Politics and economics

Gabriel Felbermayr, Aleksandra Kirilakha, Constantinos Syropoulos, Erdal Yalcin, Yoto Yotov, 04 August 2020

In recent years, economic sanctions have increasingly become ‘the tool of choice’ in responses to international political challenges related to geo-political conflicts. But are sanctions successful in achieving their purported objectives? And what are the economic costs of sanctions in a world that is increasingly interconnected with global value-chains and multinational enterprises?  This column introduces a new dataset of economic sanctions that covers all bilateral, multilateral, and plurilateral sanctions in the world from 1950 to 2016 that can be utilised to analyse sanctions policies.

Paolo Pinotti, 01 August 2020

Understanding the economic incentives and consequences of crime is an important area of research with immense policy implications, but it is not without challenges. This column summarises new evidence from studies on the causes and consequences of crime in Italy, focusing on recent improvements that address challenges related to the measurement of crime and to the identification of a clear effect of crime on economic outcomes.

Leonardo Bursztyn, Ingar Haaland, Aakaash Rao, Chris Roth, 30 July 2020

When outright racism is stigmatised, people may need justifications for publicly expressing anti-minority views. Using two large-scale online experiments, this column argues that people use justifications, such as the claim that immigrants cause crime, to excuse their anti-immigrant behaviour, even if they do not privately believe them. Prominent public figures such as populist politicians can thus generate waves of anti-minority behaviour by serving as suppliers of excuses.

Rabah Arezki, Alou Adesse Dama, Simeon Djankov, Ha Nguyen, 20 July 2020

Street protests propagate across borders. This column provides evidence for contagious protests, using both actual and news-based measures of protests. The results point to social media as a vehicle for contagion.

Jean Lacroix, Pierre-Guillaume Méon, Kim Oosterlinck, 18 July 2020

Rising populism has raised concerns that democracies may give in to authoritarian pressure. On 10 July 1940, exactly 80 years ago, the French parliament passed an enabling act granting full power to Marshal Philippe Pétain. Analysing how the Members of Parliament voted, this column shows that MPs belonging to a pro-democratic dynasty were more likely to oppose the act. Dynastic politicians may contribute to stabilising democracies by better resisting peer pressure.

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