V. Leone Sciabolazza (2020), Bargaining within the European Council: An empirical study on the allocation of funds of the European budget.

Little is known about the bargaining process of the European Council, because negotiations of member countries occur behind closed doors. Using a brand-new dataset, we analyze the factors leading a country to a successful negotiation over one of the most important decisions taken by the Council every year, that for the allocation of the European budget. Important predictors of a country’s bargaining success, proxied by the quota of EU budget received, are the extent to which its votes are pivotal to form a winning coalition in the Council, its seniority, the control over the Council presidency office, and the political orientation of its government on the EU integration process. We also provide new evidence that countries advancing a similar policy agenda may benefit from each other’s effort. Finally, we demonstrate that the reform of the Council introduced by the treaty of Niece had no significant impact on the bargaining process and the balance of power among member countries.

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V. Costantini, V. Leone Sciabolazza, E. Paglialunga (2020), Network-driven positive externalities in clean energy technology production: The case of energy efficiency in the EU residential sector.

In this paper, we propose a model of national innovation production that formalizes the role of trade partnerships as a channel of knowledge spillovers across countries. The model is used to investigate the energy efficiency technological domain in the European Union (EU) using a panel database covering 19 EU countries for the time span 1990-2015. The model is estimated by using a new empirical strategy which allow to assess the knowledge spillover effects benefiting a country depending on its relative position in the trade network, and correct for common endogeneity concerns. We show that being central in the trade network is a significant determinant of a country’s innovative performance, and that learning-by-exporting is responsible for positive knowledge spillovers across countries. We further reveal that neglecting network effects may significantly reduce our understanding of domestic innovation patterns. Finally, we find that the benefits obtained from knowledge diffusion varies with the domestic absorptive capacity and policy mix composition. Our main implication is that policy mix design informed by network-based case studies could help maximizing the exploitation of positive knowledge spillovers.

M. Battaglini, V. Leone Sciabolazza, E. Patacchini (2020), Abstentions and Social Networks in Congress, NBER Working Paper 27822

We study the extent to which personal connections among legislators influence abstentions in the U.S. Congress. Our analysis is conducted by observing representatives’ abstention for the universe of roll call votes held on bills in the 109th-113th Congresses. Our results show that a legislator’s propensity to abstain increases when the majority of his or her alumni connections abstains, even after controlling for other well-known predictors of abstention choices and a vast set of fixed effects. We further reveal that a legislator is more prone to abstain than to take sides when the demands from personal connections conflict with those of the legislator’s party.

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R. Cerqueti, L. De Benedictis, V. Leone Sciabolazza, Segregation with Social Linkages: Evaluating Schelling’s Model with Networked Individuals, Working paper, arXiv:2001.02959

This paper generalizes the original Schelling (1969, 1971a,b, 2006) model of racial and residential segregation to a context of variable externalities due to social linkages. In a setting in which individuals’ utility function is a convex combination of a heuristic function à la Schelling, of the distance to friends, and of the cost of moving, the prediction of the original model gets attenuated: the segregation equilibria are not the unique solutions. While the cost of distance has a monotonic pro-status-quo effect, equivalent to that of models of migration and gravity models, if friends and neighbours are formed following independent processes the location of friends in space generates an externality that reinforces the initial configuration if the distance to friends is minimal, and if the degree of each agent is high. The effect on segregation equilibria crucially depends on the role played by network externalities.

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M. Battaglini, Leone Sciabolazza V., Patacchini E. (2020), Effectiveness of connected legislators, American Journal of Political Science, 64(4), 739-756 [lead article]

In this paper, we study the extent to which social connections influence the legislative effectiveness of members of the U.S. Congress. We propose a simple model of legislative effectiveness that formalizes the role of social connections and generates simple testable predictions. The model predicts that a legislator’s equilibrium effectiveness is proportional to a specific weighted Katz-Bonacich centrality in the network of social connections, where the weights depend on the legislators’ characteristics. We then propose a new empirical strategy to test the theoretical predictions using the network of cosponsorship links in the 109th-113th Congresses. The strategy addresses network endogeneity by implementing a two-step Heckman correction based on an original instrument: the legislators’ alumni connections. We find that, in the absence of a correction, all measures of centrality in the cosponsorship network are significant. When we control for network endogeneity, however, only the measure suggested by the model remains significant, and the fit of the estimation is improved. We also study the influence of legislators’ characteristics on the size of network effects. In doing so, we provide new insights into how social connectedness interacts with factors such as seniority, partisanship and legislative leadership in determining legislators’ effectiveness.

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