Fri. Jul 19th, 2019

Economy for elections | Economy

Economy for elections | Economy

Spain is facing new elections without having carried out reforms since 2013. With a public debt of 97% of GDP. Without an energy policy or innovation and technological and digital development defined. All of them (reforms, debt, long-term policies), issues that are barely mentioned in the electoral campaigns. It is paradoxical that the parties have reformed their strategies, spent huge sums in reorienting them and established "innovative" practices to attract votes. The objective is today clearer than ever and the specialists in public economy, voting systems or institutional design are not alien to it: to bombard the impressionable voter. It is the citizen whose vote depends fundamentally on the ability of the parties to stimulate a particularly sensitive aspect, although not necessarily determinant for their welfare. This voter, instead of maximizing his expected utility-carefully weighing the issues that will be important in the long term for him and his family-is carried away by the intensity of the impressions emitted by the parties. The media and, above all, social networks and word of mouth are the main transmission mechanisms. In international experience, in some cases like the Brexit or the North American elections, these practices could have even gone too far.

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It is difficult to determine how many non-impressionable voters remain or how much they individually are able to avoid ramming the cloak of emotions that put them before and again. In any case, there is experimental evidence that short but intense and properly oriented impressions can change many undecided votes. A close relationship has also been demonstrated between the economic facilities that a Government of a territorial area finds and the political sign of the immediately superior territorial area, something relevant in a context such as the current one in Spain where the electoral appointments are several. And, more importantly, there has been a growing tendency in parties to deliberately ignore during campaigns issues that, while being crucial, may have little electoral sales among impressionable voters.

In Spain, few parties are going to talk about a real reform of pensions when all have voted in favor of a revaluation according to the CPI in pre-electoral environments. Lacking pedagogical intention, they do not want to illustrate the importance of environmental, energy, innovation or digitization policies and translate their extraordinary economic returns for potential voters. They are aspects that are in the electoral programs as a constant script but little or no comment and sold to the citizen. They require investments and short-term sacrifices, but they imply a total change in habits and ways of life. For the best Perhaps the important thing is to sell the transition, to make it known that there is room for everyone in a more digital, cleaner and older society. New jobs (with more training of human capital and more technology) have to coexist for a time with jobs that meet the needs of less educated workers and a fairer intergenerational transition.


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