Tuesday December 12, Jan Falkowski (University of Warsaw) will give a seminar on his paper entitled “Distribution of political rents and voter support: some evidence on farm subsidies and electoral performance of a peasant party in Poland."
The seminar will take place in room B0079 between 12:00-13:00.
Lunch will be provided.
State involvement in redistribution is often assumed to be driven by the political process. In line with this logic, an extensive literature has shown that rent creation and rent assignment can provide tangible political benefits in the form of votes of those supported by public policies. In this paper we would like to address a related but distinct issue, namely what happens to voter support once the rents remain but political actors can no longer influence them. Put differently, we examine a situation in which the rents that were previously endogenously created become exogenous.
In our empirical analysis we look at rents provided by agricultural policy, which has been often presented as a classic example of a policy that generates special benefits for special groups. Our example comes from Poland, a country where agricultural sector has been an important source of employment and where agrarian party played an important role on the political scene. The country’s agricultural policy experienced a radical shift with the accession to the European Union (in May 2004). Adopting the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) largely ruled out the possibility of domestic political actors to influence the amount and allocation of subsidies offered to a farming population. Drawing on a unique database on more than one million individual beneficiaries of CAP payments in 2014, we examine whether the distribution of these payments at the local level may have had any impact on voter support for the agrarian Polish Peasant Party (PSL), which was in charge of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in the period 2007-2015. Our focus is on the 2015 elections, in which the party secured only 5.13% of votes, its worst result in any post-1989 elections.