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.

Hans Gersbach, 26 September 2007

Incumbents enjoy an electoral advantage that they have been known to exploit to the detriment of society. Recent theoretical research into “political contracts” suggests ways of mitigating the incumbency problem.


CEPR Policy Research