Politics and economics

Elias Papaioannou, Stefanie Stantcheva, 27 May 2020

To the world, Alberto Alesina was an engaged, prolific economist improving the policy debate. To the economics profession, he was a giant and driving force in the field of political economy. To the authors of this column, he was a brilliant, warm and funny close co-author and friend. 

Francesco Giavazzi, Guido Tabellini, Beatrice Weder di Mauro, 26 May 2020

Alberto Alesina was one of the foundational pillars of political economics over many decades, and one of the most creative economists of his time. In this column, three friends of Alberto pay tribute to a man who was driven by a relentless curiosity and was a mentor and source of inspiration for innumerable students and colleagues.

Jeffrey Chwieroth, Andrew Walter, 23 May 2020

Although necessary, many of the economic policy responses to the COVID-19 crisis may end up damaging political incumbents in the medium and long term. This column presents evidence suggesting that voters expect great things from their leaders in deep crises. Yet the potential for great disappointment arises from the inevitable perceived inequities that will follow from the coronavirus crisis bailouts. As the pandemic exacerbates existing divisions within societies, the political costs predicted implies that only a minority of the most skilled political leaders are likely to survive this crisis.

Jean Benoit Eymeoud, Paul Vertier, 22 May 2020

While decades of research have investigated the reasons behind the underrepresentation of women in politics, uncovering discriminatory behaviours of voters remains a difficult task. This column examines the voting outcomes of French departmental elections in 2015, which required candidates to run in mixed-gender pairs, and isolates discriminatory behaviour of right-wing voters. Right-wing parties lost votes when the woman’s name appeared first on the ballot. However, the discriminatory effect disappears where information about the candidates is available on the ballot.

Emeric Henry, Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, Sergei Guriev, 21 May 2020

The most recent manifestations of populism owe a portion of their rise to social media and the unfettered spread of false and misleading narratives or, as they are sometimes called, ‘alternative facts’. This column makes use of an online experiment conducted among Facebook users in France during the 2019 European Parliament elections to show that fact-checking can staunch the flow of false information, as can the imposition of small costs such as requiring an additional click to confirm a user’s willingness to share news.

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