Jeffrey Chwieroth, Andrew Walter, 10 May 2013

The economic consequences of financial crises have been systematically explored. Their political consequences haven’t. This column argues that without paying attention to politics, crises will remain poorly understood. After all, politics shapes policy choices, market sentiment and, ultimately, economic outcomes. Evidence from the effects of banking crises over the past century show that crises have a dramatic impact on the survival prospects of governments.

Anke Kessler, Tom Cornwall, 06 June 2012

Does misinformation demobilise the electorate? Measuring the impact of alleged ‘robocalls’ on voter turnout in the 2011 Canadian federal election.

Alan de Bromhead, Barry Eichengreen, Kevin O'Rourke, 27 February 2012

The enduring global crisis is giving rise to fears that economic hard times will feed political extremism, as it did in the 1930s. This column suggests that the danger of political polarisation and extremism is greatest in countries with relatively recent histories of democracy, with existing right-wing extremist parties, and with electoral systems that create low hurdles to parliamentary representation of new parties. But above all, it is greatest where depressed economic conditions are allowed to persist.

Ana De La O, Alberto Chong, Dean Karlan, Léonard Wantchékon, 23 January 2012

For democratic theorists, the notion that greater transparency improves accountability is axiomatic: when voters find out about political corruption, they punish the offending politicians by not voting for them again. But, the authors of CEPR DP8790 argue, many voters also respond to evidence of corruption by not voting at all – indicating that more transparency might not automatically result in a healthier democratic process.

Hans Gersbach, 03 January 2012

Incumbent politicians have a host of advantages in US elections; members of the US Congress are typically re-elected about 90% of the time. This column argues that such a head start can often be bad for the country, with leaders focusing on short-term populist policies rather than the greater good. It suggests raising the bar for incumbent candidates.

Christopher Ksoll, Rocco Macchiavello, Ameet Morjaria, 08 March 2011

As unrest continues in the Arab countries, many are asking about the economic costs. While the macro effect of civil conflicts is widely studied, little is known of the micro effects. This column presents evidence from the short-term violence following the 2007 election in Kenya. It finds that firms providing cut flowers to Western markets saw a significant rise in costs, largely due to the displacement of workers.

Javier Santiso, Emmanuel Frot, 27 November 2010

Do emerging-market democracies risk destabilising financial markets every time their voters go to the polls? This column presents new evidence on the effects of elections on portfolio flows. It finds that elections diminish equity flows when they bring political uncertainty.

Hans Gersbach, 07 September 2010

The Eurozone crisis and debate over fiscal stimulus have emphasized the importance of responsible government debt management. CEPR DP 8001 develops a political economy model in which politicians prop up their reelection chances with debt-financed public projects but postpone the delivery of the projects until the next term. The author proposes to remedy this by instituting debt-threshold contracts which, if violated, would disqualify politicians from standing for reelection. He suggests that such contracts do not impede the stabilization of negative macroeconomic shocks.

Sebastian Nieto-Parra, Javier Santiso, 22 December 2009

Does the type of electoral system affect fiscal policy around elections? This column shows that electoral systems allowing immediate re-election in Latin America have a considerable impact on government spending. On the positive side, fiscal management shows a slight improvement around elections.

Paul Collier, Lisa Chauvet, 21 November 2009

There is some evidence that democracies enjoy better economic growth. How do elections, a core component of democracy, impact economic policy? This says that free and fair elections in developing countries improve economic policy by disciplining governments. But infrequent or uncompetitive elections may actually make things worse.

Matteo Galizzi, Maurizio Lisciandra, 27 June 2009

Want to encourage higher voter turnout in European Parliament elections? This column proposes allocating seats to member countries in proportion to their voter participation.

Paul Collier, Pedro Vicente, 06 February 2009

Recent research shows that anti-violence informational campaigns can increase voter turnout, suggesting that voter intimidation has large effects on turnout. This column summarises results from a nationwide field experiment during the 2007 elections in Nigeria revealing that illicit tactics were rife. Incumbent politicians often used vote buying and fraud, while opposition candidates used intimidation and violence.

Richard Holden, Alberto Alesina, 22 September 2008

In theory, presidential candidates should clearly articulate their platforms as they move to persuade the median voter. But candidates are often ambiguous and do not tack to the centre. Recent research documents how money-politics pulls candidates away from the median and encourages ambiguity.

Maurizio Zanardi, Paola Conconi, Nicolas Sahuguet, 30 August 2008

The democratic peace – the regularity that democracies do not go to war with each other – is one of the most robust findings in political science. This column presents recent research showing that democratic leaders unable to seek another term in office behave like autocrats. Accountability to voters in the next election lies at the heart of the democratic peace.

Justin Wolfers, 25 July 2008

Justin Wolfers of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about prediction markets – where they come from; their use in election campaigns and corporate decision-making; how well they perform compared with alternative ways of aggregating information (such as opinion polls or staff meetings); how they can best be designed; and prospects for their application to such areas as geopolitical risks and the spread of disease. The interview was recorded at the American Economic Association meetings in New Orleans in January 2008.

Marco Buti, Alessandro Turrini, Paul van den Noord, 17 June 2008

European politicians fear embracing reform means losing elections. This column reviews the evidence that rejects this and considers how well-functioning financial markets could front-load reform benefits thereby reducing political opposition. Financial reform may be an essential part of structural reform packages.

Tito Boeri, 23 April 2008

Unemployment has fallen greatly in Europe during the last decade, yet governments creating millions of jobs are losing elections. The source of public dissatisfaction is that the price of lower unemployment is greater employment risk. This column proposes further labour market reforms to address the problem.

Andrew Gelman, Noah Kaplan, 05 April 2008

Voting behaviour seemingly confounds rational choice theory. But this column shows that voting can be perfectly rational, if voters are concerned with social benefits and not merely personal gains. Rationality and selfishness are not the same.

Juan Dolado, 11 March 2008

The conservative opposition party sought to fight Spanish election on issues of tax cuts and immigration. This backfired since there are no substantial differences between the parties’ agendas and the ruling Socialists had proved better in practice, especially concerning their immigration reform that had full support of employers and trade unions.

Esther Duflo, 03 January 2008

High quality empirical evidence from the shows that mass media influences voters but it is not clear that the media imparts a bias. It could be that improving access to any media informs voters and prompts them to turn against an embattled incumbent.

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