nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2024‒03‒04
nine papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu, University of Calgary

  1. Voting Gap by Origin By Momi Dahan
  2. Political Competition and Strategic Voting in Multi-Candidate Elections By Bernhardt, Dan; Krasa, Stefan; Squintani, Francesco
  3. Single-Winner Voting with Alliances: Avoiding the Spoiler Effect By Grzegorz Pierczy\'nski; Stanis{\l}aw Szufa
  4. Stay positive or go negative? Memory imperfections and messaging strategy By Li, Xiaolin; Singh Rao, Raghunath; Narasimhan, Om; Gao, Xing
  5. Misinformation technology: Internet use and political misperceptions in Africa By Joël Cariolle; Yasmine Elkhateeb; Mathilde Maurel
  6. Partisan Disparities in the Use of Science in Policy By Furnas, Alexander C; LaPira, Timothy Michael; Wang, Dashun
  7. Simultaneous Elections By Enriqueta Aragonès
  8. The Impact of US Trade Sanctions on the Global Trade of Target Countries: Do the Political Institutions of the Targets Matter? By Sajjad Faraji Dizaji; Mohammad Reza Farzanegan
  9. Who are They Talking About? Detecting Mentions of Social Groups in Political Texts with Supervised Learning By Hauke Licht; Ronja Sczepanksi

  1. By: Momi Dahan
    Abstract: This study examines the voting patterns of Mizrahi and Ashkenazi in ten general elections held since the early 2000s in rural and urban areas in Israel, utilizing a new classification method of origin of immigrants and their descendants based on surnames alongside the traditional classification by continent of birth. The study reveals relatively sharp fluctuations across elections in the size of origin gap in voting for right-wing party bloc between Mizrahi and Ashkenazi. According to the empirical analysis, the origin voting gap in the general elections held in 2022 was five times the gap found in the elections held in 2006, and more than twice that of the elections held in 2009. Sharp fluctuations in the voting gap undermine the protest vote hypothesis that discrimination against immigrants of Mizrahi origin in the past is the main factor behind their current political behavior. In all ten elections examined, the gap in voting for the right-wing party bloc between Mizrahi and Ashkenazi voters disappears or decreases considerably when differences in the level of education and degree of religiosity are neutralized. This study also reveals an interesting trend in the political behavior of voters with high education level. They are more likely to vote for the center-left bloc in recent elections, in contrast to their similar support for both blocs recorded in previous elections.
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Bernhardt, Dan (Department of Economics, University of Illinois and Department of Economics, University of Warwick,); Krasa, Stefan (Department of Economics, University of Illinois); Squintani, Francesco (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)
    Abstract: We develop a model of strategic voting in a spatial setting with multiple candidates when voters have both expressive and instrumental concerns. The model endogenizes the strategic coordination of voters, yet is flexible enough to allow the analysis of political platform competition by policy-motivated candidates. We characterize all strategic voting equilibria in a three-candidate setting. Highlighting the utility of our approach, we analyze a setting with two mainstream and a spoiler candidate, showing that the spoiler can gain from entering, even though she has no chance of winning the election and reduces the winning probability of her preferred mainstream candidate.
    Date: 2024
  3. By: Grzegorz Pierczy\'nski; Stanis{\l}aw Szufa
    Abstract: We study the setting of single-winner elections with ordinal preferences where candidates might be members of \emph{alliances} (which may correspond to e.g., political parties, factions, or coalitions). However, we do not assume that candidates from the same alliance are necessarily adjacent in voters' rankings. In such case, every classical voting rule is vulnerable to the spoiler effect, i.e., the presence of a candidate may harm his or her alliance. We therefore introduce a new idea of \emph{alliance-aware} voting rules which extend the classical ones. We show that our approach is superior both to using classical cloneproof voting rules and to running primaries within alliances before the election. We introduce several alliance-aware voting rules and show that they satisfy the most desirable standard properties of their classical counterparts as well as newly introduced axioms for the model with alliances which, e.g., exclude the possibility of the spoiler effect. Our rules have natural definitions and are simple enough to explain to be used in practice.
    Date: 2024–01
  4. By: Li, Xiaolin; Singh Rao, Raghunath; Narasimhan, Om; Gao, Xing
    Abstract: This paper studies the optimal mix of message content in elections while explicitly accounting for voters' memory imperfections. We build an analytical model of a political contest between two candidates facing an election with an electorate consisting of supporters, opponents, and undecided voters. The candidates take decisions on advertising sequence and content (positive vs. negative). Our model explicitly considers the role of memory processes, in particular decay (the idea that memories fade with time) and rehearsal (the idea that accessing a memory eases its recall, ) that crucially affect how effective ads are in influencing choice. The model yields several interesting insights: (a) when both candidates have low initial support, they invest only in positive messages; (b) when both candidates are endowed with high initial support, their messaging strategies take a “pulsing” shape involving negative advertising accompanied by positive advertising; (c) when one candidate has low initial support while the other has high initial support, the former adopts a “pulsing” strategy while the latter adopts only positive advertising. Furthermore, we show that a candidate with low initial support facing a candidate with high initial support responds with a messaging strategy bunched with negative content towards the end of the election cycle. Our model's predictions are shown to find empirical support in a dataset assembled from 2016 U.S. Senate races.
    Keywords: political advertising; memory models; persuasion; game theory
    JEL: L81
    Date: 2022–12–01
  5. By: Joël Cariolle (FERDI - Fondation pour les Etudes et Recherches sur le Développement International, CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - IRD - Institut de Recherche pour le Développement - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne); Yasmine Elkhateeb (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Department of Economics, Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University); Mathilde Maurel (FERDI - Fondation pour les Etudes et Recherches sur le Développement International, CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: The use of the Internet to access news has an impact on African citizens' perceptions of democracy. Using repeated cross-sectional data from the Afrobarometer survey across 35 African countries over the period 2011-2018, along with an instrumental variable approach, allows addressing potential endogeneity bias between Internet use and citizens' perceptions. The results indicate that using the Internet to obtain information has a significant negative effect on both the preference for and the perception of the extent of democracy. This negative effect is due to several factors. First, Internet use erodes trust in government institutions, mainly in the parliament and the ruling party. It increases the perception that parliament members are involved in corruption. In addition, the erosion of trust is correlated with more political mobilization, in the form of greater participation in demonstrations and voting. These results echo the existing literature and, in particular, hint at the risks of reversal of nascent democratization processes. Finally, the Internet seems to act as a misinformation channel. On the one hand, Internet users' perception of the extent of democracy and perception of the corruption of legislators diverge from experts' assessments. On the other hand, Internet use increases the likelihood of inconsistency in respondents' stances on their preference for democracy. The Internet is not a neutral information channel: it tends to undermine citizens' preference for democracy while also altering perceptions about political institutions.
    Keywords: Internet, Democracy, Misinformation, Africa, Media & democracy
    Date: 2024–01–29
  6. By: Furnas, Alexander C; LaPira, Timothy Michael (James Madison University); Wang, Dashun
    Abstract: Science, long considered a cornerstone in shaping policy decisions, is increasingly vital in addressing contemporary societal challenges. However, it remains unclear whether science is used differently by policymakers with different partisan commitments. Here we combine large-scale datasets capturing science, policy, and their interactions, to systematically examine the partisan differences in the use of science in policy across both the federal government and ideological think tanks in the United States. We find that the use of science in policy documents has featured a roughly six-fold increase over the last 25 years, highlighting science’s growing relevance in policymaking. However, the pronounced increase masks stark and systematic partisan differences in the amount, content, and character of science used in policy. Democratic-controlled congressional committees and left-leaning think tanks cite substantially more science, and more impactful science, compared to their Republican and right-leaning counterparts. Moreover, the two factions cite substantively different science, with only about 5% of scientific papers being cited by both parties, highlighting a strikingly low degree of bipartisan engagement with scientific literature. We find that the uncovered large partisan disparities are rather universal across time, scientific fields, policy institutions, and issue areas, and are not simply driven by differing policy agendas. Probing potential mechanisms, we field an original survey of over 3, 000 political elites and policymakers, finding substantial partisan differences in trust toward scientists and scientific institutions, potentially contributing to the observed disparities in science use. Overall, amidst rising political polarization and science’s increasingly critical role in informing policy, this paper uncovers systematic partisan disparities in the use and trust of science, which may have wide-ranging implications for science and society at large.
    Date: 2024–01–21
  7. By: Enriqueta Aragonès
    Abstract: There are many instances in which several elections are held at the same time. Different regional elections in a given country, different state elections in a federation, elections for the European Union parliament in each one of the countries. In addition, we can also observe that elections for different government levels take place simultaneously: elections for a central government and for regional governments in a given country, elections for a federal government and for state governments in a federation, and in some instances even the elections for the European Union parliament coincide with other elections, such as regional or municipal, in some countries (Callander 2005 and Fabre 2010).
    Keywords: simultaneous elections, state-wide parties, sub-national parties
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2023–12
  8. By: Sajjad Faraji Dizaji; Mohammad Reza Farzanegan
    Abstract: We investigate the effects of US-imposed trade sanctions on the global trade patterns of sanctioned countries by employing a gravity model that incorporates data spanning from 1980 to 2020 across 79 nations. The results reveal that both partial and complete US sanctions lead to significant reductions in bilateral trade between the US and target countries as well as between target and third countries. A unit increase in the intensity of complete trade sanctions in place reduces US bilateral trade flows with its sanctioned trading partners by about 76 percent while a unit increase in the intensity of partial US sanctions decreases trade by 16 percent. When complete export and import sanctions are implemented, US bilateral trade flows with its sanctioned trading partners witness a staggering decline of about 90 percent and 39 percent, respectively. In contrast, the application of partial export and import sanctions leads to a decrease in trade by 13 percent and 17 percent, respectively, all other factors remaining constant (ceteris paribus). Moreover, we show that target countries with stronger political institutions, as measured by democracy indicators, manage to alleviate some of the adverse effects of US sanctions on bilateral trade with both the US and third countries.
    Keywords: sanctions, trade, import, export, democracy, political institutions, gravity model
    JEL: D74 F14 F51 O24 O43
    Date: 2024
  9. By: Hauke Licht (University of Cologne, Cologne Center for Comparative Politics); Ronja Sczepanksi (Sciences Po Paris, Center for European Studies and Comparative Research)
    Abstract: Politicians appeal to social groups to court their electoral support. However, quantifying which groups politicians refer to, claim to represent, or address in their public communication presents researchers with challenges. We propose a novel supervised learning approach for extracting group mentions in political texts. We first collect human annotations to determine the exact text passages that refer to social groups. We then fine-tune a Transformer language model for contextualized supervised classification at the word level. Applied to unlabeled texts, our approach enables researchers to automatically detect and extract word spans that contain group mentions. We illustrate our approach in three applications, generating new empirical insights how British parties use social groups in their rhetoric. Our methodological innovation allows to detect and extract mentions of social groups from various sources of texts, creating new possibilities for empirical research in political science.
    Keywords: social groups, political rhetoric, computational text analysis, supervised classification
    JEL: C45
    Date: 2024–02

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