nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2024‒04‒01
seventeen papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu, University of Calgary

  1. From Couch to Poll: Media Content and the Value of Local Information By Mathias Bühler; Andrew Dickens; Andrew C. Dickens
  2. Which Colleges Increase Voting Rates? By Bell, D’Wayne; Holbein, John B.; Imlay, Samuel J.; Smith, Jonathan
  3. National elections, sub-national growth: the politics of Turkey's provincial economic dynamics under AKP rule By Luca, Davide
  4. Disaster and Political Trust: A Natural Experiment from the 2017 Mexico City Earthquake By Frost, Margaret; Kim, Sangeun; Scartascini, Carlos; Zamora, Paula; Zechmeister, Elizabeth J.
  5. Geostrategy from the far right: How Eurosceptic and far-right parties are positioning themselves in foreign and security policy By Becker, Max; von Ondarza, Nicolai
  6. The Interaction of Economic and Political Inequality in Latin America By Fergusson, Leopoldo; Robinson, James; Torres, Santiago
  7. Political Economy of Climate Change Adaptation - Loss of Habitat and Rising Inequality By Yasmine van der Straten; Enrico Perotti; Frederick van der Ploeg; Rick van der Ploeg
  8. Fundraising Events and Non-Ideological Donation Motivations By Thieme, Sebastian; Kates, Sean
  9. The Class Ceiling in Politics By Folke, Olle; Rickne, Johanna
  10. Conservation by Lending By Harstad, Bard; Storesletten, Kjetil
  11. How Will AI Steal Our Elections? By Yu, Chen
  12. The Political Economy of Stranded Assets: Climate Policies, Investments and the Role of Elections By Achim Hagen; Gilbert Kollenbach
  13. Immigration and political realignment By Javad Shamsi
  14. Sequential unanimity voting rules for binary social choice By Stergios Athanasoglou; Somouaoga Bonkoungou
  15. Size Reduction Reform in German Parliament: a game theoretic analysis of power indices in the Bundestag By Papatya Duman; Claus-Jochen Haake
  16. The Political Economy of Assisted Immigration: Australia 1860-1913 By Timothy J. Hatton
  17. A Characterization of the Myerson value for cooperative games on voting structures By Clinton Gabon Gassi

  1. By: Mathias Bühler; Andrew Dickens; Andrew C. Dickens
    Abstract: We document the importance of local information in mass media for the political engagement of citizens and accountability of politicians. We study this in the context of Canada, where until 1958, competition in television markets was suppressed—Canadians received either public or private television content, but never both. While public television provided national-level informational content, private television content was distinctly local and more politically relevant to voters. We find that the introduction of television reduced voter turnout, but that this effect is exclusive to public television districts. Our findings qualify existing knowledge about the political effects of the rollout of new media, by allowing the informational content to vary while holding the media type constant. We support our argument with evidence from parliamentary debates: politicians from districts with private television are more likely to speak and act on behalf of their constituents in Parliament. Our findings thus suggest that politicians are held accountable by relevant media content.
    Keywords: media content, television, voting, political engagement, political accountability, natural language processing
    JEL: D72 L82 N42 N92
    Date: 2024
  2. By: Bell, D’Wayne (Harvard University); Holbein, John B. (University of Virginia); Imlay, Samuel J. (College Board); Smith, Jonathan (Georgia State University)
    Abstract: We study how colleges shape their students' voting habits by linking millions of SAT takers to their college-enrollment and voting histories. To begin, we show that the fraction of students from a particular college who vote varies systematically by the college's attributes (e.g. increasing with selectivity) but also that seemingly similar colleges can have markedly different voting rates. Next, after controlling for students' college application portfolios and pre-college voting behavior, we find that attending a college with a 10 percentage-point higher voting rate increases entrants' probability of voting by 4 percentage points (10 percent). This effect arises during college, persists after college, and is almost entirely driven by higher voting-rate colleges making new voters. College peers' initial voting propensity plays no discernible role.
    Keywords: college choice, returns to college, civic engagement, voting
    JEL: I23 I26 D72
    Date: 2024–02
  3. By: Luca, Davide
    Abstract: Despite a large body of work on the impacts of institutions on subnational growth and development, economic geographers have, in the last decades, frequently overlooked the role of politics and, in particular, that of national political economies. Drawing on the political science literature, the paper argues that studying national political dynamics is still key to understand the cumulative process of uneven regional development. Using data from Turkey over the period 2004-2016, the paper shows how national electoral politics and government actions have significantly affected provincial growth patterns. The impact is substantive and increases in election years. Results also suggest that the central government may have influenced sub-national growth trajectories in different ways, including boosting the construction sector and expanding public employment.
    Keywords: politics of development; electoral politics; distributive politics; regional economic growth; Turkey
    JEL: C20 D72 H73 O18 O40 R11
    Date: 2022–07–01
  4. By: Frost, Margaret; Kim, Sangeun; Scartascini, Carlos; Zamora, Paula; Zechmeister, Elizabeth J.
    Abstract: Political trust is foundational to democratic legitimacy, representative governance, and the provision of effective public policy. Various shocks can influence this trust, steering countries onto positive or negative trajectories. This study examines whether natural disasters can impact general political trust and if disaster relief efforts can mitigate these effects. We investigate the relationships between disaster, trust, and aid using novel survey data collected before and after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck Mexico City in September 2017. Our findings reveal that the disaster resulted in an 11% decrease in general political trust. Additionally, we demonstrate that geographical proximity to disaster relief efforts may counterbalance this decline in trust. This study contributes to the scholarship on the politics of disasters and offers policy implications, highlighting the role of disaster assistance in potentially restoring general political trust after a disaster.
    Keywords: Political trust;Natural Disaster;Natural experiment;Aid relief;Development
    JEL: H84 D72 Q54 Z13
    Date: 2024–01
  5. By: Becker, Max; von Ondarza, Nicolai
    Abstract: Far-right parties are gaining support across Europe. Their level of participation in national governments is increasing, and they are expected to make further gains in the European Parliament elections in June 2024. As their influence over European Union (EU) policy rises, it is imperative to assess how they are positioning themselves on crucial dimensions of EU foreign and security policy. A closer look shows that geostrategic issues remain a cleavage point that is contributing to the fragmentation of the far-right spectrum. Their positions fluctuate between a transatlantic orientation and clear support for Ukraine among the national-conservative European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), to fundamental opposition with an anti-Western stance among parts of the right-wing populist to extremist parties in the Identity and Democracy (ID) Group. Due to the intergovernmental nature of EU foreign and security policy, the biggest challenges will come with national elections and coalition-making.
    Keywords: European Union, EU, European Parliament, European Parliament elections 2024, European elections 2024, far-right parties, EU foreign and security policy, European Conservatives and Reformists, ECR, Identity and Democracy, ID, Fidesz, EU relations with Russia, EU relations with China, EU relations with the United States, EU relations with NATO, enlargement of the EU, CFSP, CSDP, voting behaviour, geostrategic positioning, fragmentation of the far-right spectrum
    Date: 2024
  6. By: Fergusson, Leopoldo; Robinson, James; Torres, Santiago
    Abstract: We investigate how economic inequality can persist in Latin America in the context of radical falls in political inequality in the last decades. Using data from Colombia, we focus on a critical facet of democratization - the entry of new politicians. We show that initial levels of inequality play a significant role in determining the impact of political entry on local institutions, policy, and development outcomes, which can impact future inequality. A vicious circle emerges whereby policies that reduce inequality are less likely to be adopted and implemented in places with relatively high inequality. We present evidence that this is caused both by the capture of new politicians and barriers to institution and state capacity building, and also by the fact that politicians committed to redistribution are less likely to win in relatively unequal places. Our results, therefore, help to reconcile the persistence of economic inequality with the new political context.
    Keywords: political entry;public policy;Development
    JEL: D72 D78 H5 H4 P0
    Date: 2024–02
  7. By: Yasmine van der Straten; Enrico Perotti; Frederick van der Ploeg; Rick van der Ploeg
    Abstract: We study the evolution of voter support for climate policies aimed at containing the effect of climate risk, as weather conditions worsens at a time of rising economic inequality. Households differ in age, beliefs and income, and the scale of intervention to preserve habitable land reflects the preference of the majority coalition. Economic polarization tightens conditions for more households, while rising climate risk increases support for public adaptation. If beliefs on attainable impact are not too dispersed, an initially coalition of young and old pessimists might tip towards a coalition of old optimists and young pessimists, leading to a jump in support for public action. A steady rise in inequality may ultimately induce a second political tipping point, towards a coalition of the low-income old and young pessimists, although the effects on public adaptation are weaker. Public intervention is undermined by pessimism about the efficacy of public adaptation and the “tragedy of the horizon” effect, as voters only partially internalize benefits for future generations. This prevents public adaptation from converging to the long-term social optimum even when political support is highest.
    Keywords: climate change adaptation, economic inequality, tragedy of the horizon, political tipping points
    JEL: D63 H23 Q54 Q58
    Date: 2024
  8. By: Thieme, Sebastian; Kates, Sean
    Abstract: Why do candidates rely on fundraising event attendees to finance their campaigns? De-spite public concerns around this mode of donation, fundraising events have received little scholarly attention. We use a source of novel data – campaign finance disclosures in four U.S. states which indicate event- and non-event status of donations linked to political candidates – to examine two hypotheses. First, events help candidates draw on individual donors’ non-ideological motivations, including material motivations. Sec-ond, events help candidates fundraise when ideological motivations are relatively low. We provide evidence that donors discount ideology when they attend events, and link agenda powers of legislative incumbents to increases in event donations, including from individuals in related business sectors. Further, we show that early donations from individuals are more likely to be made via events than later donations, especially for incumbents. Our results highlight implications of event fundraising for responsiveness, partisan polarization, and candidate selection.
    Date: 2024–03–01
  9. By: Folke, Olle (Department of Political Science, Uppsala University); Rickne, Johanna (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)
    Abstract: Prior studies have documented that working-class individuals rarely become parliamentarians. We know less about when in the career pipeline to parliament workers disappear, and why. We study these questions using detailed data on the universe of Swedish politicians’ careers over a 50-year period. We find roughly equal-sized declines in the proportion of workers on various rungs of the political career ladder ranging from local to national office. We reject the potential explanations that workers lack political ambition, public service motivation, honesty, or voter support. And while workers’ average high school grades and cognitive test scores are lower, this cannot explain their large promotion disadvantage, a situation that we label a class ceiling. Organizational ties to blue-collar unions help workers advance, but only to lower-level positions in left-leaning parties. We conclude that efforts to improve workers’ numerical representation should apply throughout the career ladder and focus on intra-party processes.
    Keywords: political selection; social class; discrimination; careers in politics
    JEL: J71
    Date: 2023–12–21
  10. By: Harstad, Bard (Stanford U); Storesletten, Kjetil (U of Minnesota Twin Cities)
    Abstract: This project analyzes how a political incumbent can be motivated to conserve rather than exploit a depletable resource. This political economy problem is relevant for tropical deforestation as well as for other environmental problems. It is shown that the larger is turnover of policymakers (e.g., because of political instability), the more the principal benefits from conservation by lending compared to flow payments (in return for lower deforestation). Conservation by lending exploits the political incumbent's impatience (and time inconsistency) by offering a loan with repayments that are contingent on the forest cover.
    Date: 2023–08
  11. By: Yu, Chen
    Abstract: In the evolving landscape of digital technology, artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a transformative force with the potential to redefine the dynamics of political campaigns and elections. While AI offers unparalleled opportunities for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of political campaigning through data analysis, voter targeting, and personalized messaging, it also poses significant threats to the integrity of democratic processes. This article delves into the multifaceted role of AI in political campaigns, highlighting both its beneficial applications and its capacity for misuse in spreading misinformation, manipulating voter opinions, and exacerbating cybersecurity vulnerabilities. It further explores the challenges of AI-generated disinformation, the risks of cyber attacks on election infrastructure, and the ethical concerns surrounding voter manipulation through psychological profiling. Against the backdrop of these challenges, the article examines the current legal and regulatory landscape, identifying gaps that allow for the unchecked use of AI in political processes and discussing international perspectives on regulating AI in elections. Finally, it proposes a comprehensive framework for mitigating AI's negative impacts, emphasizing the importance of enhancing transparency, strengthening cybersecurity, fostering public education, and promoting international cooperation. By confronting the dual-edged nature of AI in elections, this article seeks to chart a path towards resilient democracy in the age of AI.
    Date: 2024–02–28
  12. By: Achim Hagen; Gilbert Kollenbach
    Abstract: We study the interaction of climate policies and investments into fossil and renewable energy generation capacity if policies are set by democratically elected governments and can lead to stranded assets. We develop an overlapping generations model, where elections determine carbon taxation and green investment subsidies, and individuals make investments into fossil and renewable capacity. We find that some fossil investments become stranded assets, if the party offering the higher carbon tax is unexpectedly elected. In contrast, if the individuals have perfect foresight, there are no stranded assets, climate damages are fixed and carbon taxation only serves redistributive purposes. Then, there is either no or prohibitive carbon taxation and energy generation completely relies on renewables in the latter case. Green investment subsidies can be used by governments to bind the hands of their successor. If the party representing the young generation is in power, it can use a high subsidy to reduce or even avoid potentially stranded assets in the next period. With endogenous reelection probability, we show that this party can also use investment subsidies strategically to influence the elections. The party that represents the old generation abstains from both types of climate policies to avoid a redistribution of income towards the young generation.
    Keywords: Stranded Assests, Political Economy, Fossil Fuel, Renewable Energy, Carbon Tax, Investment Subsidy
    JEL: D72 H23 Q54 Q58
    Date: 2024–03–06
  13. By: Javad Shamsi
    Abstract: This paper examines how immigration reshapes political landscapes, centring on the influx of immigrants from the EU's 2004 enlargement and its implications for the UK. I use a new variation in exposure to immigration based on migrant flows across various industries coupled with the employment structure in each region. Addressing potential concerns of endogeneity, I introduce a novel shift-share IV design, harnessing the industry-specific flow of migrants to regions outside the UK within the pre-2004 EU. The findings reveal a significant impact on support for the right-wing UK Independence Party and the Brexit Leave campaign, accompanied by a decline in Labour Party support. Moreover, the research indicates that voters' social attitudes toward immigration become more adverse in response to immigration. Political parties, particularly Conservatives, are also observed to increasingly engage with the topic of immigration in constituencies most affected by immigration, typically marked by negative rhetoric. The paper reconciles these findings by highlighting how immigration shocks entrench immigration cleavage, realigning political conflict from traditional economic lines to new cultural dimensions.
    Keywords: immigration, political realignment, industry-specific migration, EU enlargement
    Date: 2024–03–04
  14. By: Stergios Athanasoglou; Somouaoga Bonkoungou
    Abstract: We consider a group of voters that needs to decide between two candidates. We propose a novel family of neutral and strategy-proof rules, which we call sequential unanimity rules. By demonstrating their formal equivalence to the M-winning coalition rules of Moulin (1983), we show that sequential unanimity rules are characterized by neutrality and strategy-proofness. We establish our results by developing algorithms that transform a given M-winning coalition rule into an equivalent sequential unanimity rule and vice versa. The analysis can be extended to accommodate the full preference domain in which voters may be indifferent between candidates.
    Date: 2024–02
  15. By: Papatya Duman (Paderborn University); Claus-Jochen Haake (Paderborn University)
    Abstract: We investigate whether the recently approved reforms of the apportionment of parliamentary seats to parties in the German Bundestag affects the parties’ political influence measured by power indices. We find that under neither reform the underlying simple game, which describes the possibilities to form governments, remains unchanged and as a result the Shapley-Shubik and the Banzhaf index are unaltered. As a consequence, the major change from the reforms is the size reduction in the Bundestag by currently 106 legislators to 630.
    Keywords: Reform Bundestag, Banzhaf power index, Shapley-Shubik power index
    JEL: D72 C71
    Date: 2024–02
  16. By: Timothy J. Hatton
    Abstract: From 1860 to 1913 the six colonies that became states of Australia strove to attract migrants from the UK with a variety of assisted passages. The colonies/states shared a common culture and sought migrants from a common source, the UK, but set policy independently of each other. This experience provides a unique opportunity to examine the formation of assisted immigration policies. Using a panel of colonies/states over the years 1862 to 1913 I investigate the association between measures of policy activism and a range of economic and political variables. Assisted migration policies were positively linked with government budget surpluses and local economic prosperity. They were also associated with political participation including the widening of the franchise and remuneration of members of parliament. While the reduction in travel time to Australia reduced the need for assisted migration, slumps in the UK increased the take-up of assisted passages.
    Keywords: Colonial Australia, Assisted passages, International migration
    JEL: F22 N37 N47
    Date: 2024–03
  17. By: Clinton Gabon Gassi (Université de Franche-Comté, CRESE, UR3190, F-25000 Besançon, France)
    Abstract: We consider cooperative games where the coalition structure is given by the set of winning coalitions of a simple game. This type of games models some real-life situations in which some agents have economic performances while some others are endowed with a political power. On this class of cooperative games, the Myerson value has been identified as the Harsanyi power solution associated to the Equal Division power index and has been characterized in the large class of Harsanyi power solutions with respect to the associated power index. In this paper, we provide a characterization of the Myerson value for this class of games without focusing on the whole family of Harsanyi power solutions and therefore, without taking into account any power index. We identify the Myerson value as the only allocation rule that satisfies efficiency, additivity, modularity, extra-null player property, and Equal Treatment of Veto.
    Keywords: TU-game, Voting structure, Harsanyi dividends, Harsanyi power solution, Myerson value.
    JEL: D71 D72
    Date: 2024–03

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