nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2023‒03‒27
eight papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Cross-State Strategic Voting By Gordon B. Dahl; Joseph Engelberg; Runjing Lu; William Mullins
  2. Trust Institutions, Perceptions of Economic Performance and the Mitigating role of Political Diversity in Sub-Saharan Africa By Samba Diop; Simplice A. Asongu
  3. Partisan Abortions By Libertad González; Luis Guirola; Blanca Zapater
  4. Human Capital and Climate Change By Noam Angrist; Kevin Winseck; Harry A. Patrinos; Joshua S. Graff Zivin
  5. Women in Political Bodies as Policymakers By Baskaran, Thushyanthan; Hessami, Zohal
  6. The Politics of Bank Failures in Russia By Zuzana FungáÄ ová; Alexei Karas; Laura Solanko; Laurent Weill
  7. Why the rich and the poor value freedom and equality differently By Popov, Vladimir
  8. Women in Political Power and School Closure during COVID Times By Danzer, Natalia; Garcia-Torres, Sebastian; Steinhardt, Max F.; Stella, Luca

  1. By: Gordon B. Dahl; Joseph Engelberg; Runjing Lu; William Mullins
    Abstract: We estimate 3% of the U.S. voter population is registered to vote in two states. Which state these double-registrants choose to vote in reflects incentives and costs, being more prevalent in swing states (higher incentive) and states which automatically send out mail-in ballots (lower cost). We call this behavior cross-state strategic voting (CSSV) and estimate there were 317, 000 such votes in the 2020 presidential election. Because both Democrats and Republicans engaged in CSSV, the net effect was small, although it could matter in closer elections (e.g., Florida in 2000) or if one party increased CSSV relative to the other.
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2023–02
  2. By: Samba Diop (Alioune Diop University, Bambey, Senegal); Simplice A. Asongu (Yaoundé, Cameroon)
    Abstract: Several previous studies have explored the relationship 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 Sub-Saharan 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: 2023–01
  3. By: Libertad González; Luis Guirola; Blanca Zapater
    Abstract: We study the effect of unexpected changes in the party in government on fertility outcomes, using administrative data on births and abortions for Spain. Following a difference-in-differences strategy, we find that, after an unanticipated loss by the party in power in 2004, municipalities with strong support for this party experienced a sharp increase in abortions (of about 0.10 pregnancy interruptions per 1, 000 women in the month following the election), as well as a decrease in pregnancies leading to live birth (of about 0.28 conceptions per 1, 000 women, for an average monthly birth rate of 3.9). We show that the surprise election results also had an immediate effect on citizens’ economic expectations along partisan lines, a plausible channel for the impact on fertility decisions.
    Keywords: fertility, economic expectations, abortion, partisanship
    JEL: J13 D72
    Date: 2023–03
  4. By: Noam Angrist; Kevin Winseck; Harry A. Patrinos; Joshua S. Graff Zivin
    Abstract: Addressing climate change requires individual behavior change and voter support for pro-climate policies, yet surprisingly little is known about how to achieve these outcomes. In this paper, we estimate causal effects of additional education on pro-climate outcomes using new compulsory schooling law data across 16 European countries. We analyze effects on pro-climate beliefs, behaviors, policy preferences, and novel data on voting for green parties – a particularly consequential outcome to combat climate change. Results show a year of education increases pro-climate beliefs, behaviors, most policy preferences, and green voting, with voting gains equivalent to a substantial 35% increase.
    JEL: D72 H41 I20 I28 P16 Q01 Q5
    Date: 2023–03
  5. By: Baskaran, Thushyanthan (Ruhr University Bochum); Hessami, Zohal (Ruhr University Bochum)
    Abstract: We investigate how female representation impacts policymaking using the example of child care and new hand-collected data on local council elections in Bavaria. RDD estimations (mixed-gender races for last party-specific council seats) show that an additional female councilor accelerates the expansion of public child care by 40%. We also document an important nonlinearity: an additional woman accelerates the expansion of child care only in councils with few women. Council meeting minutes reveal that women can be effective in councils despite being a non-pivotal minority because they change "the conversation".
    Keywords: gender composition, political selection, local councils, child care
    JEL: D72 D78 H70 J13 J16
    Date: 2023–03
  6. By: Zuzana FungáÄ ová; Alexei Karas; Laura Solanko; Laurent Weill
    Abstract: We study whether bank failure probability systematically varies over the election cycle in Russia. Using monthly data for 2002-2020 and controlling for standard bank risk indicators we find that bank failure is less likely during periods preceding presidential elections. We explore whether this effect is more pronounced for banks whose failure is associated with greater political costs, such as important players in the household deposit market or important players in regional markets. We find no evidence for this latter effect. Overall, our results provide mixed evidence that political cycles matter for the occurrence of bank failures in Russia.
    Keywords: Bank Failure, Election, Russia
    Date: 2022
  7. By: Popov, Vladimir
    Abstract: This paper aims at providing additional explanations of the shift in electoral preferences studied by Piketty (2018) – in the post-war period rich and educated voters in Western countries shifted from right-oriented to left-oriented political parties. It is argued that high income individuals develop leftist views (in favor of redistribution, i.e. with preferences for equality relative to freedom), when they feel that income inequalities pose a danger to social stability and trust the government to carry out redistribution measures. The World Value Survey (WVS) data allow to measure the freedom versus equality preferences of the rich and poor respondents. It turns out that in countries with high income and wealth inequalities, high murder rate and high trust in the government, the rich tend to have more pro-equality and less pro-freedom preferences. The pattern for the poor respondents is similar, but less pronounced than for the rich. There are two groups of countries/territories, where the rich respondents are more pro-equality and less pro-freedom oriented than the poor – high inequalities and murder rates group (mostly Latin America, where the trust to the government is low) and high trust to the government group (mostly East Asia and Middle East and North Africa, where inequalities and murder rates are low). The latter group may constitute a case of good equilibrium with the long term political stability, whereas the former group is better characterized as moving from bad to good equilibrium.
    Keywords: Inequalities, redistribution, left and right political spectrum, equality versus freedom preferences of the rich and the poor, trust in the government.
    JEL: D61 D63 D72 N30
    Date: 2023–03–01
  8. By: Danzer, Natalia (Free University of Berlin); Garcia-Torres, Sebastian (Freie Universität Berlin); Steinhardt, Max F. (Free University of Berlin); Stella, Luca (Free University of Berlin)
    Abstract: This study explores the relationship between women's representation in political power and school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using a cross-country dataset in Europe, we document a striking negative relationship between the share of female members in national governments and school closures. We show that a one standard deviation increase in female members of national governments is associated with a reduction in the likelihood of school lockdowns by 24% relative to the average share of school closures. This result is robust to an extensive set of sensitivity checks. We attribute this pattern to a higher awareness of female politicians about the potential costs that school closures imply for families.
    Keywords: school closures, COVID-19, gender, political economy
    JEL: H52 I18 I20 J13 J16
    Date: 2023–02

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