nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2023‒07‒10
fourteen papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Campaign Connections By Bazzi, Samuel; Labanca, Claudio
  2. Are Immigrants More Left Wing than Natives? By Moriconi, Simone; Peri, Giovanni; Turati, Riccardo
  3. Managing Government Hierarchy: Electoral Turnover and Intra-Governmental Cooperation By Li, Christopher M.; Sasso, Greg; Turner, Ian R
  4. Faith no more? The divergence of political trust between urban and rural Europe By Mitsch, Frieder; Lee, Neil; Ralph-Morrow, Elizabeth
  5. From targeted private benefits to public goods: land, distributive politics and changing political conditions in Colombia By Benson, Allison L.
  6. (Mis-)perceptions, information, and political polarization By Marino, Maria; Iacono, Roberto; Mollerstrom, Johanna
  7. Campaign Connections By Samuel Bazzi; Claudio Labanca
  8. Power, Scrutiny, and Congressmen's Favoritism for Friends' Firms By Quoc-Anh Do; Yen-Teik Lee; Bang D. Nguyen; Kieu-Trang Nguyen
  9. Representing the future in aging societies: Policy implications of the voting age reform in Germany By Asatryan, Zareh
  10. MMP-Elections: Equal Influence and Controlled Assembly Size By Stensholt, Eivind
  11. Assessing the Effects of Changing Media Technology and Alternative Media on Political Communication in Nigeria By Hadiza Wada; Buba Misawa
  12. Racial Discrimination and the Social Contract: Evidence from U.S. Army Enlistment during WWII By Nancy Qian; Marco Tabellini
  13. Does exposure to democracy decrease health inequality? By Costa-Font, Joan; Kunst, Niklas
  14. Social unacceptability for simple voting procedures By Ahmad Awde; Mostapha Diss; Eric Kamwa; Julien Yves Rolland; Abdelmonaim Tlidi

  1. By: Bazzi, Samuel (University of California, San Diego); Labanca, Claudio (Monash University)
    Abstract: This paper explores the labor market returns to working on a victorious political campaign. Using unique administrative data from Brazil, we track the earnings and employment of campaign workers before and after close elections spanning nearly 20 years. We identify sizable returns to working for a winning campaign, especially in areas with a large informal sector and for workers connected to newly elected challengers. The returns are concentrated in the public sector, where connected hires are relatively more qualified. Our results suggest a potential upside to patronage as campaign connections create new pathways to public administration for young, high-ability workers.
    Keywords: electoral campaigns, labor markets, patronage, political connections
    JEL: D72 D73 J45 J46 P00 O17
    Date: 2023–05
  2. By: Moriconi, Simone (IÉSEG School of Management); Peri, Giovanni (University of California, Davis); Turati, Riccardo (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
    Abstract: We analyze whether second-generation immigrants have different political preferences relative to children of citizens. Using data on individual voting behavior in 22 European countries between 2001 and 2017, we characterize each vote on a left-right scale based on the ideological and policy positions of the party. First, we describe and characterize the size of the "left-wing bias" in the vote of second-generation immigrants after controlling for a large set of individual characteristics and origin and destination country fixed effects. We find a significant left-wing bias of second-generation immigrants, similar in magnitude to the left-wing bias of those with a secondary, relative to a primary, education. We then show that this left-wing bias is associated with stronger preferences for inequality-reducing government intervention, internationalism and multiculturalism. We find only weak evidence that second-generation immigrants are biased away from populist political agendas and no evidence that they have stronger preferences for pro-immigrant policies. Finally, we show that growing up with a father who is struggling to integrate into the labor market is a strong predictor of this left-wing bias.
    Keywords: immigration, elections, Europe
    JEL: D72 J61 P16 Z1
    Date: 2023–05
  3. By: Li, Christopher M.; Sasso, Greg (Bocconi University); Turner, Ian R (Yale University)
    Abstract: Theories of political accountability often consider voter-politician interactions in isolation from politician-bureaucrat interactions. We study a model of electoral accountability with a governing hierarchy: voter-politician-bureaucrat. The politician and bureaucrat both produce government output valued by the voter. The voter controls the politician via election and the politician provides incentives to bureaucrats. We show that when times are conducive to high quality governance---budgets are large and players are farsighted---incorporating the politician-bureaucrat relationship leads to weaker accountability standards. However, when times are tough and budgets are small or players are myopic voters may benefit from adopting more demanding standards.
    Date: 2023–05–13
  4. By: Mitsch, Frieder; Lee, Neil; Ralph-Morrow, Elizabeth
    Abstract: Events such as Brexit and the Gilet Jaunes protests have highlighted the spatial nature of populism. In particular, there has been increasing political divergence between urban and rural areas, with rural areas apparently having lost faith in national governments. We investigate this divergence using data on over 125, 000 EU citizens from the European Social Survey from 2008 to 2018. We show that people in rural areas have lower political trust than urban or peri-urban residents, with this difference clear for six different forms of political institutions, including politicians, political parties, and national parliaments. There has been divergence of political trust between urban and rural Europe since 2008, although this is primarily driven by Southern Europe. While these results can partly be explained by demographic differences between cities and the countryside, divergent economic experiences, differences in values, and perceptions that public services are less effective outside of urban areas, there is a residual ‘rural effect’ beyond this. We argue that the polarisation of urban-rural political trust has important implications for the functioning of European democracies.
    Keywords: political trust; urban-rural division; polarisation; European social survey; 724363
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2021–08–01
  5. By: Benson, Allison L.
    Abstract: This paper analyzes how changes in political conditions affect distributive politics. We study the case of Colombia, focusing on the strategic allocation of land in relation to the electoral cycle. Relying on over 55.000 municipality-year observations on land allocations, exogenous timing of elections and sociodemographic controls, we show that there is a political land cycle (PLC), and that this cycle is dependent on the local political conditions in place. We analyze the changes in the PLC derived from the implementation of a deep political reform that increased political competition and the fiscal and administrative capacity of the state, doing so heterogeneously across municipalities. We show that the PLC decreased by half after the reform, with this reduction being stronger in municipalities in which political competition and fiscal and administrative capacity increased the most. The heterogeneous reduction in the PLC does not appear to stem from an aggregate weakening of distributive politics, but rather, from a re-composition of the distributive politics portfolio: away from the allocation of private targeted benefits like land, and towards the strategic allocation of public goods. We discuss the incentive and capacity effects explaining this re-composition likely affecting the relative costs and benefits of different types of distributive politics resources. The results evidence the importance of understanding not only the territorial dimension of distributive politics, but also how the specific traits of resources determine distributive politics strategies and their resilience to contextual changes.
    Keywords: Colombia; distributive politics; electoral cycles; land reform; political reforms; targeted benefits
    JEL: D72 D73 H41 H42 L33 Q15
    Date: 2021–10–01
  6. By: Marino, Maria; Iacono, Roberto; Mollerstrom, Johanna
    Abstract: Voters hold widespread misperceptions about society, which have been documented in numerous studies. Likewise, voters demonstrate increasing political polarization over policy preferences. Against this backdrop, it is intuitively appealing to think that information provision can help correct misperceptions and create common ground by enhancing the political conversation and bridging political divisiveness. We show, using a general population survey in the United States, that beliefs in the power of information to reduce polarization are indeed widespread. Additionally, we review the extensive literature on misperceptions. To investigate the empirical relationships between misperceptions, information, and political polarization, we exploit the fact that many studies investigate heterogeneities in misperceptions and/or in the reaction to information treatments. Our review shows that existing misperceptions often, but not always, appear to be associated with an increased sense of divisiveness in society; however, information provision is more likely to increase polarization than decrease it. The reason is that different societal groups exhibit differing reactions to truthful and accurate information, in ways that often strengthens, rather than mitigates, existing preference schisms. Thus, the intuitively appealing suggestion that information provision can serve as a powerful tool to reduce polarization is often proven false.
    Keywords: polarization; inequality; fairness; redistribution; information; survey
    JEL: C90 D31 D72 D83 D91 H23 P16
    Date: 2023–05–01
  7. By: Samuel Bazzi; Claudio Labanca
    Abstract: This paper explores the labor market returns to working on a victorious political campaign. Using unique administrative data from Brazil, we track the earnings and employment of campaign workers before and after close elections spanning nearly 20 years. We identify sizable returns to working for a winning campaign, especially in areas with a large informal sector and for workers connected to newly elected challengers. The returns are concentrated in the public sector, where connected hires are relatively more qualified. Our results suggest a potential upside to patronage as campaign connections create new pathways to public administration for young, high-ability workers.
    JEL: D72 D73 J45 J46 O17 P00
    Date: 2023–05
  8. By: Quoc-Anh Do (Monash University and CEPR. Monash Business School); Yen-Teik Lee (National University of Singapore, NUS Business School); Bang D. Nguyen (University of Cambridge. Judge Business School, Cambridge); Kieu-Trang Nguyen (Northwestern University. Kellogg School of Management)
    Abstract: Does higher office always lead to more favoritism? The usual affirmative answer overlooks scrutiny's role in shaping the pattern of favoritism: It is possible that politicians who attain higher-powered po- sitions under stricter scrutiny may reduce quid-pro-quo favors towards connected firms. Around close Congress elections, we find RDD-based evidence of this adverse effect that a politician's win reduces his former classmates' firms stock value by 1.9% after a day and 3.2% after a week. This effect varies by cross-state level of scrutiny, politician's power, firm size and governance, and connection strength, and diminishes as a politician's career concern fades over time.
    Keywords: Favoritism, Power, Scrutiny, Political connection, Congressmen
    JEL: D72 D73 D85 G14 G32
    Date: 2023–06
  9. By: Asatryan, Zareh
    Abstract: Aging societies face a fundamental challenge: How to represent future oriented policies in the politics of today? Voting age reforms and, more generally, policies that encourage the participation of the youth in politics are discussed as one solution. In this report, we study whether voting age reforms are radical enough to save us from gerontocracy. We show that there are certain policy fields that have strong age gradients. Although these are very far from being linear and often go in unexpected directions compared to a view that sees voters as simple self-interested actors.
    Date: 2022
  10. By: Stensholt, Eivind (Dept. of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics)
    Abstract: In an MMP election (Mixed Member Proportional) of a legislature, a QP-ballot supports party Q in a single-seat constituency and a list of candidates from P. With ꙍ(j) constituency seats won and list support in z(Pj) ballots, party Pj wins α(j) list seats, so that ꙍ(j)+α(j) becomes proportional to z(Pj). The pivotal party, Pj*, has the highest of all ratios ꙍ(j)/z(Pj). Proportionality implies, for all Pj passing some threshold, that [ꙍ(j)+α(j)]/z(Pj) ≥ ꙍ(j*)/z(Pj*). In the smallest proportional assembly, all ≥ are equalities and α(j*)=0. The pivotal party’s list support, z(Pj*), is naturally volatile. An election with α(j*)=0 tells that z(Pj*) list votes were wasted, and many voters learn it. Thus, between Bundestag elections 2017 and 2021, z(Pj*) dropped significantly. The smallest possible size of a proportional assembly rose from 709 to 794 seats, while the legal norm is 598. But an ad-hoc law of 2020 abandoned the proportionality rule, shrinking the assembly from 794 to 736 seats. ꙍ(j) measures and records the success of party Pj in the single-seat tallies; it also records how much α(j) is reduced by Pj’s constituency success. The paper compares this”traditional accounting” and“faithful accounting”: The latter records a QiPj-ballot, with Qi as constituency winner, with a tiny seat fraction that reduces α(j). Traditional accounting treats party Pj as a basic entity. Faithful accounting replaces it by the set Λ(Pj) of voters with list vote for Pj. This is a paradigm shift: Traditional accounting works even if constituency votes and list votes are collected in separate ballot boxes. But in faithful accounting, each ballot’s combination of Qi and Pj is essential. Main results: The change from traditional to faithful accounting brings the assembly size under control. A large inequality in voters influence is substantially reduced.
    Keywords: Mixed member proportional; equal influence; assembly size; split ballots; faithful accounting
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2023–05–31
  11. By: Hadiza Wada (Kaduna State University, Kaduna, Nigeria); Buba Misawa (Washington and Jefferson College, Washington, Pennsylvania, USA)
    Abstract: The rapidly changing media environment, as a result of technological advances, is proving hard to track and control for those who hold stake in the way information reaches people of interest, such as politicians and their voters. As a result, political communication has been facing several challenges in recent years. The mediation role of professional media seems to be losing grounds to a growing echo of alternative media voices, for example, leading to increased personalization or skewing of electoral campaigns to personalities rather than national issues, just as imagery and perception of individual candidates through political marketing by the media become more mainstream. With that in mind, 300 questionnaires were distributed to voter age population in Nigeria out of which 289 were retrieved and used. The intent was to see how alternative media is shaping political discourse and to what extent. The result shows an extensive use of alternative media at 64%. One of the most significant findings is: a much higher rate of citizen participation recorded at 84% of respondents brought about by popular use of alternative media, has not translated into satisfaction with the current state of politics and politicians which was rated at 48% and dissatisfaction at 52%. With 44% of the same respondents citing non relevance of contents disseminated by professional media as the main reason for the shift to alternative media, recommendations include the need for professional media to make concerted efforts in following new developments in technologies and user taste, in order to match those changes with favorable contents.
    Keywords: Political communication, new media impact, communication technology, public opinion
    Date: 2022–06
  12. By: Nancy Qian (Northwestern University,); Marco Tabellini (Harvard Business School,)
    Abstract: This paper documents several new facts about the relationship between discrimination and political exclusion and the motivation to fight in wartime. The Pearl Harbor attack triggered a sharp increase in volunteer enlistment rates of American men, the magnitude of the increase was smaller for Black men than for white men and the Black-white gap was larger in counties with higher levels of racial discrimination. Discrimination reduced the quantity and the quality of Black volunteers. The discouraging effects of discrimination were more pronounced in places that were geographically distant from Pearl Harbor and in states that had joined the Union relatively recently. For Japanese-American men, enlistment rates were higher where the Japanese-American community was not interred than where it was interred. These and other results provide empirical support for the theory that discrimination and political exclusion reduce support for the government when it is under threat.
    Keywords: Political and Economic Exclusion, Social Contract, Nation Building
    JEL: D72 J15 N92 P16
    Date: 2023–06
  13. By: Costa-Font, Joan; Kunst, Niklas
    Abstract: Exposure to democracy can have an impact on both the political attention and visibility of the needs of marginalised populations, as well as the design of health policies that can influence the distribution of population health and thus health inequality. This paper investigates the effect of exposure to democracy, that is the number of years spent in a democracy as measured by democracy indexes, on various measures of inequality in self-reported health across European countries. We use an instrumental variable strategy to leverage for the potential endogeneity of a country's exposure to democracy, drawing on both bivariate (socioeconomic) and univariate health inequality measures. Our estimates provide strong evidence that an additional year in a democracy reduces both bivariate and univariate health inequality. We document evidence of a two-point rank reduction in inequality with an additional year under a democracy. The effect is mainly driven by a 3 per cent points reduction of ‘health poverty’.
    Keywords: health inequality; income-related health inequality; Europe; democracy; institutions; health poverty
    JEL: I18
    Date: 2023–06–14
  14. By: Ahmad Awde (FEMTO-ST - Franche-Comté Électronique Mécanique, Thermique et Optique - Sciences et Technologies (UMR 6174) - UTBM - Université de Technologie de Belfort-Montbeliard - ENSMM - Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Mécanique et des Microtechniques - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UFC - Université de Franche-Comté - UBFC - Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté [COMUE]); Mostapha Diss (CRESE - Centre de REcherches sur les Stratégies Economiques (UR 3190) - UFC - Université de Franche-Comté - UBFC - Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté [COMUE]); Eric Kamwa (LC2S - Laboratoire caribéen de sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UA - Université des Antilles); Julien Yves Rolland (LMB - Laboratoire de Mathématiques de Besançon (UMR 6623) - UB - Université de Bourgogne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UFC - Université de Franche-Comté - UBFC - Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté [COMUE]); Abdelmonaim Tlidi (MAE2D - Laboratory MAE2D, University of Abdelmalek Essaadi)
    Abstract: A candidate is said to be socially acceptable if the number of voters who rank her among the most preferred half of the candidates is at least as large as the number of voters who rank her among the least preferred half (Mahajne and Volij, 2018). For every voting profile, there always exists at least one socially acceptable candidate. This candidate may not be elected by some well-known voting rules, which may even lead in some cases to the election of a socially unacceptable candidate, the latter being a candidate such that the number of voters who rank her among the most preferred half of the candidates is strictly less than the number of voters who rank her among the least preferred half. In this paper, our contribution is twofold. First, since the existence of a socially unacceptable candidate is not always guaranteed, we determine the probabilities of the existence of such a candidate. Then, we evaluate how often the Plurality rule, the Negative Plurality rule, the Borda rule and their two-round versions can elect a socially unacceptable candidate. We perform our calculations under both the Impartial Culture and the Impartial Anonymous Culture,
    Keywords: Voting, Social Unacceptability, Scoring Rules, Probability
    Date: 2023–05–05

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