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Clientelism and Patronage

Voting Power and the Supply of News Media: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from India

In this paper, we investigate how media owners react to changes in the political importance of vote choices — voting power — in different areas. Whereas “one person, one vote” is often considered the guiding principle of democracies, there is…

Policy Brief: Do political dynasties hinder development? Evidence from Pakistan

While political dynasties are pervasive across developing countries we have limited knowledge of their impact on economic development. We probe this in a context where electoral politics is both competitive and clientelist. Leveraging novel databases on political genealogies and local…

Entrenched political dynasties and development under competitive clientelism: Evidence from Pakistan

In this paper, we estimate the impact of dynastic families on local development in Pakistan’s largest province, Punjab. Toward this purpose,we compile an original database on political genealogies, which includes information aboutthe personal and family characteristics of both elected representatives…

Policy brief: A Theory of Power Structure and Institutional Compatibility: China vs. Europe revisited

Throughout history, Rulers have always faced challenges to their rule. These challenges came either from outside aggressors, popular uprisings or Elite conspiracies. The ability of Rulers to respond to these challenges has varied a lot across countries and across time….

Policy brief: Clientelistic politics and pro poor targeting

Studies examining expenditure policies of local governments (panchayats) in India have found evidence of failure to target benefits to poor regions or households. This mis-targeting can be either in the form of diversion to local elites, or forms of political…

Working paper: Clientelistic politics and pro poor targeting: rules versus discretionary budgets

Past research has provided evidence of clientelistic politics in delivery of program benefits by local governments (gram panchayats (GPs)), and manipulation of GP pro- gram budgets by legislators and elected officials at upper tiers in West Bengal, India. Using household…

A theory of power structure and institutional compatibility: China vs. Europe revisited

Abstract: Historical narratives suggest that general differences exist in the power structure of society between Imperial China and Premodern Europe: the Ruler enjoyed a weaker absolute power in Europe, while in China the People were more on par with the…

Electoral importance and media consumption: quasi-experimental evidence and new data from India

Abstract: What are the determinants of news media consumption? In this paper, we investigate whether it is determined by political motives. We build a new panel dataset on Indian publications at the city level between 2002 and 2017. We exploit…

Age sets and accountability

Abstract: This document is the second of two progress reports that provide an overview of the progress made on the DFID RA4 project “Social structures, political accountability, and effective public goods provision.” Our study is interested in better understanding how…

Economic persistence in face of adversity: Evidence from Kyrgyz tribes through Soviet times

Abstract: We study the role of traditional institutions of tribes and clans – large groups of people sharing an identity based on common lineage – in determining long-run differences in economic trajectories at sub-national level. Using a combination of rich…

Economic persistence despite adverse policies: Evidence from Kyrgyzstan

Abstract: We study the long-run persistence of relative economic well-being in the face of highly adverse government policies using a combination of rich historical and contemporaneous data sources from Kyrgyzstan. Even after controlling for unobservable local effects, the economic well-being…

Mozambique Institutional Diagnostic: Chapter 12

Mozambique Institutional Diagnostic Chapter 12: Natural resources, institutions, and economic transformation in Mozambique Abstract: In the light of Mozambique’s natural resources boom—especially its large-scale investments in mining, oil, and gas—this paper analyses the prospects for the extractive industries to contribute…

Mozambique Institutional Diagnostic: Chapter 11

Mozambique Institutional Diagnostic Chapter 11: Donor relations and sovereignty Abstract: As a sovereign country, Mozambique initially relied on international solidarity and managed its donor relations well. Donor dependency entailed some loss of agency for the government as it allowed donors…

Religion, Politics, and Judicial Independence: Theory and Evidence

Abstract: Most enlightenment philosophers argued that the separation between Church and State would prevent capture of resources by one state religion. We formalize and test a theory that addresses a different danger. We demonstrate that a reduction in the separation…

Benin – Campaign finance and state capture

This publication is part of the Benin Institutional Diagnostic. This chapter uses a novel database on contractual arrangements between politicians, political brokers, and businessmen in Benin to investigate the way the nature of these arrangements depends on the level of…

Policy Brief: Resource transfers to local governments (West Bengal)

This EDI Policy Brief provides an accessible summary of key insights and findings from research for a case study on “Discretion versus rule-based budgeting and assignment in Indian governments“. Clientelism and vote buying are commonly mentioned symptoms of poor governance in…

Resource transfers to local governments (West Bengal)

This EDI Working Paper arises from the research undertaken for a case study on “Discretion versus rule-based budgeting and assignment in Indian governments“. The study shows how political support of household heads respond to receipt of different private and public good…

Tanzania Institutional Diagnostic – Chapter 3

Tanzania Institutional Diagnostic Chapter 3: Politics and business Chapter outline Introduction Theoretical framework and methodology The early independence period: 1961–66 The situation at independence Origins of the position of Asians Development initiatives in early post-independence period Continued concern over social…

Clientelistic politics and economic development – an overview

This paper provides an overview of the literature on political clientelism  and its relation to economic development. It starts by describing the range of mechanisms used by political operatives to monitor how specific voters vote in order to target clientelistic…

Formal Institutions and Development in Low-Income Countries: Positive and Normative Theory

This paper reviews and discusses the literature on formal institutions and development. We first discuss the mapping from institutions to economic development, with the main emphasis on the effect on economic growth. We thereafter discuss two main literatures on endogenous…

Institutions and Development: An Overview of Case Studies

Institutions are commonly defined as the rules of the game that societies play which in shared understanding act as constraints on and guidelines for economic performance. This paper provides an overview of case studies from the two largest developing countries,…

Institutions, Growth Accelerations and Growth Collapses

A next step forward in examining economic growth and institutions is examining the frequency, timing and magnitude of “growth episodes”—discrete accelerations and de-celerations in medium to long run growth.  This will be challenging as to the extent that very long-run…

Foreign Aid and Governance: A survey

This paper surveys the literature on the two-way relationship between development aid and the quality of institutions in developing countries. Aid may improve institutions, e.g. when conditionality succeeds, but it can also have unintended effects that are typically negative, e.g….

Conflict and Development

In this review, we examine the links between economic development and social conflict. By economic development, we refer broadly to aggregate changes in per-capita income and wealth, or in the distribution of that wealth. By social conflict, we refer to…

Group inequality in democracies: lessons from cross-national experiences

Group inequality is a prominent feature of many modern democracies. The purpose of this paper is to take stock of what we know about the ways in which major democracies have viewed social groups and addressed inequalities between them. Countries…

At the Intersection: A Review of Institutions in Economic Development

We present accepted basic arguments on the role of institutions in development and then discuss the corresponding empirical evidence in support (or not) of those arguments. Methodologically, our emphasis is on experimental evidence wherever available, and thematically we focus on…

Spotlight on Inequality and Institutions

Sam Bowles of the Santa Fe Institute explains how institutions are the rules of the game, that regulate how we interact with each other. “If we don’t understand how institutions work, we can’t possibly understand how economies change,” he says….

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