Spring 2018 Publications
Becher, Michael, Daniel Stegmueller, and Konstantin Kaeppner. “Local Union Organization and Law Making in the US Congress.” Forthcoming in Journal of Politics.
The political power of labor unions is a contentious issue in the social sciences. Departing from the dominant focus on membership size, we argue that unions’ influence on national law making is based to an important degree on their local organization. We delineate the novel hypothesis that the horizontal concentration of union members within electoral districts matters.
Jensen, Nathan M. and Edmund J. Malesky. Incentives to Pander: How Politicians Use Corporate Welfare for Political Gain. Cambridge University Press.
Policies targeting individual companies for economic development incentives, such as tax holidays and abatements, are generally seen as inefficient, economically costly, and distortionary. Despite this evidence, politicians still choose to use these policies to claim credit for attracting investment. Thus, while fiscal incentives are economically inefficient, they pose an effective pandering strategy for politicians. Using original surveys of voters in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom as well as data on incentive use by politicians in the US, Vietnam and Russia, this book provides compelling evidence for the use of fiscal incentives for political gain and shows how such pandering appears to be associated with growing economic inequality.
Michael Munger. Tomorrow 3.0: Transaction Costs and the Sharing Economy. Cambridge University Press.
With the growing popularity of apps such as Uber and Airbnb, there has been a keen interest in the rise of the sharing economy. Michael C. Munger brings these new trends in the economy down to earth by focusing on their relation to the fundamental economic concept of transaction costs. In doing so Munger brings a fresh perspective on the 'sharing economy' in clear and engaging writing that is accessible to both general and specialist readers.
Tim Büthe and Cindy Cheng, "The Effect of Competition Law on Innovation: A Cross-National Statistical Analysis." In A Step Ahead: Competition Policy for Shared Prosperity and Inclusive Growth. (Papers/Proceedings from the Inaugural Meeting of the World Bank-OECD Global Network of Experts on Competition and Shared Prosperity.) Washington: World Bank. 2017: 187-224.
This chapter provides the first cross-sectional and panel analyses of the relationship between competition law and innovation at the aggregate, national level for a large number of jurisdictions, including a large sample of developing countries. We find that the adoption of competition laws indeed has a strongly statistically significant and positive effect on the rate of innovation cross nationally and over time, as measured by the number of patent filings.
Joseph L. Graves, Jill Powell, Chantelle Wolpert, Kerry L. Haynie. Morris W. Foster, Jessica W. Blanchard, Anna Hoffmeyer, Robert P. Agans, Charmaine D. M. Royal. 2018. "Genes, Race, and Causation: US Public Perspectives About Racial Difference,” Race and Social Problems. 2018.
Concerns have been raised that the increase in popular interest in genetics may herald a new era within which racial inequities are seen as “natural” or immutable. In the following study, we provide data from a nationally representative survey on how the US population perceives general ability, athleticism, and intellect being determined by race and/or genetics and whether they believe racial health inequities to be primarily the product of genetic or social factors. We find that self-described race is of primary importance in attributing general ability to race, increasing age is a significant factor in attributing athleticism and intellect to genes and race, and education is a significant factor in decreasing such racially and genetically deterministic views.
Munger, Michael, “The 'Character' of Profit and Loss: The Entrepreneurial Virtues,” with J. P. Couyoumdjian. In Iskra Fileva (ed), Questions of Character, Oxford University Press. 2018: 340-353.
It is common to say that in the commercial sphere of human activity one can be wise or virtuous. We argue that one can be both: the profit motive can be consistent with virtue. Aristotle's concept of a moral mean is an apt description of entrepreneurship, in circumstances we spell out. An honest entrepreneur, in intending only to increase his own profits, cultivates the habits of awareness and alertness to opportunities to correct "mistakes" in resource allocation in the world around him. In every instance where a mistake is corrected, all parties to the exchange are made better off.
Munger, Michael. “Objections to Euvoluntary Exchange Do Not Have ‘Standing’.” Journal of Value Inquiry. 51(4), 619-627.
A person can choose to be treated merely as a means, if the choice is euvoluntary. The exchange cannot be illegal if the state respects the rights of the individual to make his or her own choices unless there are good reasons to do otherwise. But that’s the definition of liberal autonomy. We extend liberal autonomy to voting decisions. All that is required is to extend it also to economic decisions, since political freedom can’t exist without the economic freedom to choose where to reside, what to do, and how to live.
Munger, Michael. “On the Origins and Goals of Public Choice: Constitutional Conspiracy?” Independent Review. 22(3): 359-382.
As I hope has been clear, as a book Democracy in Chains is well-written, and the research it contains is both interesting and in many cases illuminating. But as an actual history, as a reliable account of the centrality of the work of James Buchanan in a gigantic conspiracy designed to end democracy in America, it turns far away from its mark. It is the story of an alternative past that never actually happened.
Munger, Michael, "Can Profit-Seekers be Virtuous?" (with Dan Russell), in E. Heath, B. Kaldis, and Alexei Marcoux, eds., Routledge Companion for Business Ethics, Chapter 7. New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor and Francis. PP. 113-130.
Cicero, in On Duties III.15, tells of a man who asked the price of an estate he was trying to buy. When the seller named the price, the buyer replied that the price was too low and insisted on paying more. “There is no one,” Cicero writes, “who would deny that this was the act of a good man, but people do deny that it was the act of a wise man, just as if he had sold for less than he could have. This, then, is that mischievous doctrine: they consider some people to be good, and other people to be wise,” that is, worldly-wise: shrewd, sharp, and calculating. 2 Is that mischievous doctrine correct, or can profit seekers be virtuous people as well as clever people?
Sanders, Bailey. “Partisan Bridges to Bipartisanship: The Case of Contraceptive Coverage.” Forthcoming in Legislative Studies Quarterly.
The negative consequences of polarization have been pointed to by scholars and politicians alike as evidence of a need for a renewal of bipartisanship. However, scholarship on bipartisanship remains limited. This article develops a theory of partisan bridging that predicts when and why certain legislators might be willing to cross the partisan aisle. I argue that personal preferences can lead some legislators to cross the aisle in search of consensus, in effect serving as “partisan bridges.” I test my theory by examining the role of Republican women in the diffusion of contraceptive coverage at the state level. Through an individual‐level analysis of sponsorship and vote choice and an aggregate‐level analysis of policy diffusion, I find that moderate Republican women at times served as critical actors in the policy process.
Pablo Beramendi, Mark Dincecco, Melissa Rogers “Intra Elite Competition and Long Run Fiscal Development.” Forthcoming in Journal of Politics.
This paper exploits an original database that spans 30-plus developed and developing nations between 1870 and 2010 to perform the first empirical analysis of the relationship between historical levels of intra-elite competition and fiscal development over the long run. We argue that the timing of industrialization affects the extent of historical competition between agricultural and capitalist elites, which in turn helps shape key initial decisions over fiscal size and structure. Under "early" industrialization, intra-elite competition levels tended to be greater, promoting fiscal development characterized by high overall taxation and tax progressivity.
Bahar Leventoglu and Nils Metternich, “Born weak, growing strength: Anti-government protests as a signal of rebel strength in the context of civil wars.” Forthcoming, American Journal of Political Science.
We present a theoretical model that allows for rebel organizations to gain support beyond their “core” and build their bargaining power during fighting. We highlight that rebel organizations need to win over crucial parts of society to generate the necessary support that allows them to attain favorable civil conflict outcomes. We find empirical support for the argument that low‐income individuals who initially fight the government (rebel organizations) have to convince middle‐class individuals to turn out against the government to gain government concessions.
Austin Horng-En Wang and Fang-Yu Chen. 2018. "Extreme candidates as the beneficent spoiler? Range effect in the plurality voting system." Forthcoming, Political Research Quarterly.
How does the entrance of radical candidates influence election results? Conventional wisdom suggests that the extreme candidate merely splits the votes. But based on the extremeness aversion theory in consumer psychology, we hypothesize that the entrance of an extreme candidate reframes the endpoints of the ideological spectrum among available candidates, which makes the moderate one on the same side of the ideological spectrum to be thought of as the intermediate option, and therefore enhances its attractiveness to voters. Through survey experiments in the United States and Taiwan, we provide empirical support for extremeness aversion in democracies across different cultural contexts.