nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2024‒02‒26
eleven papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu, University of Calgary

  1. Tilting the playing field. Do Double Simultaneous Voting System and Apparentment Lists contribute to subnational party hegemony? By José J. Bercoff; Osvaldo Meloni; Juan Manuel Tabuenca
  2. Adversarial Economic Preferences Predict Right-Wing Voting By Buser, Thomas
  3. Happiness Dynamics, Reference Dependence, and Motivated Beliefs in U.S. Presidential Elections By Miles S. Kimball; Collin B. Raymond; Jiannan Zhou; Junya Zhou; Fumio Ohtake; Yoshiro Tsutsui
  4. Powers that be? Political alignment, government formation, and government stability By Carozzi, Felipe; Cipullo, Davide; Repetto, Luca
  5. Help for the Heartland? The Employment and Electoral Effects of the Trump Tariffs in the United States By David Autor; Anne Beck; David Dorn; Gordon H. Hanson
  6. Political positioning and acceptance of environmental measures: the case of the far right By Blanc, Corin
  7. Inflation Expectations and Political Polarization: Evidence from the Cooperative Election Study By Ethan Struby; Christina Farhart
  8. Restrictions to Civil Liberties in a Pandemic and Satisfaction with Democracy By Daniel Graeber; Lorenz Meister; Panu Poutvaara
  9. Trust in the Fight Against Political Corruption: A Survey Experiment among Citizens and Experts By Benjamin Monnery; Alexandre Chirat
  10. The Historical Origins of Pro-Democratic Attitudes in Ukraine By Tamilina, Larysa
  11. Media Coverage of Immigration and the Polarization of Attitudes By Sarah Schneider-Strawczynski; Jérôme Valette

  1. By: José J. Bercoff (Universidad Nacional de Tucumán Argentina); Osvaldo Meloni (Universidad Nacional de Tucumán Argentina); Juan Manuel Tabuenca (Universidad Torcuato Di Tella Argentina)
    Abstract: This paper contributes to the political competition literature by providing empirical evidence of the influence of Double Simultaneous Voting System (DSVS) and Apparentment Lists (AL), in force in several Argentine districts since 1987, on party hegemony and the concentration of the party system. Results from a panel data of 9 gubernatorial elections and all 24 argentine subnational jurisdictions show that these electoral systems favor the persistence of the incumbent party in office, diminish the effective number of parties, and improve the probability of victory of the incumbent party. DSVS and AL generate a profusion of subgroups that take advantage of preexisting party fragmentation, clientelistic networks and large vertical fiscal imbalance
    Keywords: Political competition; electoral systems; subnational politics; Double simultaneous voting system; Apparentment lists.
    JEL: D72 P16
    Date: 2024–02
  2. By: Buser, Thomas (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: I analyze Dutch panel data that contains rich information on voting, political opinions, and personality traits. I show that "adversarial" preferences - competitiveness, negative reciprocity, distrust, and selfishness - are strong predictors of right-wing and populist political preferences. Their explanatory power is similar to that of a rich set of socioeconomic status indicators - including income, education and occupation - and robust to non-parametrically controlling for them. I replicate previously studied associations between classic personality traits and political preferences, and show that adversarial preferences predict voting independently from these traits - and often with larger effect sizes. The complex Dutch party landscape allows me to go further than simple left-right comparisons to differentiate parties along an economic left-right axis, a social progressive-conservative axis, and a populism axis. Competitiveness predicts voting for economically right-wing parties, whereas negative reciprocity, distrust, and selfishness are stronger predictors of voting for socially conservative and populist parties.
    Keywords: voting, political preferences, personality, competitiveness, reciprocity
    JEL: D72 D91 J16
    Date: 2024–01
  3. By: Miles S. Kimball; Collin B. Raymond; Jiannan Zhou; Junya Zhou; Fumio Ohtake; Yoshiro Tsutsui
    Abstract: Collecting and analyzing panel data over the last four U.S. presidential elections, we study the drivers of self-reported happiness. We relate our empirical findings to existing models of elation, reference dependence, and belief formation. In addition to corroborating previous findings in the literature (hedonic asymmetry/hedonic loss aversion, hedonic adaptation and motivated beliefs), we provide novel results that extend the literature in four dimensions. First, happiness responds to changes relative to both the political status quo (i.e., the incumbent presidential party) and the expected electoral outcome, providing support for two major hypotheses regarding reference point formation. Individuals exhibit hedonic loss aversion to deviations from expectations, but hedonic loss neutrality to changes from the status quo. Second, the speed of hedonic adaptation to deviations from the status quo is significantly slower than the speed of hedonic adaptation to surprises. Third, expectations affect happiness in a nonlinear way, consistent with Gul’s model of disappointment aversion, but contrary to other influential reference-dependent models. Fourth, both “objective” and motivated subjective beliefs matter for the happiness reactions, although subjective beliefs matter more.
    JEL: D03 D72 D91 I31
    Date: 2024–01
  4. By: Carozzi, Felipe; Cipullo, Davide; Repetto, Luca
    Abstract: We study how partisan alignment across levels of government affects coalition formation and government stability using a regression discontinuity design and a large dataset of Spanish municipal elections. We document a positive effect of alignment on both government formation and stability. Alignment increases the probability that the most-voted party appoints the mayor and decreases the probability that the government is unseated during the term. Aligned parties also obtain sizeable electoral gains in the next elections. We show that these findings are not the consequence of favoritism in the allocation of transfers towards aligned governments.
    Keywords: government stability; government formation; political alignment; inter-governmental relations
    JEL: D72 H20 H77
    Date: 2024–02–01
  5. By: David Autor; Anne Beck; David Dorn; Gordon H. Hanson
    Abstract: We study the economic and political consequences of the 2018-2019 trade war between the United States, China and other US trade partners at the detailed geographic level, exploiting measures of local exposure to US import tariffs, foreign retaliatory tariffs, and US compensation programs. The trade-war has not to date provided economic help to the US heartland: import tariffs on foreign goods neither raised nor lowered US employment in newly-protected sectors; retaliatory tariffs had clear negative employment impacts, primarily in agriculture; and these harms were only partly mitigated by compensatory US agricultural subsidies. Consistent with expressive views of politics, the tariff war appears nevertheless to have been a political success for the governing Republican party. Residents of regions more exposed to import tariffs became less likely to identify as Democrats, more likely to vote to reelect Donald Trump in 2020, and more likely to elect Republicans to Congress. Foreign retaliatory tariffs only modestly weakened that support.
    JEL: D72 F14 F16 J23
    Date: 2024–01
  6. By: Blanc, Corin
    Abstract: Based on the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) of 2020, we are analyzing the relationship between political positioning, trust, and attitudes towards environmental policies. Our study reveals that voters of far-right parties in France, Europe, and the United States are less concerned about environmental issues compared to others. Their environmental concerns also differ in nature: they focus on local issues whose consequences directly affect their daily lives. Furthermore, these voters are generally opposed to any binding environmental policy, regardless of its nature. They also prefer punitive environmental policies over positive incentives for behavioral change, unlike centrist voters. We also confirm a previously known result: far-right voters express lower trust than others towards the rest of society and institutions in general. However, this distrust appears to hinder their adherence to environmentally friendly policies and attitudes.
    Keywords: Environnement, Vote, Wellbeing, far-right
    Date: 2023–12
  7. By: Ethan Struby (Carleton College); Christina Farhart (Carleton College)
    Abstract: Using a unique, nationally representative survey from the 2022 midterm elections, we investigate the partisan divide in beliefs about inflation and monetary policy. We find that party identity is predictive of inflation forecasts even after conditioning on beliefs about both past inflation and the Federal Reserve’s long-run inflation target. Partisan forecast differences are driven by respondents who express low generalized trust in others and have a high degree of political knowledge; high-trust and lowknowledge partisans make similar forecasts all else equal. This finding is consistent with the literature in political psychology that examines the endorsement of conspiracy theories and political misinformation. We argue that the partisan divide in consumer inflation surveys is consistent with strategic responses by partisans.
    JEL: E70 E71 E30 E31
    Date: 2024–01
  8. By: Daniel Graeber; Lorenz Meister; Panu Poutvaara
    Abstract: In times of crises, democracies face the challenge of balancing effective interventions with civil liberties. This study examines German states’ response during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on the interplay between civil liberties and public health goals. Using state-level variation in mobility restrictions, we employ a difference-in-differences design to show that stay-at-home orders notably increased satisfaction with democracy and shifted political support towards centrist parties. Stay-at-home orders increased satisfaction with democracy most among individuals who had been exposed to the authoritarian regime of the German Democratic Republic. A potential explanation is that these individuals had got used to more restrictive state interventions. Moreover, we find suggestive evidence that satisfaction with democracy increases more among individuals who are obese or have low vitality, possibly because their benefit from the mobility restrictions is higher. However, these differences are not statistically significant.
    Keywords: perceptions of public policies, satisfaction with democracy, Covid-19
    JEL: D72 H12 I12 I18 P26
    Date: 2023
  9. By: Benjamin Monnery (EconomiX (UMR 7235), UPL, Université Paris Nanterre, CNRS, 200 avenue de la République, 92001 Nanterre cedex, France); Alexandre Chirat (EconomiX (UMR 7235), UPL, Université Paris Nanterre, CNRS, 200 avenue de la République, 92001 Nanterre cedex, France)
    Abstract: Western democracies experienced in recent decades a transformation of the relationship between citizens and their representatives towards greater accountability and transparency. These demands led to the emergence of new regulations and anti-corruption institutions. However, it often remains unknown whether such institutions are able to secure public trust and legitimacy in order to fulfill their mission effectively. The paper investigates this question by focusing on France, which quickly became a leader in the fight against corruption after the launch in 2013 of the High Authority for the Transparency in Public Life (HATVP). We run a survey experiment among 3, 000 citizens and 33 experts to collect their prior beliefs about political corruption, and then evaluate the impact of granting basic information on citizens’ perceptions about the effectiveness and legitimacy of the French anti-corruption agency. First, results show a large divide between the average citizen and the more optimistic experts about the dynamics of political integrity. Second, citizens have heterogeneous beliefs and those most distrustful are not only more likely to vote for populist candidates or abstain but are also the least informed about the anti-corruption agency. Third, the information provision experiment has meaningful and positive impacts on citizens’ perceptions of the HATVP, political transparency, and representative democracy. The beneficial effects are as large or even larger among the most distrustful and ill-informed citizens, and can close part of the gap with the assessments made by experts.
    Keywords: Political corruption; Political trust; Anti-corruption agency; Integrity; Populism; survey experiment
    JEL: C99 D72 M48 P37
    Date: 2024–02
  10. By: Tamilina, Larysa
    Abstract: This article examines how Ukraine's historical experiences of occupation and territorial fragmentation could lead to the emergence of a democratic political culture within its population. Utilizing individual-level psychological theories, I illustrate that extended periods of occupation cultivated pro-democratic values among Ukrainians, by nurturing sentiments of resistance and autonomy. Additionally, the historical presence of territorial fragmentation contributed to the promotion of diverse perspectives, stimulating social dialogue and encouraging citizens to pursue increased participation in the political sphere. This historical context influenced the shaping of democratic attitudes among Ukrainians.
    Keywords: History of occupation, territorial fragmentation, the emergence of democracy, Ukraine.
    JEL: B0 N00 P5
    Date: 2024–01–15
  11. By: Sarah Schneider-Strawczynski; Jérôme Valette
    Abstract: This paper investigates the effect of media coverage on immigration attitudes. It combines data on immigration coverage in French television with individual panel data from 2013 to 2017 that records respondents’ preferred television channel and attitudes toward immigration. The analysis focuses on within-individual variations over time, addressing ideological self-selection into channels. We find that increased coverage of immigration polarizes attitudes, with initially moderate individuals becoming more likely to report extremely positive and negative attitudes. This polarization is mainly driven by an increase in the salience of immigration, which reactivates preexisting prejudices, rather than persuasion effects from biased news consumption.
    Keywords: Immigration;Media;Polarization;Salience
    JEL: D8 F22 L82
    Date: 2024–01

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