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Friday, January 18, 2013

System of government

 

Estimating the Value of Connections to Vice-President Cheney

David Fisman et al.
B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, December 2012

Abstract:
We estimate the market valuation of personal ties to Richard Cheney. Our proxies for personal ties are based on corporate board linkages that are prevalent in the network sociology literature. We consider a number of distinct political and personal events that either affected Cheney's political fortunes or his ability to hand out political favors. Specifically, we consider: (a) market reaction of connected companies to news of Cheney's heart attacks; (b) market reaction of connected companies to Cheney's being placed in charge of the vice-presidential search process and his surprise self-appointment; (c) correlation of the value of connected companies with the probability of a Bush victory in 2000; and (d) correlation of the value of connected companies with the probability of war in Iraq. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we find that in all cases, the value of ties to Cheney is precisely estimated as zero. We interpret this as evidence that U.S. institutions are effective in controlling rent-seeking through personal ties with high-level government officials.

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On the optimal number of representatives

Emmanuelle Auriol & Robert Gary-Bobo
Public Choice, December 2012, Pages 419-445

Abstract:
We propose a normative theory of the number of representatives based on a model of a representative democracy. We derive a formula giving the number of representatives as proportional to the square root of total population. Simple tests of the formula on a sample of a 100 countries yield good results. We then discuss the appropriateness of the number of representatives in some countries. It seems that the United States has too few representatives, while France and Italy have too many. The excess number of representatives matters: it is positively correlated with indicators of red tape and barriers to entrepreneurship.

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Political competition versus electoral participation: Effects on government's size

Dalibor Eterovic & Nicolás Eterovic
Economics of Governance, December 2012, Pages 333-363

Abstract:
From a theoretical standpoint, there are reasons to believe that political competition and electoral participation might have opposite effects on the size of government. We investigate empirically this possibility using data from a panel of 104 countries from 1960. We find that reforms enhancing political competition tend to limit the size of government, while reforms increasing electoral participation tend to increase the size of government. These results are robust for the global sample and across different regions. Our findings reinforce the empirical relevance of the distinction between political competition and participation.

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Corruption, Political Participation, and Appetite for Reform: Americans' Assessment of the Role of Money in Politics

Daron Shaw, Brian Roberts & Abby Blass
Election Law Journal, December 2012, Pages 380-398

Abstract:
This article explores the avowed linkage between perceptions of corruption and political participation. Using new data from an original national poll on the role of money in politics conducted just prior to the Citizens United decision, we test the effect of perceptions of corruption on support for campaign finance regulations and political participation. We find little evidence to substantiate the Supreme Court's reasoning about the relationship between public perceptions of the influence of money on politics and political participation. We offer individual-level explanations for relative levels of perceptions of corruption, efficacy, and participation.

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How a firm can induce legislators to adopt a bad policy

Matthias Dahm, Robert Dur & Amihai Glazer
Public Choice, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper shows why a majority of legislators may vote for a policy that benefits a firm but harms all legislators. The firm may induce legislators to support the policy by suggesting that it is more likely to invest in a district where voters or their representative support the policy. In equilibrium, no one vote may be decisive, so each legislator who seeks the firm's investment votes for the policy, though all legislators would be better off if they all voted against the policy. And when votes reveal information about the district, the firm's implicit promise or threat can be credible. Unlike influence mechanisms based on contributions or bribes, the behavior considered is time consistent and in line with the low campaign contributions by special interests.

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When Do Politicians Lie?

Paul Armstrong-Taylor
B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, December 2012

Abstract:
When do politicians lie? A politician who admits to wrongdoing will likely suffer some loss of popularity, but probably not as great as if he denied wrong doing and was subsequently discovered to have lied. This simple observation has a number of implications. For example, a politician in a marginal seat may have little choice but to risk lying as admitting will lose him too much popularity to survive. On the other hand, a politician in a relatively safe seat might survive the loss from admitting, but not from lying and being caught. Therefore we might predict the likelihood that a politician admits to a scandal to be positively related (over some range at least) to the security of his seat. This paper tests this prediction, and some others, with data from House bank scandal of 1991-92.

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Welfare Effects of Criminal Politicians: A Discontinuity-Based Approach

Matthieu Chemin
Journal of Law and Economics, August 2012, Pages 667-690

Abstract:
This paper uses unique data on the criminal records of Indian bureaucrats to examine the relationship between politicians' criminality and consumption, crime, and corruption. The identification relies on a regression discontinuity design by which individuals living in districts where a criminal politician was barely elected are compared with individuals living in districts where a criminal politician barely lost. The results show that criminal politicians decrease consumption by vulnerable sections of society: the monthly per capita expenditure of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, or other backward classes decreases by 19 percent. This paper suggests that the effect of criminal politicians on criminality and corruption may explain this result.

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Earmarks as a Means and an End: The Link between Earmarks and Campaign Contributions in the U.S. House of Representatives

Michael Rocca & Stacy Gordon
Journal of Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Legislative earmarks have taken center stage in the popular press in recent years as journalists, pundits, the president, and, sometimes, even legislators themselves question the economic, representational, and general policy implications of this type of federal spending. Some scholars suggest that legislators garner either direct or indirect electoral benefits from this behavior, but empirical findings are mixed. In this article, we place this discussion in the context of the literature on the link between campaign contributions and legislative services. We argue that MCs use earmarks to reward loyal contributors while interest groups attract earmarks by contributing to legislators' campaigns. Utilizing a two-stage OLS technique, we find a robust relationship between defense earmarks and campaign contributions from defense political action committees during the 111th Congress.

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Geographic Distribution of the Federal Stimulus of 2009

James Gimpel, Frances Lee & Rebecca Thorpe
Political Science Quarterly, Winter 2012, Pages 567-595

Abstract:
JAMES G.GIMPEL, FRANCES E.LEE, and REBECCA U.THORPE investigate why the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 did not always focus additional resources on areas where the recession's downturn was most severe. They examine whether funds were allocated according to pork barrel politics or instead via "policy windows" through which advocates steered a diverse group of programs long desired for reasons unrelated to the recession. They find some support for both theories, but policy window effects were more important than pork barrel politics in accounting for distributional outcomes.

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The Inside View: Using the Enron E-mail Archive to Understand Corporate Political Attention

Lee Drutman & Daniel Hopkins
Legislative Studies Quarterly, February 2013, Pages 5-30

Abstract:
For decades, scholars have debated the role of corporations in American politics. To date, they have relied on either interviews or publicly disclosed spending and lobbying reports. This article presents new methods and data that enable us to consider the internal processes of corporate political attention instead. Aided by automated content analysis, this article uses more than 250,000 internal e-mails from Enron to observe its political attention between 1999 and 2002. These e-mails depict Enron's employees as focused on monitoring and formally participating in political processes, including bureaucratic processes. Only a small fraction of their political attention focused on elections.

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Audience Clicks and News Placement: A Study of Time-Lagged Influence in Online Journalism

Angela Lee, Seth Lewis & Matthew Powers
Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The rise of sophisticated tools for tracking audiences online has begun to change the way media producers think about media audiences. This study examines this phenomenon in journalism, building on a revised theoretical model that accounts for greater audience engagement in the gatekeeping process. Research suggests that news editors, after long resisting or ignoring audience preferences, are becoming increasingly aware of and adaptive to consumer tastes as manifest via metrics. However, research also finds a gap in the news preferences of editors and audiences. This study asks: Who influences whom more in this disparity? Through longitudinal secondary data analysis of three U.S. online newspapers, and using structural equation modeling, this study finds that (a) audience clicks affect subsequent news placement, based on time-lagged analysis; (b) such influence intensifies during the course of the day; (c) there is no overall lagged effect of news placement on audience clicks; and (d) the lagged effect of audience clicks on news placement is stronger than the inverse. Implications of these findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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Agenda Diversity and Agenda Setting from 1956 to 2004: What Are the Trends over Time?

Yue Tan & David Weaver
Journalism Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using aggregate time-series data, this study tests four research hypotheses. First, we examine the long-term trend in the issue agenda diversity of the public as measured by the Gallup Most Important Problem question from 1956 to 2004. Second, we test whether the agenda-setting effect between the media agenda and the public agenda has become weaker over that time. Finally, with multivariate autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) modeling, this study investigates the causal relationships among the longitudinal changes in public agenda diversity, the New York Time's content diversity, and the New York Times' agenda-setting effect on public opinion. While no significant trend in the agenda-setting effect was found, we found a significant quadratic trend in public agenda diversity and significant causal relationships among these three time-series measures. In short, increased public agenda diversity decreased the New York Times' public agenda-setting effect, and the issue agenda diversity of the New York Times has decreased over time, but the overall agenda-setting effect between the New York Times and the public has not become weaker over time.

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Why conference committees? A theory of conference use in structuring bicameral agreement

Ryan Vander Wielen
Journal of Theoretical Politics, January 2013, Pages 3-35

Abstract:
Little scholarly literature has examined why the chambers of the US Congress use conference committees to reconcile inter-cameral legislative differences. Historically, conference committees handle the most important legislation. Why would the chambers be willing to delegate conciliation authority to a subset of the membership that is then granted wide leverage in shaping the policy choices on legislation with such broad implications for the membership? We theorize that conference committees, by way of an information advantage, offer a means of promoting bicameral agreement and avoiding the risk of failure associated with bargaining between the chambers. We develop a formal model of two-sided incomplete information and find that certain conditions on preferences and information yield the chambers, who must be complicit in the decision to go to conference, higher expected policy returns to delegating this authority to utility maximizing conferees. The results of this model suggest that centrally located conference committees, and a reduction in the chambers' information, encourage the use of conference. We offer preliminary empirical support for these propositions.

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Beating the Clock: Strategic Management under the Threat of Direct Democracy

Todd Ely & Benoy Jacob
Public Administration Review, January/February 2013, Pages 38-48

Abstract:
This article explores public sector responsiveness to voter-led initiatives, specifically, the degree to which public managers attempt to lock in resources before they are constrained by a particular initiative. The authors posit that such behavior, which they term "beating the clock," is a function of the potential impact of the proposed initiative, the degree to which managers can react to the initiative's central issues, and the perceived likelihood of passage. Although scholars have explored different responses to voter-led initiatives, this particular form of strategic behavior has yet to be studied. Using longitudinal data on public debt issuance, hypotheses are tested in the context of a reform proposed through the initiative process in Colorado in 2010. Results show that the number of debt issues increased by roughly 150 percent in advance of a potentially binding election, indicating the ability to preempt formal initiative efforts in certain policy areas.

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How the Senate and the President Affect the Timing of Power-sharing Rule Changes in the US House

Gisela Sin & Arthur Lupia
Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
A new model and related empirical work explain how the Senate and President affect the timing of power-sharing rule changes in the US House. We argue that shifts in the Senate's or President's preferences (e.g., a new majority party in the Senate; a new president) reshape House members' expectations about which legislative outcomes are achievable. Reshaped expectations, in turn, can alter House members' perceptions of the consequences of reallocating power among themselves. We prove that such reshaped expectations can induce House members to change power-sharing rules. To evaluate this claim, we examine major rule changes from 1879 to 2009. We find that the House was far more likely to change rules after elections that shifted partisan control of the Senate or Presidency than after elections in which no such shift occurred. Since the existing literature does not anticipate this finding, this work clarifies an important attribute of how power is distributed within the House.

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Local Legislative Professionalism

Jason Grissom & James Harrington
American Politics Research, January 2013, Pages 76-98

Abstract:
Although research on professionalism in state legislatures has been substantial, professionalism research has ignored legislative bodies in local government, such as city councils and school boards. Using detailed school district-level data and an original survey of school board members in 210 school districts in California, we develop measures of professionalism in the local government context. We then use these measures to examine which characteristics of school districts are associated with greater professionalization. Consistent with findings in the state politics literature, we find that districts with greater resources and more heterogeneous environments exhibit higher degrees of professionalism than other districts.

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When do politicians listen to lobbyists (and who benefits when they do)?

Patrick Bernhagen
European Journal of Political Research, January 2013, Pages 20-43

Abstract:
This article provides an empirical test of an informational model of lobbying. The model predicts when lobbyists provide useful information to policy makers and when policy makers follow lobbyists' advice. The predictions are assessed against data on the policy positions and lobbying activities of firms and other organised groups in the context of 28 policy proposals advanced by United Kingdom governments between 2001 and 2007. The results suggest that the interactions between policy makers and lobbyists are driven mainly by the expected policy costs for policy makers, providing lobbyists with strong incentives to provide correct advice to policy makers. There is little support for the expectation that lobbyists can successfully persuade policy makers to take a course of action that is beneficial to the lobbyist at the expense of wider constituencies.

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Monetary Institutions and the Political Survival of Democratic Leaders

William Clark, Sona Golder & Paul Poast
International Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
According to the political business cycle literature, survival-maximizing leaders will manipulate whatever macroeconomic policy instruments they have at their disposal in order to retain power. However, an obvious implication of the political business cycle literature has not previously been adequately tested: does having the ability to manipulate macroeconomic policy instruments actually allow leaders to stay in office longer? We argue that elected leaders who have neither fiscal nor monetary instruments available for electoral purposes will find it more difficult to survive in office. We test this claim using data from 19 OECD countries in the latter part of the twentieth century when the degree of capital mobility in the international economy was high. We find that access to macroeconomic instruments does help leaders retain office, but that these instruments are only effective for leaders who have been in office for at least 7 years.

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Comparing Corruption in the Lab and in the Field in Burkina Faso and in Canada

Olivier Armantier & Amadou Boly
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate the external validity of corruption experiments by conducting the same experiment in three different environments: a lab in a developed country, a lab in a developing country, and the field in a developing country. In the experiment, a candidate proposes a bribe to a grader to obtain a better grade. We find the direction and magnitude of several treatment effects to be statistically indistinguishable across the three environments. In particular, increasing the graders' wage reduces the probability of accepting the bribe, but promotes reciprocation. Our results therefore provide evidence that lab experiments on corruption can have empirical relevance.

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The Publication of Precedents and Its Effect on Legislative Behavior

Eric Lawrence
Legislative Studies Quarterly, February 2013, Pages 31-58

Abstract:
What was the effect of the publication of the precedents in the House in the late nineteenth century? Empirical analysis demonstrates a significant effect of the publication of the House precedents on the behavior of members' willingness to appeal decisions of the chair. Publication of the precedents reduced the frequency of appeals, a finding consistent with the qualitative arguments of past parliamentarians but never before demonstrated empirically. Further, parallel analysis of the Senate reveals that the publication effect found for the House is not an artifact of some secular trend in legislative behavior, doing so by showing that no similar pattern occurs in the Senate during the same period of time.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM