nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2024‒06‒10
seven papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu, University of Calgary

  1. Affective Partisan Polarization and Citizens' Attitudes and Behavior in Swiss Democracy By Jansen, Benjamin; Stutzer, Alois
  2. The politics of tax justice in democracies: redistribution beyond the median voter theorem By Hopkin, Jonathan
  3. Ideological spillovers across the Atlantic? Evidence from Trump’s presidential election By Costa-Font, Joan; Ljunge, Martin
  4. The Electoral Politics of Immigration and Crime By Alizade, Jeyhun
  5. Exploring Recent Ideological Divides in Turkey: Political and Cultural Axes By KINA, MEHMET FUAT
  6. COVID-19 and Political Preferences through Stages of the Pandemic: The Case of the Czech Republic By Bičáková, Alena; Jurajda, Štepán
  7. Faraway, so close: the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on political violence in Asian countries By Michele Di Maio; Patricia Justino; Valerio Leone Sciabolazza; Cecilia Nardi

  1. By: Jansen, Benjamin; Stutzer, Alois (University of Basel)
    Abstract: There is a concern that citizens with different political positions and party affiliations increasingly dislike each other. We examine this affective polarization (AP), which is often associated with a weakening of democracy, in the context of Switzerland's multiparty landscape with proportional governmental representation. Evaluating the long-term development of AP in Switzerland with both historical and newly gathered data for 2023, we find hardly any considerable change in AP over the last three decades, except for a substantial jump between 1999 and 2003 and a generally lower level of party sympathy in 2023. Complementary, our analysis of split-ticket voting behavior in national parliamentary elections with continuous data back to 1983 does not support any trend in partisan polarization from a voters' revealed preference perspective. We further find that more affectively polarized individuals report, on average, lower satisfaction with democracy but show a higher willingness to participate in politics across a wide range of different forms of political engagement, even when controlling for individuals' general sympathy towards political parties.
    Keywords: affective polarization, political participation, political discussion, latent candidacy, splitticket voting
    JEL: D72 D91
    Date: 2024–05–14
  2. By: Hopkin, Jonathan
    Abstract: Democratic states tend to raise large shares of national income through taxes, and spend the money in ways which redistribute resources from higher to lower income groups. This connection between democratic politics and taxes is a commonplace of the political economy scholarship, but there is much less clarity about the mechanisms through which this redistribution occurs, and the reasons for variations in the degree to which the objectives of social justice are achieved. Democracy can coexist with quite large differences in overall income inequality, and these differences are often driven by institutional legacies that find their roots in the past. The scope for the usual tools of democratic governance – elections and political party programmes – to alter these paths are more limited than is often understood. The contemporary politics of taxation appears to offer very constrained choices to policymakers, but the aspirations of voters for redistribution through the tax system remain a fundamental feature of political competition and conflict in the rich democracies.
    Keywords: tax; redistribution; democracy
    JEL: J1
    Date: 2022–11–24
  3. By: Costa-Font, Joan; Ljunge, Martin
    Abstract: Ideological spillovers refer to the modification of an individual's core beliefs after learning about other people's beliefs. We study one specific international ideological spillover, namely, the effect of the unexpected election of a United States (US) president (Donald Trump on the 9 th of November 2016), who openly questioned the so-called ‘core liberal consensus’, on European's core political beliefs. Using a regression discontinuity design (RDD) around the election event, we show that the Trump presidential election (TPE) gave rise to a ‘backlash effect’. That is, it steered core European beliefs in two specific domains, making Europeans more favourable to (i) globalisation and (ii) international mobility (about 10% change in the overall Likert scale range of the statement that immigrants contribute to a country). Contrasting with the hypotheses of ‘belief contagion’, we do not find evidence that TPE steered illiberal beliefs. Furthermore, TPE improved (deteriorated) the view Europeans had of their own country (the United States).
    Keywords: political shocks; belief formation; information spillovers; backlash effect; pluralistic ignorance; Trump presidential election; political beliefs; the social formation of beliefs
    JEL: D72 F50 Z10 P16
    Date: 2023–02–28
  4. By: Alizade, Jeyhun (WZB Berlin Social Science Center)
    Abstract: Concern that immigration worsens crime problems is prevalent across Western publics. How does it shape electoral politics? Prior research asserted a growing left-right divide in immigration attitudes and voting behavior due to educational realignment. In contrast, I argue that leftist voters are more conservative on immigrant crime than leftist parties, which can drive highly-educated progressives (so-called `cosmopolitans') to right-wing parties. I demonstrate this voter-party mismatch using survey data from 14 Western European countries linked with expert ratings of party positions. A panel survey from Germany further shows that concern about immigrant crime increases vote intention for the center right among voters of the Greens – the party of leftist cosmopolitans. A conjoint experiment among German voters replicates this defection effect and shows that it persists even if the center right stigmatizes immigrants or adopts conservative socio-cultural issue positions. Repercussions of immigration can in fact drive leftist cosmopolitans to the right.
    Date: 2024–04–15
    Abstract: This study analyzes Turkey's political landscape by harnessing Computational Social Science techniques to parse extensive data about public ideologies from the Politus database. Unlike existing theoretical framework that considers ideologies of political elites and cadres, this study examines public ideologies in a contentious political manner. It distills eight most prevalent ideologies down to the city level and employs unsupervised machine learning models. The Principal Component Analysis delineates two fundamental axes, the traditional left-right political spectrum and a separate spectrum of secular-religious inclination, namely political and cultural dimensions. Then, the Cluster Analysis reveals three distinct groups: left-leaning and religiously inclined, right-leaning and religiously inclined, and those with centrist views with a pronounced secular focus. The outcomes provide valuable insights into the political and cultural axes within political society, offering a clearer understanding of the most recent ideological and political climate in Turkey.
    Date: 2024–05–03
  6. By: Bičáková, Alena (CERGE-EI); Jurajda, Štepán (CERGE-EI)
    Abstract: We track the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on political preferences through 'high' and 'low' phases of the pandemic. We ask about the effects of the health and the economic costs of the pandemic measured at both personal and municipality levels. Consistent with the literature, we estimate effects suggestive of political accountability of leaders during 'high' pandemic phases. However, we also find that the pandemic political accountability effects are mostly short-lived, and do not extend to the first post-pandemic elections.
    Keywords: COVID-19, political accountability
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2024–04
  7. By: Michele Di Maio; Patricia Justino; Valerio Leone Sciabolazza; Cecilia Nardi
    Abstract: We show that the Russia-Ukraine-war-induced changes in the international price of wheat affected political violence in Asia. Using data from 13 countries and more than four million cell-level observations, we show that a higher wheat price increases political violence in areas that are more suitable to produce that crop. We interpret this evidence as consistent with a rapacity effect being at play: the higher value of agricultural output increases the incentive to violently appropriate it. Our result is robust to a number of falsification and robustness tests.
    Keywords: War, Commodity shocks, Trade, Political violence, Agricultural market performance, Asia
    Date: 2024

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