Summer reading: VoxEU roundup

Researchers in the Barcelona GSE community have written several widely-read articles on CEPR’s policy portal, VoxEU. In case you missed them, here are three articles from the 2016-17 academic year. [UPDATE: a third article was added on July 26, 2017.]

Compulsory voting, turnout, and government spending: Evidence from Austria

Mitchell Hoffman, Gianmarco León, María Lombardi

Electoral participation has declined in advanced democracies in recent years. This column examines the impact of compulsory voting on government policy, assessing whether increasing voter turnout would translate into changes in public policies. Using evidence from Austria, it finds that compulsory voting does not significantly affect government spending, but that the case may be different for countries with historically low turnout.

Child height and intergenerational transmission of health: Evidence from Indian migrants in England

Caterina Alacevich and Alessandro Tarozzi

Data typically show that people become progressively taller as living standards improve. But despite impressive recent rates of economic growth, India remains one of the worst-performing countries in terms of height. Using data from Indian and English health surveys, this column reveals that, conditional on parents’ height, children of Indian ethnicity are on average taller when born and raised in England rather than in India. The results provide evidence against the importance of genetic factors in explaining the disappointing growth performance of Indian children.

Changing political structures in the two waves of globalisation: Lessons for the EU

Gino Gancia, Giacomo Ponzetto, and Jaume Ventura

The number of countries in the world more than halved during the first wave of globalisation, but then rose significantly during the second. Border changes have been much more peaceful during this second wave, and this column asserts that these observations are consistent with a theory in which political structure adapts to expanding trade opportunities. Globalisation makes borders costly. In its early stages, borders are removed by increasing country size, while in later stages, the cost of borders is removed by creating peaceful economic unions, leading to a reduction in country size.