Daniel Enemark, Clark C. Gibson, Mathew D. McCubbins, and Brigitte Seim (2016). “Effect of Holding Office on the Behavior of Politicians,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113(48): 13690–13695
Reciprocity is central to our understanding of politics. Most political exchanges—whether they involve legislative vote trading, interbranch bargaining, constituent service, or even the corrupt exchange of public resources for private wealth—require reciprocity. But how does reciprocity arise? Do government officials learn reciprocity while holding office, or do recruitment and selection practices favor those who already adhere to a norm of reciprocity? We recruit Zambian politicians who narrowly won or lost a previous election to play behavioral games that provide a measure of reciprocity. This combination of regression discontinuity and experimental designs allows us to estimate the effect of holding office on behavior. We find that holding office increases adherence to the norm of reciprocity. This study identifies causal effects of holding office on politicians’ behavior.
Jenke, Libby and Scott Huettel (2016) "Issues or Identity? Cognitive Foundations of Voter Choice." Trends in Cognitive Sciences 20(11): 794-804.
Voter choice is one of the most important problems in political science. The most common models assume that voting is a rational choice based on policy positions (e.g., key issues) and nonpolicy information (e.g., social identity, personality). Though such models explain macroscopic features of elections, they also reveal important anomalies that have been resistant to explanation. We argue for a new approach that builds upon recent research in cognitive science and neuroscience; specifically, we contend that policy positions and social identities do not combine in merely an additive manner, but compete to determine voter preferences. This model not only explains several key anomalies in voter choice, but also suggests new directions for research in both political science and cognitive science.
Malesky, Edmund and Markus Taussig (2016). “The Danger of Not Listening to Firms: Government Responsiveness and the Goal of Regulatory Compliance,” Academy of Management Journal, Published ahead of print November 28.
Firms in emerging economies exhibit dangerously low rates of compliance with government regulations aimed at protecting society from the negative externalities of their operations. This study builds on individual-level theories from organizational behavior (procedural justice) and political science (deliberative democracy) to develop new firm-level theory on the mechanism by which a firm is more likely to comply with a regulation after participating in its design by government. We hypothesize and find supporting evidence that such participation increases the likelihood of compliance by positively shaping the firm's view of government legitimacy, but only if the firm views government as responsive to its input. Without this responsiveness, regulatory compliance is even less likely than if the firm did not participate at all. Our empirical work is novel in its focus on the political activities of firms not only within the authoritarian-ruled emerging economy context of Vietnam, but also through study of a highly representative sample dominated by small and medium sized enterprises. We discuss how our work contributes to non-market strategy literatures on corporate social responsibility, self-regulation, and corporate political activity, as well as its implications for public policy.