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The Weber-Fechner Law and Public Expenditures Impact to the Win-Margins at Parliamentary Elections

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  • Paulo Jorge Reis Mourao

Abstract

This paper discusses the electoral implications of psychological motivation on voting functions. We tested a claim of the Weber-Fechner law as applied to electoral behaviour-specifically, that an expanded public sector leads politicians to make more significant, opportunistic distortions of public expenditures than the distortions observed when the public sector is diminished. We employed a system of simultaneous equations to test this hypothesis for cases observed in more than sixty democracies since 1960. We gave a special focus to the cases of Central and Eastern European countries. Our results confirm the main implications of the Weber-Fechner law. Years in incumbency, running for re-election, higher unemployment and higher inflation rates tend to generate negative moods, feelings and affects in the electorate; thus, these factors tend to approximate the vote share of the most voted party to the remaining vote share of the challenger political forces.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Economics, Prague in its journal Prague Economic Papers.

Volume (Year): 2012 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 291-308

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Handle: RePEc:prg:jnlpep:v:2012:y:2012:i:3:id:425:p:291-308

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Related research

Keywords: Weber-Fechner law; voting; Central and Eastern European economies;

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References

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  1. Akhmed Akhmedov & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2003. "Opportunistic Political Cycles: Test in a Young Democracy Setting," Working Papers w0024, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  2. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2000. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," CID Working Papers 42, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  3. Shi, Min & Svensson, Jakob, 2006. "Political budget cycles: Do they differ across countries and why?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1367-1389, September.
  4. Nordhaus, William D, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 169-90, April.
  5. Aidt, T.S. & Veiga, F.J. & Veiga, L.G., 2009. "Election Results and Opportunistic Policies: A New Test of the Rational Political Business Cycle Model," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0934, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  6. Nannestad, Peter & Paldam, Martin, 1994. " The VP-Function: A Survey of the Literature on Vote and Popularity Functions after 25 Years," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 79(3-4), pages 213-45, June.
  7. Alt, James E. & Lassen, David Dreyer, 2006. "Fiscal transparency, political parties, and debt in OECD countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1403-1439, August.
  8. Coates, Dennis, 1998. " Additional Incumbent Spending Really Can Harm (at Least Some) Incumbents: An Analysis of Vote Share Maximization," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(1-2), pages 63-87, April.
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