Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Party discipline and redistributive preferences

Dos buenos papers para entender, entre otras cosas, las causas y consecuencias de la disciplina partidista y, por otro lado, de dónde vienen (y cuánto tardarán en irse) las preferencias redistributivas del electorado que vivió bajo el socialismo.

(Cualquier relación con la disciplina partidista y el voto duro del PRI no es mera coincidencia...)

"Party Discipline and Pork-Barrel Politics"

BY:  GENE M. GROSSMAN, Princeton University
ELHANAN HELPMAN, Harvard University
July 2005

Polities differ in the extent to which political parties can  pre-commit to carry out promised policy actions if they take  power. Commitment problems may arise due to a divergence between  the ex ante incentives facing national parties that seek to  capture control of the legislature and the ex post incentives  facing individual legislators, whose interests may be more  parochial. We study how differences in "party discipline" shape  fiscal policy choices. In particular, we examine the  determinants of national spending on local public goods in a  three-stage game of campaign rhetoric, voting, and legislative  decision-making. We find that the rhetoric and reality of  pork-barrel spending, and also the efficiency of the spending  regime, bear a non-monotonic relationship to the degree of party  discipline.

"Good bye Lenin (or not?): The Effect of Communism on People's  Preferences"

      BY:  ALBERTO F. ALESINA, Harvard University
           NICOLA FUCHS-SCHUNDELN, Harvard University

 Preferences for redistribution, as well as the generosities of  welfare states, differ significantly across countries. In this  paper, we test whether there exists a feedback process of the  economic regime on individual preferences. We exploit the  experiment of German separation and reunification to establish  exogeneity of the economic system. From 1945 to 1990, East  Germans lived under a Communist regime with heavy state  intervention and extensive redistribution. We find that, after  German reunification, East Germans are more in favor of  redistribution and state intervention than West Germans, even  after controlling for economic incentives. This effect is  especially strong for older cohorts, who lived under Communism  for a longer time period. We find that East Germans' preferences  converge towards those of West Germans, and we calculate that it  will take one to two generations for preferences to converge completely.

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