracy is approved and experienced essentially by a public already strongly committed to politics: activists, syndicalists, attentive spectators of the political game with a good knowledge of these workings, who are often older, more masculine, better educated, richer and more satisfied with their living conditions than the average (Blondiaux, 2008).By taking the opposite view of representativeness, we administrate an online exploratory qualitative questionnaire with open questions targeting French politically engaged citizens on trade union, political or "Gilets jaunes" networks, free and willing to answer of the reasons why of deserting participatory initiatives. We recorded 76 answers.
    Keywords: participatory tools, decision-making process on public policies, citizen participation
    Date: 2022–10–05
  5. By: Gabriele Gratton (UNSW Business School); Barton E. Lee (UNSW Business School)
    Abstract: We study a model of popular demand for anti-elite populist reforms that drain the swamp: replace experienced public servants with novices that will only acquire experience with time. Voters benefit from experienced public servants because they are more effective at delivering public goods and more competent at detecting emergency threats. However, public servants’ policy preferences do not always align with those of voters. This tradeoff produces two key forces in our model: public servants’ incompetence spurs disagreement between them and voters, and their effectiveness grants them more power to dictate policy. Both of these effects fuel mistrust between voters and public servants, sometimes inducing voters to drain the swamp in cycles of anti-elite populism. We study which factors can sustain a responsive democracy or induce a technocracy. When instead populism arises, we discuss which reforms may reduce the frequency of populist cycles.
    Date: 2023–02
  6. By: Giacomo Lemoli; Gloria Gennaro
    Abstract: Under what conditions can legacies of past violence shape political behaviour? We propose a theory of how war victimization defines attitudes over the long run, and how these can be activated by changes in the political environment. We argue that exposure to violence by members of a different ethnic group generates hostility that spills over other outgroups; this latent hostility resonates with nationalist appeals to ingroup (national) identity against non-nationals.
    Keywords: Political economy, War, Violence, Nationalism
    Date: 2023
  7. By: Volckart, Oliver
    Abstract: The analysis presented in this article uses attendance at imperial diets (1521-1613) to estimate how politically well-integrated the Holy Roman Empire was. In doing so, it tests two conceptualisations of the political geography of the Empire: Moraw’s distinction between zones ‘close to’ and ‘distant from’ the monarch and its application to early modern history, and Schmidt’s distinction between an ‘Empire of the German nation’ and a larger ‘feudal Empire’. The analysis finds that Moraw’s zones retained at most a transient importance. Extending his model to early modern history thus risks misrepresenting political geography. The analysis also finds that geographical distance had a significant influence on the representation of the estates at the diets, with those geographically close to the diets attending increasingly often and those located in the geographical periphery increasingly staying away. Moreover, geographical distance had a consistent, strong, and significant effect on the personal presence of rulers. The Empire thus developed a well-integrated core that had the potential to form a state such as the one conceptualised by Schmidt, while the outlying regions were in increasing danger of dropping away.
    Keywords: Early Modern History; Germany; parliamentarism; political integration
    JEL: N43 P37 P48
    Date: 2023–02–01
  8. By: Julien Jacob (BETA - Bureau d'Économie Théorique et Appliquée - AgroParisTech - UNISTRA - Université de Strasbourg - UL - Université de Lorraine - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Caroline Orset Orset (UMR PSAE - Paris-Saclay Applied Economics - AgroParisTech - Université Paris-Saclay - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)
    Abstract: This literature review sheds light on the role of marketing authorisations and liabilities in controlling industry lobby behaviour aimed at enhancing the lobbyists' private interest to the detriment of the public interest. We present two political tools available to public authorities, marketing authorisation and liabilities (civil and criminal) to regulate firms that market products that could be harmful to society. We draw on the economic literature and contributions that study how these policy tools can be used to achieve three main objectives: providing incentives for risk mitigation, fostering innovation and the acquisition of information on unclear risks, and avoiding collusion between public bodies and the companies being regulated. We conclude with a brief discussion of the areas that require more in-depth research on this topic.
    Keywords: Industry risks, Information acquisition, Innovation, Liability rules, Lobby, Scientific uncertainty
    Date: 2022–11–23
  9. By: Cooper, Luke
    Abstract: An interview with LRT, the Lithuanian public broadcaster
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2023–01–16

This nep-pol issue is ©2023 by Eugene Beaulieu. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.