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Regular version of the site

HSE Seminar on Political Economy: Anastasia Burkovskaya (University of Sydney) about Electoral Model and Ballot Stuffing

Topic: Identification of Electoral Model and Ballot Stuffing 

Abstract:

This paper introduces a model of electoral choice that allows for derivation of joint distribution of turnout and voter share from unobservable joint distribution of costs of voting and preferences over candidates. Under a set of mild assumptions, we show non-parametric identification of joint distribution of costs of voting and preferences over candidates from observable data on single elections/referendum. We also offer an extension of the model that helps to identify ballot stuffing type of electoral fraud. In addition, we offer an empirical illustration of the model estimation using 2011 Russian parliamentary election data.

HSE Seminar on Political Economy: Konstantin Sonin (University of Chicago and Higher School of Economics, Moscow) about Media Freedom

Topic: " Media Freedom in the Shadow of a Coup "

Abstract: 
Media freedom is a problem for any dictator as it resolves collective action problem in protests. However, a dictator might allow media freedom if there is a threat of a palace coup, the most frequent end of an autocratic leader tenure. We use a global game approach to analyze a situation, in which the incumbent leader trades off the possibility of protest against him and the possibility of protests aimed to restore his power if he is dismissed in a coup. Thus, media freedom serves as an ex ante protection for such a dictator, and the higher is the probability of a coup, the more media freedom the dictator would tolerate.

HSE Seminar on Political Economy: Ethan Bueno de Mesquita (University of Chicago) about cyberwarfare models

Topic: "Deterrence with Imperfect Attribution "

joint work with Sandeep Baliga (Northwestern University) and Alexander Wolitzky (MIT)

Abstract: Motivated by recent developments in cyberwarfare, we study deterrence in a world where attacks cannot be perfectly attributed to attackers. In the model, each of n attackers may attack the defender. The defender observes an imperfect signal that probabilistically attributes the attack. The defender may retaliate against one or more attackers, and wants to retaliate against the guilty attacker only. We uncover an endogenous strategic complementarity among the attackers: if one attacker becomes more aggressive, that attacker becomes more “suspect” and the other attackers become less suspect, which leads the other attackers to become more aggressive as well. Improving the defender’s ability to detect attacks or identify the source of attacks can hinder deterrence and lead to more attacks, but simultaneously improving both detection and identification—in that some attacks which previously went undetected are now both detected and unambiguously attributed—always reduces attacks. Deterrence is improved if the defender can commit to a retaliatory strategy in advance, but the defender should not always commit to retaliate more after every signal.
http://home.uchicago.edu/~bdm/PDF/deterrence.pdf

HSE Seminar on Political Economy: Chris Berry (University of Chicago) about Leader Effects

Topic: "Leadership or Luck? Randomization Inference for Leader Effects" 

Abstract: 
Anecdotal evidence suggests that some political leaders are more effective than others, causing better outcomes for their citizens. However, observed differences in outcomes between leaders could be attributable to chance variation. To solve this inferential problem, we develop RIFLE, a quantitative test of leader effects. RIFLE allows researchers to test a null hypothesis of no leader effect and also estimate the proportion of variation in an outcome variable attributable to leaders vs. other factors, and it provides more statistical power and more reliable inferences than other strategies. To demonstrate the substantive value of RIFLE, we implement it for world leaders, U.S. governors, and U.S. mayors and for several outcomes. RIFLE can be applied to virtually any setting with leaders and an objective outcome of interest, so its continued application should improve our understanding of where, when, and why leaders matter.  

HSE Seminar on Political Economy: Chris Miller (Fletcher School, Tufts University) about the Politics of Inflation and the Distribution of Income in Early 1990s Russia

Topic: "The Politics of Inflation and the Distribution of Income in Early 1990s Russia "

Abstract: This paper will reexamine the failure to stabilize prices, making use of newly collected sources from the State Archive of the Russian Federation as well as Yegor Gaidar’s personal archive. First, the paper will examine the Gaidar team’s views of inflation in 1991 and their expectations and preferences for 1992 and 1993. Then, the paper will reconstruct debates about inflation and monetary policy during the crucial years of 1992 and 1993, illustrating the extent to which Russia’s legislature, the Verkhovny Sovet, demanded policies that made price stabilization impossible. Finally, the paper will explore the distributional effects of the inflation, concluding by noting that the inflation’s reduction of household well-being is consistent with the thesis that firms and their representatives in the Verkhovny Sovet pushed the policies that made inflation inevitable.

HSE Seminar on Political Economy: Andy Eggers (Nuffield College, Oxford University, UK) about strategic voting

Topic: " Who votes more strategically? "

Abstract: Strategic voting is an important explanation for aggregate political phenomena, but we know little about how strategic voting varies across types of voters. Are richer voters more strategic than poorer voters? Does strategic behavior vary with age, education, gender or political leaning? The answers may be important for assessing how well an electoral system represents different preferences in society. We introduce a new approach to measuring and comparing strategic voting across voters that can be broadly applied given appropriate survey data. In recent British elections, we find no difference in strategic voting by education level, but we do find that older voters are more strategic than younger voters, richer voters are more strategic than poorer voters, and left-leaning voters are more strategic than right-leaning voters. In the case of age and income, the difference in strategic voting exacerbates known inequalities in political participation.

HSE Seminar on Political Economy: David Schindler (Tilburg University) about the attitudes towards minorities

Topic: " Shocking Racial Attitudes: Black GIs in Europe "

Abstract: Can attitudes towards minorities, an important cultural trait, be changed? We show that the presence of African American soldiers in the UK during World War II reduced anti-minority prejudice, a result of the positive interactions which took place between soldiers and the local population. The change has been persistent: in locations in which more African American soldiers were posted there are fewer members of the UK’s leading far-right party, less implicit bias against blacks and fewer individuals professing racial prejudice, all measured around 2010. We show that persistence has been higher in rural areas and areas with less subsequent in-migration.

International Economic Conference «Dynamics, Economic Growth and International Trade» (DEGIT-XXIII)

the Department of Theoretical Economics invites you to participate in «Dynamics, Economic Growth and International Trade» (DEGIT-XXIII) economic conference on 6-7 September 2018.

Lecture by N. Leonova on "A Review of Capital Flight Problem"

On Wednesday, March 21 the all-Russian seminar "Mathematical methods of decision analysis in economics, finance and politics" was held. N. Leonova gave a lecture on "A Review of Capital Flight Problem".

HSE Seminar on Political Economy: Melanie Meng Xue (Northwestern University) about the impact of autocratic rule on social capital

Topic: " Autocratic Rule and Social Capital: Evidence from Imperial China "

Abstract: This paper explores the impact of autocratic rule on social capital---defined as the beliefs, attitudes, norms and perceptions that support cooperation. Political repression is a distinguishing characteristic of autocratic regimes. Between 1660--1788, individuals in imperial China were persecuted if they were suspected of holding subversive attitudes towards the state. A difference-in-differences approach suggests that in an average prefecture, exposure to those literary inquisitions led to a decline of 38% in local charities---a key proxy of social capital.  Consistent with the historical panel results, we find that in affected prefectures, individuals have lower levels of generalized trust in modern China. Taking advantage of institutional variation in 20th c. China, and two instrumental variables, we provide further evidence that political repression permanently reduced social capital. Furthermore, we find that individuals in prefectures with a legacy of literary inquisitions are more politically apathetic. These results indicate a potential vicious cycle in which autocratic rule becomes self-reinforcing through causing a permanent decline in social capital.


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