Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

The Impact of Political Competition on Economic Growth: Evidence from Municipalities in South Africa

This paper examines the impact of political competition on economic growth. Using results from the 1994 and 1999 elections I show that municipalities with a decisive vote either for or against the dominant national party have grown faster than municipalities with more voter competition amongst various political parties.

Political transition in a small open economy: Retracing the economic trail of South Africa’s long walk to democracy

This paper seeks to offer an economic explanation for the emergence of democracy in societies with high income inequality and narrow middle-class such as Apartheid South Africa. The presence of a credible threat of capital flight is shown to render democracy less unpleasant to the elites by making future tax concessions possible. However, inequality should be sufficiently low for the poor to have enough incentive to concede less redistribution to avoid capital flight.

Don’t Make War, Make Elections. Franchise Extension and Violence in XIXth-Century Colombia

This paper studies the effect of strengthening democracy, as captured by an increase in voting rights, on the incidence of violent civil conflict in nineteenth-century Colombia. Empirically studying the relationship between democracy and conflict is challenging, not only because of conceptual problems in de ning and measuring democracy, but also because political institutions and violence are jointly determined.

Do rent-seeking and interregional transfers contribute to urban primacy in sub-Saharan Africa?

We develop an economic geography model where mobile skilled workers choose to either work in a production sector or to become part of an unproductive elite. The elite sets income tax rates to maximize its own welfare by extracting rents, thereby influencing the spatial structure of the economy and changing the available range of consumption goods. We show that either unskilled labor mobility, or rent-seeking behavior, or both, are likely to favor the occurence of agglomeration and of urban primacy.

Ostracism and Common Pool Resource Management in a Developing Country: Young Fishers in the Laboratory

This paper investigates how the possibility to ostracise, which is a familiar punishment mechanism to subjects in an experiment, affects harvest in a common pool resource experiment. The experiment was framed as a fishing problem and the subjects were young fishers in Ghana. We find that the introduction of the possibility to ostracise other members of a group at a cost to the remaining members of a group decreased over-fishing significantly in comparison with the situation where ostracism was not possible. The ostracism was based on at least 50 percent voting rule.

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