nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2023‒04‒17
eight papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. The Causal Impact of Ballot Order on Voting Behaviour: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Italy By Tommaso Giullla
  2. Identity Politics By Nicola Gennaioli; Guido Tabellini
  3. Mobile Internet and the Rise of Political Tribalism in Europe By Marco Manacorda; Guido Tabellini; Andrea Tesei
  4. On the (Robust) Ex-post Stability of Constitutions By Semin Kim
  5. Left-behind vs. unequal places: interpersonal inequality, economic decline, and the rise of populism in the US and Europe By Andres Rodriguez-Pose; Javier Terrero-Davila; Neil Lee
  6. Policy-advising Competition and Endogenous Lobbies By Manuel Foerster; Daniel Habermacher
  7. Politicians’ Social Welfare Criteria An Experiment with German Legislators By Sandro Ambuehl; Sebastian Blesse; Philipp Doerrenberg; Christoph Feldhaus; Axel Ockenfels
  8. The Impact of Voice and Accountability in the ESG Framework in a Global Perspective By Costantiello, Alberto; Leogrande, Angelo

  1. By: Tommaso Giullla (Department of Economics, Universidad de San Andres)
    Abstract: The study of ballot design has gained salience in political science. The very procedure voters need to carry out in order to vote affects electoral outcomes, on top of the more direct effects of electoral rules. I focus on a specific channel through which such effects might realise: the order in which parties appear in the voting paper. Exploiting a natural experiment in the 2018 Italian general election, I estimate the electoral gain obtained by parties by virtue of being assigned the first (top-left) position in the voting paper. I use the fact that in Italy the party order in ballots is determined independently for the two elected chambers, thus exposing voters to two different exogenously determined lists. I find that, within a same municipality, parties which are assigned the first position in one chamber obtain a vote share between 0.1 and 0.2 p.p. higher relative to the other chamber. On average, this means that roughly 1 voter every 500 is influenced by the order in which party appears on the voting paper.
    Keywords: Electoral Institutions
    Date: 2023–02
  2. By: Nicola Gennaioli; Guido Tabellini
    Abstract: We offer a theory of changing dimensions of political polarization based on endogenous social identity. We formalize voter identity and stereotyped beliefs as in Bonomi et al. (2021), but add parties that compete on policy and also spread or conceal group stereotypes to persuade voters. Parties are historically connected to different social groups, whose members are more receptive to the ingroup party messages. An endogenous switch from class to cultural identity accounts for three major observed changes: i) growing conflict over cultural issues between voters and between parties, ii) dampening of political conflict over redistribution, despite rising inequality, and iii) a realignment of lower class voters from the left to the right. The incentive of parties to spread stereotypes is a key driver of identity-based polarization. Using survey data and congressional speeches we show that - consistent with our model - there is evidence of i) and ii) also in the voting realignment induced by the ”China Shock” (Autor et al. 2020).
    Date: 2023
  3. By: Marco Manacorda (School of Economics and Finance, Queen Mary University of London); Guido Tabellini (Department of Economics and IGIER, Bocconi University;); Andrea Tesei (School of Economics and Finance, Queen Mary University of London)
    Abstract: Abstract: We study the political effects of the diffusion of mobile Internet between 2007 and 2017, using data on electoral outcomes and on mobile Internet signal across the 84, 564 municipalities of 22 European countries. We find that access to mobile Internet increased voters’ support for right-wing populist parties and for parties running on extreme socially conservative platforms, primarilyin areas with greater economic deprivation. Using survey data, we also show that mobile Internet increased communitarian attitudes, such as nationalism and dislike of strangers and minorities. We conclude that mobile Internet benefitted right-wing populist parties because, in line with findings in social psychology, it fostered offline tribalism.ity.
    Keywords: Populism, Communitarianism, Europe, mobile Internet.
    JEL: D72 D91 L86
    Date: 2022–08–04
  4. By: Semin Kim (Yonsei University)
    Abstract: Barbera and Jackson (2004) define a constitution as a pair of voting rules (f, F), where f is employed for ordinary decisions, and F is employed to choose between f and a proposed voting rule. While they study the stability of constitutions at the ex-ante stage, where agents’ preferences over final outcomes are uncertain, we focus on the ex-post stage, where agents’ preferences are known. We present a characterization of ex-post stable constitutions. Furthermore, we examine the robustness of this characterization to the changes in the voting environment and the relationship between ex-post stability and ex-ante stability of constitutions.
    Keywords: Constitutions, Ex-post stability, Voting rules.
    JEL: D02 D71 D72
    Date: 2023–03
  5. By: Andres Rodriguez-Pose; Javier Terrero-Davila; Neil Lee
    Abstract: Economic change over the past twenty years has rendered many individuals and territories vulnerable, leading to greater interpersonal and interterritorial inequality. This rising inequality is seen as a root cause of populism. Yet, there is no comparative evidence as to whether this discontent is the consequence of localised interpersonal inequality or stagnant growth in ‘left-behind’ places. This paper assesses the association between levels and changes in local GDP per capita and interpersonal inequality, and the rise of far-right populism in Europe and in the US. The analysis —conducted at small region level for Europe and county level for the US— shows that there are both similarities and differences in the factors connected to populist voting on both sides of the Atlantic. In the US, neither interpersonal inequality nor economic decline can explain populist support on their own. However, these factors gain significance when considered together with the racial composition of the area. Counties with a large share of white population where economic growth has been stagnant and where inequalities have increased supported Donald Trump. Meanwhile, counties with a similar economic trajectory but with a higher share of minorities shunned populism. In Europe, the most significant factor behind the rise of far-right populism is economic decline. This effect is particularly large in areas with a high share of immigration.
    Keywords: populism, anti-system voting, interpersonal inequality, interterritorial inequality, economic growth, Europe, US.
    JEL: D31 D72 R11
    Date: 2023–03
  6. By: Manuel Foerster (Bielefeld University); Daniel Habermacher (Universidad de los Andes, Chile)
    Abstract: We investigate competition between experts with different motives. A policy-maker has to implement a policy and can either acquire information herself or hire a biased but well-informed expert. We show that the expertcharges a fee if interests between the agents are roughly aligned, and pays contributions in order to get the decision delegated—and thus acts as a lobbyist instead of as an advisor—if the conflict of interest is substantial and the policy is important to her. We then introduce an unbiased careerconcerned expert and show that lobbying may occur because of competition. Finally, the effect of competition on societal welfare may be negative if policy is (not) important to society but the unbiased expert provides bad (good) advice.
    Keywords: Policy advice, private information, delegation, lobbying, competition
    JEL: C72 D72 D82 D83
    Date: 2023–03
  7. By: Sandro Ambuehl; Sebastian Blesse; Philipp Doerrenberg; Christoph Feldhaus; Axel Ockenfels
    Abstract: Much economic analysis derives policy recommendations based on social welfare criteria intended to model the preferences of a policy maker. Yet, little is known about policy maker's normative views in a way amenable to this use. In a behavioral experiment, we elicit German legislators' social welfare criteria unconfounded by political economy constraints. When resolving preference conflicts across individuals, politicians place substantially more importance on least-favored than on most-favored alternatives, contrasting with both common aggregation mechanisms and the equal weighting inherent in utilitarianism and the Kaldor-Hicks criterion. When resolving preference conflicts within individuals, we find no support for the commonly used "long-run criterion" which insists that choices merit intervention only if the lure of immediacy may bias intertemporal choice. Politicians' and the public's social welfare criteria largely coincide.
    Keywords: Positive welfare economics, politicians, preference aggregation, paternalism
    JEL: C90 D60
    Date: 2023
  8. By: Costantiello, Alberto; Leogrande, Angelo
    Abstract: We estimate the value of Voice and Accountability-VA in the context of the Environmental, Social and Governance-ESG data of the World Bank using data from 193 countries in the period 2011-2021. We use Panel Data with Fixed Effects, Panel Data with Random Effects and Pooled Ordinary Least Squares-OLS. We found that the level of VA is positively associated, among others, to “Maximum 5-Day Rainfall”, and “Mortality Rate Under 5” and negatively associated, among others, to “Adjusted Savings: Natural Resources Depletion”, and “Annualized Average Growth Rate in Per Capita Real Survey Mean Consumption or Income”. Furthermore, we apply the k-Means algorithm optimized with the Elbow Method. We found the k-Means useless due to the low variance of the variable among countries with the result of a hyper-concentration of elements in a unique cluster. Finally, we confront eight machine-learning algorithms for the prediction of VA. Polynomial Regression is the best predictive algorithm according to R-Squared, MAE, MSE and RMSE. The level of VA is expected to growth on average of 2.92% for the treated countries.
    Keywords: Analysis of Collective Decision-Making; General; Political Processes: Rent-Seeking; Lobbying; Elections; Legislatures; and Voting Behaviour; Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption; Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation; Implementation.
    JEL: D7 D70 D72 D73 D78
    Date: 2023–03–23

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