nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2023‒09‒25
six papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu, University of Calgary

  1. Political salience and regime resilience By Huck, Steffen; Humphreys, Macartan; Schweighofer-Kodritsch, Sebastian
  2. Interrogating the political economy of age By Alexander Shaw, Kate
  3. Is participatory democracy in line with social protest? Evidence from the French Yellow Vests movement By Benjamin Monnery; François-Charles Wolff
  4. Learning from the Origins By Yarkin, Alexander
  5. A comment on Campaign Contributions and Roll-Call Voting by Grier, Grier and Mkrtchian (2023) By He, Harry; Petrovičová, Tereza
  6. International Attitudes Toward Global Policies By Adrien Fabre; Thomas Douenne; Linus Mattauch

  1. By: Huck, Steffen; Humphreys, Macartan; Schweighofer-Kodritsch, Sebastian
    Abstract: We study a version of a canonical model of attacks against political regimes where agents have an expressive utility for taking political stances that is scaled by the salience of political decision-making. Increases in political salience can have divergent effects on regime stability depending on costs of being on the losing side. When regimes have weak sanctioning mechanisms, middling levels of salience can pose the greatest threat, as regime supporters are insufficiently motivated to act on their preferences and regime opponents are sufficiently motivated to stop conforming. Our results speak to the phenomenon of charged debates about democracy by identifying conditions under which heightened interest in political decision-making can pose a threat to democracy in and of itself.
    Keywords: Democracy, salience, insurgence
    JEL: C72 D74
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Alexander Shaw, Kate
    Abstract: This article considers the argument by Tim Vlandas, in this issue, that an ageing electorate may undermine democracies’ ability to make the right economic choices. Vlandas suggests that the emergence of gerontocratic politics may give rise to ‘gerontonomia’: an economy run for the old, at the expense of younger generations and of future prosperity. However, evidence from the UK suggests a more mixed picture. Age-based voting patterns have been consequential around single issues, not least the 2016 Brexit referendum. However, voters’ interests in broad economic policy models are not easily reducible to age dynamics, and intergenerational politics are filtered through a set of normative and affective considerations beyond straightforward self-interest. Moreover, since the rational interests of different age groups do not speak for themselves, cueing by political elites is potentially significant and may be contributing to older voters’ relative tolerance of a poor economic record.
    Keywords: ageing populations; gerontocracy; intergenerational fairness; political economy; UK politics; Wiley deal
    JEL: J1
    Date: 2023–08–18
  3. By: Benjamin Monnery; François-Charles Wolff
    Abstract: Participatory democracy and public consultations are increasingly being used to shape public policy or resolve political issues. In France, the Grand Débat was launched in early 2019 as a democratic response to the Yellow Vests movement, a massive grassroots social protest. With more than 500, 000 participants, the Grand Débat platform was interpreted as a popular success by the government and the media, but little is known about which citizens expressed their opinions online. Although participants on the platform were anonymous and only answered public policy questions, we are able to infer their support for the Yellow Vests movement by using a second platform (a Facebook app) that asks similar questions as well as support for the Yellow Vests. We find that a large majority of participants in the Grand Débat did not support the Yellow Vests movement, in contrast to the general population at the time. This is evidence of a strong self-selection of participants on political grounds, resulting in a biased representation of French public opinion.
    Keywords: participatory democracy; social protest; public opinion; selection on observables and unobservables
    JEL: D71 D72 C53
    Date: 2023
  4. By: Yarkin, Alexander
    Abstract: How do political preferences and voting behaviors respond to information coming from abroad? Focusing on the international migration network, I document that opinion changes at the origins spill over to 1st- and 2nd-generation immigrants abroad. Local diasporas, social media, and family ties to the origins facilitate the transmission, while social integration at destination weakens it. Using the variation in the magnitude, timing, and type of origin-country exposure to the European Refugee Crisis of 2015, I show that salient events trigger learning from the origins. Welcoming asylum policies at the origins decrease opposition to non-Europeans and far-right voting abroad. Transitory refugee flows through the origins send abroad the backlash. Data from Google Trends and Facebook suggests elevated attention to events at the origins and communication with like-minded groups as mechanisms. Similar spillovers following the passage of same-sex marriage laws show the phenomenon generalizes beyond refugee attitudes.
    Keywords: Immigration, Social Networks, Spillovers, Political Attitudes, Integration
    JEL: O15 Z13 D72 D83 P00 J61 F22
    Date: 2023
  5. By: He, Harry; Petrovičová, Tereza
    Abstract: In their study, Grier et al. (2023) explore the causal relationship between campaign contributions and roll-call voting. Their analysis focuses on the influence of campaign contributions on two specific anti-sugar votes conducted in 2013 and 2018. The authors identify a substantial increase in inflationadjusted sugar contributions from the sugar industry to incumbent politicians between these two voting events. The aim of our research is to replicate and validate the authors' main models. In addition to cross-platform replication, we conduct several robustness checks to further examine the reliability of their findings. These include (1) clustering the standard errors, (2) utilizing an Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) model instead of the authors' logistic regression, and (3) altering the dependent variable to represent the change in the vote from 2013 to 2018. Our results largely confirm the authors' findings and reveal additional insights regarding the money buys vote hypothesis.
    Date: 2023
  6. By: Adrien Fabre (CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CIRED - Centre International de Recherche sur l'Environnement et le Développement - Cirad - Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AgroParisTech - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - Université Paris-Saclay - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Thomas Douenne (UvA - University of Amsterdam [Amsterdam]); Linus Mattauch (TU - Technical University of Berlin / Technische Universität Berlin)
    Abstract: We document majority support for policies entailing global redistribution and climate mitigation. Recent surveys on 40, 680 respondents in 20 countries covering 72% of global carbon emissions show strong support for an effective and progressive way to combat climate change and poverty: a global carbon price funding a global basic income, called the "Global Climate Scheme" (GCS). Using complementary surveys on 8, 000 respondents in the U.S., France, Germany, Spain, and the UK, we test several hypotheses that could reconcile strong stated support with a lack of salience in policy circles. A list experiment shows no evidence of social desirability bias, majorities are willing to sign a real-stake petition, and global redistribution ranks high in the prioritization of policies. Conjoint analyses reveal that a platform is more likely to be preferred if it contains the GCS or a global tax on millionaires. Universalistic attitudes are confirmed by an incentivized donation. In sum, our findings indicate that global policies are genuinely supported by a majority of the population. Public opinion is therefore not the reason that they do not prominently enter political debates.
    Keywords: Climate change, global policies, cap-and-trade, attitudes, survey
    Date: 2023–06

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