nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2023‒10‒16
twelve papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu, University of Calgary

  1. Terrorism and Voting: The Rise of Right-Wing Populism in Germany By Navid Sabet; Marius Liebald; Guido Friebel
  2. Sympathies for Putin within the German public: A consequence of political alienation? By Lucca Hoffeller; Nils D. Steiner
  3. Replicating: "Playing Politics with Environmental Protection: The Political Economy of Designating Protected Areas" By Villalobos, Laura; Caviglia-Harris, Jill; Jayalath, Tharaka
  4. The effects of gender political inclusion and democracy on environmental performance: evidence from the method of moments by quantile regression By Simplice A. Asongu; Cheikh T. Ndour; Judith C. M. Ngoungou
  5. Can low-cost, scalable, online interventions increase youth informed political participation in electoral authoritarian contexts? By Romain Ferrali; Guy Grossman; Horacio Larreguy
  6. Combining diversity and excellence in multi winner elections By Mostapha Diss; Clinton Gubong Gassi; Issofa Moyouwou
  7. Topic Salience and Political Polarization: Evidence from the German “PISA shock” By Pietro Sancassani
  8. Declining Oil Production Leads to More Democratic Governments By Jørgen J. Andersen; Jonas H. Hamang; Michael L. Ross
  9. Corporate Social Responsibility and Voting over Public Goods By Andrew A. Samwick; Sophie Wang
  10. The Returns to Viral Media : The Case of US Campaign Contributions By Boken, Johannes; Draca. Mirko; Mastrorocco, Nicola; Ornaghi, Arianna
  11. Economic Consequences of a Regime Change: Overview By Assaf Razin; Efraim Sadka
  12. Structural Transformation and Value Change: The British Abolitionist Movement By Valentín Figueroa; Vasiliki Fouka

  1. By: Navid Sabet; Marius Liebald; Guido Friebel
    Abstract: Can right-wing terrorism increase support for far-right populist parties, and if so, why? Exploiting quasi-random variation between successful and failed attacks across German municipalities, we find that successful attacks lead to significant increases in the vote share for the right-wing, populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party. Our results are predominantly observable in state elections, though attacks that receive high media coverage increase the AfD vote share in Federal elections. These patterns hold even though most attacks are motivated by right-wing causes and target migrants. Using a longitudinal panel of individuals, we find successful terror leads individuals to prefer the AfD more and worry more about migration. Exploiting news reports, we find that successful attacks receive more media coverage from local and regional publishers and that this coverage focuses on Islam and terror. Overall, and in contrast to previous work, we find terrorism is politically consequential in Western, multi-party democratic systems.
    Keywords: terrorism, populism, media, salience, voting
    JEL: D72 K42 L82
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Lucca Hoffeller (Goethe-University Frankfurt, Germany); Nils D. Steiner (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz)
    Abstract: The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has sparked significant interest in the attitudes of the German public towards the Putin regime. In this article, we analyze survey data from a German panel to investigate the factors influencing sympathies towards Vladimir Putin following his decision to launch a war of aggression. Our central argument revolves around the role of political alienation, encompassing a lack of trust of political institutions in Germany, alongside more diffuse elements such as low support for democracy as a regime, a sense of estrangement from public discourse, and an inclination towards conspiracy thinking. Using longitudinal analyses, we provide empirical evidence consistent with our argument that political alienation—particularly in terms of low political trust and a proclivity for conspiracy thinking—plays a crucial role in driving sympathies for Putin and his regime. Against the backdrop of mounting attempts by Russia and other autocratic powers to influence discourses in Western societies via certain societal segments, our findings shed light on why individuals living in democratic nations may develop sympathetic attitudes towards autocratic leaders from abroad.
    Date: 2023–09–27
  3. By: Villalobos, Laura; Caviglia-Harris, Jill; Jayalath, Tharaka
    Abstract: Mangonnet et al. (2022) examine whether political alignment at the national and sub-national levels explain the spatial designation of Protected Areas (PAs) in Brazil. Their identification relies on spatial discontinuities in political alignment across municipalities. They find that a president-mayor coalition alignment reduces the incidence of PAs by about one percentage point, whereas they find no party alignment effects. We were able to reproduce the paper's findings using the same code and software. Alternative software routines reproduce their results with small and inconsequential numerical differences. Moreover, robustness replications find consistent results for one out the two treatments. Finally, we find no evidence of fabrication of data.
    Keywords: replication study, robustness replicability, reproducibility
    Date: 2023
  4. By: Simplice A. Asongu (Johannesburg, South Africa); Cheikh T. Ndour (Dakar, Senegal.); Judith C. M. Ngoungou (Yaoundé, Cameroon)
    Abstract: Motivated by the difficulty of ensuring gender equality and the chaotic state of democracy, we analyze the effects of gender political inclusion and democracy on environmental policy performance. The study uses a panel of 45 African countries over the period 2012-2018 and employs the method of moments by quantile regression. The results show that, gender political inclusion and democracy positively affect environmental performance in all quantiles. These positive effects tend to be stronger at higher quantiles. The magnitude is larger for gender political inclusion. When performance is decomposed into the sub-indices of environmental health and ecosystem vitality, positive effects of gender political inclusion and democracy are observed in all quantiles. The effects are larger for the gender dimension than for the democracy dimension, regardless of the sub-index used.
    Keywords: Gender political inclusion; democracy; environmental performance; regression quantile method of moments; Africa
    JEL: J13 Q56 C31 C33
    Date: 2023–01
  5. By: Romain Ferrali (AMSE - Aix-Marseille Sciences Economiques - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - École Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Guy Grossman (University of Pennsylvania); Horacio Larreguy (ITAM - Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México)
    Abstract: Young citizens vote at relatively low rates, which contributes to political parties de-prioritizing youth preferences. We analyze the effects of low-cost online interventions in encouraging young Moroccans to cast an informed vote in the 2021 elections. These interventions aim to reduce participation costs by providing information about the registration process and by highlighting the election's stakes and the distance between respondents' preferences and party platforms. Contrary to preregistered expectations, the interventions did not increase average turnout, yet exploratory analysis shows that the interventions designed to increase benefits did increase the turnout intention of uncertain baseline voters. Moreover, information about parties' platforms increased support for the party closest to the respondents' preferences, leading to better-informed voting. Results are consistent with motivated reasoning, which is surprising in a context with weak party institutionalization.
    Date: 2023–06
  6. By: Mostapha Diss (Université de Franche-Comté, CRESE, F-25000 Besançon, France); Clinton Gubong Gassi (Université de Franche-Comté, CRESE, F-25000 Besançon, France); Issofa Moyouwou (Ecole normale supérieure, Département de mathématiques, Université de Yaoundé I, BP 47 Yaoundé, Cameroon)
    Keywords: Voting, multiwinner elections, committee, diversity, axioms.
    JEL: D71 D72
    Date: 2023–09
  7. By: Pietro Sancassani
    Abstract: Does the salience of a topic affect polarization in related parliamentary debates? When discussing a salient topic, politicians might adopt more extreme stances to gain electoral consensus. Alternatively, they could converge towards more moderate positions to find a compromise. Using parliamentary debates from the 16 German state parliaments, I exploit the exogenous increase in the salience of education induced by the unexpectedly low performance of German students in the PISA 2000 test—the German “PISA shock”. I combine machine-learning and text analysis techniques to obtain topic-specific measures of polarization of parliamentary debates. In a difference-in-differences framework, I find that the PISA shock caused an 8.8% of a standard deviation increase in polarization of education debates compared to other topics. The effect is long-lasting and fades after about six years.
    Keywords: Polarization, text analysis, machine learning, Germany, PISA shock
    JEL: D72 D71
    Date: 2023
  8. By: Jørgen J. Andersen (Department of Economics, Norwegian Business School BI); Jonas H. Hamang (Department of Economics, Norwegian Business School BI); Michael L. Ross (Department of Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles)
    Abstract: Many oil-rich countries have authoritarian governments. How will these governments be affected by a global transition away from fossil fuels? We use new, detailed oil data and an event-study design to analyze political change in 36 oil-producing countries that experienced at least 10 years of declining production. We find that when their production starts to decline, they become significantly more democratic, relative to both the overall sample trend and the parallel pre-peak trends. Ten years after their oil peak, 33 of the 36 countries had become more democratic. After 15 years, their relative democracy scores increased by an average of 9 percentage points. For countries that transitioned after 1980, these scores rose about 13 percentage points, and for larger producers, by about 20 percentage points. Our findings suggest that a global transition toward renewable energy may make the governments of oil-rich countries significantly more democratic.
    Date: 2022–06–25
  9. By: Andrew A. Samwick; Sophie Wang
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on the total provision of public goods in a framework in which consumers who may make such voluntary contributions to public goods via CSR are also voters who decide on the level of taxes to finance publicly provided public goods. The main result indicates that, relative to an economy in which all public goods are publicly financed, the introduction of CSR lowers the total amount of public goods, as voters rationally anticipate that higher CSR will partially offset the consequences of lower public funding. The results offer a cautionary tale about the promotion of CSR in an economy with heterogeneous preferences for the public good.
    JEL: D72 H41 M14
    Date: 2023–08
  10. By: Boken, Johannes (University of Warwick); Draca. Mirko (University of Warwick); Mastrorocco, Nicola (University of Warwick); Ornaghi, Arianna (Hertie School)
    Abstract: Social media has changed the structure of mass communication. In this paper we explore its role in influencing political donations. Using a daily dataset of campaign contributions and Twitter activity for US Members of Congress 2019-2020, we find that attention on Twitter (as measured by likes) is positively correlated with the amount of daily small donations received. However, this is not true for everybody : the impact on campaign donations is highly skewed, indicating very concentrated returns to attention that are in line with a ‘winner-takes-all’ market. Our results are confirmed in a geography-based causal design linking member’s donations across states.
    Keywords: Social Media ; Twitter ; Campaign Contributions JEL Codes: D72 ; P00
    Date: 2023
  11. By: Assaf Razin; Efraim Sadka
    Abstract: Regime changes toward autocracy typically reshape the judicial framework, effectively eroding the separation of powers and leading the nation toward an autocratic path. Recent instances of regime shift in Hungary, Poland, and Turkey offer templates of democratic erosion through manipulation and “democratic” means. Israel is in now amid a conflicting judicial overhaul. Whereas the manifestations of these patterns differ based on the distinct political, social, and historical contexts of each country, they invariably erode the Rule of Law and the democratic institutions. Their ideological stance sharply contrasts with the democratic norms upheld by major Western nations: the separation of powers, judicial autonomy, and the intricate web of political, civic, and social organizations cultivated since the Enlightenment. These century-old trends have been instrumental in fostering unprecedented prosperity. This paper overviews the economic consequences of regime changes from liberal democracy towards autocracy.
    JEL: F0 P1
    Date: 2023–09
  12. By: Valentín Figueroa; Vasiliki Fouka
    Abstract: What drives change in a society’s values? From Marx to modernization theory, scholars have identified a connection between structural transformation and social change. To understand how changes in a society’s dominant mode of production affect its dominant values, we examine the case of the movement for the abolition of slavery in the late 18th and early 19th century Britain, one of history’s most well-known campaigns for social change, which coincided temporally with the Industrial Revolution. We argue that structural transformation alters the distribution of power in society and enables groups with distinct values and weak economic interest in the status quo to mobilize for change. Using data on anti-slavery petitions, membership in abolitionist groups, MP voting behavior in Parliament and economic activity, we show that support for abolition was strongly connected to manufacturing at the aggregate and individual level. We rely on biographical data and the analysis of parliamentary speeches to show that industrialists were relatively less reliant on income from slavery and were characterized by a universalist worldview that distinguished them from established elites. Together, our findings suggest that both values and economic interest play a role in driving social change.
    JEL: A13 N63 O14 P16 Z10
    Date: 2023–09

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