nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2023‒07‒31
eleven papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. The Usage of Internet in the Context of ESG Model at World Level By Leogrande, Angelo
  2. Does Anger Drive Populism? By Omer Ali; Klaus Desmet; Romain Wacziarg
  3. The Puzzling Practice of Paying “Cash for Votes” By Anand Murugesan; Jean-Robert Tyran
  4. The Role of Unemployment in the ESG Model at World Level By Leogrande, Angelo; Leogrande, Domenico; Costantiello, Alberto
  5. Exporting Ideology: The Right and Left of Foreign Influence By Pol Antràs; Gerard Padró I Miquel
  6. Political preferences and the spatial distribution of infrastructure:evidence from California’s high-speed rail By Pablo Fajgelbaum; Cecile Gaubert; Nicole Gorton; Eduardo Morales Morales; Edouard Schaal
  7. Is it the Message or the Messenger? Examining Movement in Immigration Beliefs By Hassan Afrouzi; Carolina Arteaga; Emily K. Weisburst
  8. A Comparison of Sequential Ranked-Choice Voting and Single Transferable Vote By David McCune; Erin Martin; Grant Latina; Kaitlyn Simms
  9. Has Academic Research Become More Politically Focused? An Investigation into the last 50 Years of Academic Publications By Krasner, Rachel; Butler, Jeff
  10. (Dis)honesty and the Value of Transparency for Campaign Promises By Matthias Lang; Simeon Schudy
  11. Promoting socio-political stability through Foreign Direct Investment By Assi Okara

  1. By: Leogrande, Angelo
    Abstract: In this article, I estimate the value of “Individual Using Internet”-IUI in the context of Environmental, Social and Governance-ESG database of the World Bank. I use data from 193 countries for the period 2011-2020. I found that among others the value of IUI is positively associated to “Methane Emissions” and “People Using Safely Managed Sanitation Services” and negatively associated among others to “Fossil Fuel Energy Consumption” and “Renewable Energy Consumption”. I apply the k-Means algorithm for the clusterization optimized with the Elbow Method and we find the presence of three clusters. Finally, I confront eight machine-learning algorithms to predict the future value of IUI. I found that the best predictive algorithm is Linear Regression and that the value of IUI is expected to decrease on average of 0.30% for the analysed 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 D74 D78
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Omer Ali; Klaus Desmet; Romain Wacziarg
    Abstract: We study whether anger fuels the rise of populism. Anger as an emotion tends to act as a call to action against individuals or groups that are blamed for negative situations, making it conducive to voting for populist politicians. Using a unique dataset tracking emotions for a large sample of respondents from 2008 to 2017, we explore the relationship between anger and the populist vote share across U.S. counties. More angry counties displayed stronger preferences for populist candidates during the 2016 presidential primaries and elections. However, once we control for other negative emotions and life satisfaction, anger no longer operates as a separate channel in driving the populist vote share. Instead, our results indicate that a more complex sense of malaise and gloom, rather than anger per se, drives the rise in populism.
    JEL: D72 D91 E71
    Date: 2023–06
  3. By: Anand Murugesan; Jean-Robert Tyran
    Abstract: The expression “cash-for-votes” describes a form of vote buying in which candidates for office pay individuals in exchange for their votes. That practice undermines the functioning of democracy but is pervasive in many parts of the world, especially in the Global South. We discuss estimates of cash-for-votes and rational choice theories to explain their existence. Cash-for-votes under secret ballots is puzzling as secret ballots make it impossible to verify an individual’s vote. We discuss the behavioral and experimental literature emphasizing factors such as reciprocity, unsophisticated voting, and inequality aversion, which complement standard economic explanations of the phenomenon.
    Keywords: democracy, vote buying, secret ballot, reciprocity
    JEL: D72 D73 K42
    Date: 2023
  4. By: Leogrande, Angelo; Leogrande, Domenico; Costantiello, Alberto
    Abstract: In this article, we investigate the role of Unemployment-U in the context of Environmental, Social and Governance-ESG model at World Level. We use data from 193 countries in the period 2011-2021. We apply Panel Data with Random Effects, Panel Data with Fixed Effects, Pooled Ordinary Least Squares-OLS, and Weighted Least Squares-WLS. We found that among other the level of U is positively associated, among others, to “GHG Net Emissions” and “Government Effectiveness”, and negatively associated among others, to “Maximum 5 Day Rainfall” and “Political Stability and Absence of Violence/Terrorism”. Furthermore, we confront eight different machine-learning algorithms to predict the future value of U. We found that the best predictive algorithm in terms of maximization of R-squared and minimization of MAE, MSE, and RMSE is the Linear Regression. The value of U is expected to growth of 1.51% on average for the analysed 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: 2023–07
  5. By: Pol Antràs; Gerard Padró I Miquel
    Abstract: We present an economic rationale for countries resorting to foreign influence to export their ideology to other nations. Our model incorporates two fundamental elements: redistribution of the tax burden between capital owners and workers, and international capital mobility. The model highlights the role of ideology in shaping both the taxes implemented by governments and the cross-border externalities of these policy choices. Pro-capital governments set lower capital taxes than pro-labor governments. Importantly, pro-capital governments benefit from other countries setting low capital taxes, while pro-labor governments' efforts to shift the tax burden onto capital owners are facilitated by higher capital taxes abroad. These cross-border externalities create strong incentives for engaging in foreign influence activities. We solve for a political equilibrium in which incumbent governments may exert costly actions that probabilistically affect the electoral outcome in other countries. In equilibrium, pro-capital parties exert influence aimed at promoting pro-capital parties and policies worldwide, while pro-labor governments carry out foreign influence activities aimed at boosting pro-labor parties and policies in other countries.
    JEL: D7 F2 F5 H77 P33
    Date: 2023–06
  6. By: Pablo Fajgelbaum; Cecile Gaubert; Nicole Gorton; Eduardo Morales Morales; Edouard Schaal
    Abstract: How do political preferences shape transportation policy? We study this question in the context of California's High-Speed Rail (CHSR). Combining geographic data on votes in a referendum on the CHSR with a model of its expected economic benefits, we estimate the weight of economic and non-economic considerations in voters'preferences. Then, comparing the proposed distribution of CHSR stations with alternative placements, we use a revealed-preference approach to estimate policymakers' preferences for redistribution and popular approval. While voters did respond to expected real-income benefits, non-economic factors were a more important driver of the spatial distribution of voters' preferences for the CHSR. While the voter-approved CHSR would have led to modest income gains, proposals with net income losses also would have been approved due to political preferences. For the planner, we identify strong preferences for popular approval. A politically-blind planner would have placed the stations closer to dense metro areas in California.
    Keywords: transportation, infrastructure, political economy
    JEL: H54 P11 R13 R4
    Date: 2023–06
  7. By: Hassan Afrouzi; Carolina Arteaga; Emily K. Weisburst
    Abstract: How do political leaders affect constituents’ beliefs? Is it rhetoric, leader identity, or the interaction of the two that matters? Using a large-scale experiment we decompose the relative importance of partisan messages vs leader sources, in the context of beliefs about immigration. Participants listen to anti-immigrant and pro-immigrant speeches from both Presidents Obama and Trump. These treatments are benchmarked to versions of the speeches recorded by an actor to control for message content, and to non-ideological presidential speeches to control for leader priming. Our findings show that political leader sources influence beliefs beyond the content of their messages in a special case: when leaders deliver unanticipated messages to individuals in their own party. This evidence supports the hypothesis that individuals will “follow their leader” to new policy positions.
    JEL: C90 D83
    Date: 2023–06
  8. By: David McCune; Erin Martin; Grant Latina; Kaitlyn Simms
    Abstract: The methods of single transferable vote (STV) and sequential ranked-choice voting (RCV) are different methods for electing a set of winners in multiwinner elections. STV is a classical voting method that has been widely used internationally for many years. By contrast, sequential RCV has rarely been used, and only recently has seen an increase in usage as several cities in Utah have adopted the method to elect city council members. We use Monte Carlo simulations and a large database of real-world ranked-choice elections to investigate the behavior of sequential RCV by comparing it to STV. Our general finding is that sequential RCV often produces different winner sets than STV. Furthermore, sequential RCV is best understood as an excellence-based method which will not produce proportional results, often at the expense of minority interests.
    Date: 2023–06
  9. By: Krasner, Rachel; Butler, Jeff
    Abstract: What this paper aims to do is take a step away from the internal workings of academia and look at the overall scope of how research interests have evolved in the half century. We are interested to see if there is evidence that academic publications have become more politicized in the last decade than in previous ones. Please note the use of the word “politicized” which does not belong solely to any political party but to the open-ended arena of politics. By examining a curated list of politically driven terms, we use publication records to see how these terms map onto a variety of fields over time. We hope to present our findings in a non-partisan, non-judgmental way, and the reader will ultimately determine the strengths and directionality of these findings.
    Date: 2023–06–19
  10. By: Matthias Lang (LMU Munich); Simeon Schudy (LMU Munich)
    Abstract: Promise competition is prevalent in many economic environments, but promise keeping is often difficult to observe. We study the value of transparency for promise competition and ask whether promises still offer an opportunity to honor future obligations when outcomes do not allow for observing promise keeping. Focusing on campaign promises, we show theoretically how preferences for truth-telling shape promise competition when promise keeping can(not) be observed and identify the causal effects of transparency in an incentivized experiment. Transparency leads to less promise breaking but also to less generous promises. Rent appropriations are higher in opaque institutions though only weakly so when not fully opaque. Instrumental reputational concerns and preferences for truth-telling explain these results.
    Keywords: campaign promises; promise breaking; voting; lying costs; preferences for truth-telling; political Economy; theory; experiment;
    JEL: C91 C92 D72 D73 D91
    Date: 2023–07–04
  11. By: Assi Okara (African Development Bank Group)
    Abstract: The growing importance of FDI flows to developing countries has implications for their institutional environment as (i) foreign investors do not always adapt to the local environment, (ii) FDI has induced institutional reforms in countries competing to attract them, and (iii) the socioeconomic effects of FDI can trigger institutional changes. The latter argument is what the paper mainly explores in positing that by generating economic opportunities, FDI promotes political stability. The results clearly align with this argument. Accounting for political repression, the findings also highlight that FDI-induced stability is compatible with governmental respect for human rights.
    Abstract: L'importance croissante des flux d'IDE vers les pays en développement a des implications sur leur environnement institutionnel car (i) les investisseurs étrangers ne s'adaptent pas toujours à l'environnement local, (ii) les IDE induisent des réformes institutionnelles dans les pays en concurrence pour les attirer, et (iii) les effets socio-économiques des IDE peuvent susciter des changements institutionnels. C'est ce dernier argument qui est exploré dans cet article qui postule que les IDE favorisent la stabilité sociopolitique à travers leur potentiel de création d'opportunités économiques. Les résultats vérifient largement cet argument. En tenant compte de la répression politique, les résultats soulignent également que la stabilité induite par les IDE est compatible avec le respect des droits de l'homme par les gouvernements.
    Keywords: Institutions, Political stability, Developing countries, IDE, Institution, Greenfield FDI, Stabilité politique, Pays en développement
    Date: 2023–05–30

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.