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Four "new political economy" essays.

Ban, Radu (2009) Four "new political economy" essays. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The first two essays examine the functioning of two local governance institutions empowered or created by the 73rd amendment to the Indian constitution. First, I look at village meetings which were given real decision-making powers by the constitutional amendment, thus becoming real deliberative spaces. The setting of village meetings allows me to study deliberative democracy, a frequently discussed but infrequently empirically examined alternative to preference aggregation (such as through voting). In particular, by using village meetings transcripts and linking them with a household survey, I am able to investigate the relationship between group and individual characteristics, and voice. My main findings show that not all villagers are equally heard in the meetings. I find that the deliberations are not equitable, relative to norms of equal influence relative to group size, and of equal time dedicated to each participant. Second, I look at political reservations for women, mandated by the same constitutional amendment. By using a household survey that includes the household of the village leader, I am able to examine whether the leaders in reserved constituencies are token women, chosen from among the weak women of the village only to be controlled by the traditional elites. I find that the women leaders are not weak, as they are among the younger, wealthier and more knowledgeable women in the village. In addition to this finding about the selection of women, I am also comparing the policy outcomes between reserved and unreserved constituencies. I find that women perform no differently from men in terms of provision of public goods, but also that women perform worse than men in terms of meeting with upper level officials. A finding that emphasizes the antagonism between women leaders and the traditional elites, is that women leaders' performance is negatively affected by the concentration of landowner-ship in the hands of the upper castes. In the third essay I examine the role of gubernatorial political incentives in the provision of assistance to the elderly in the early years of social security in the United States. I find that assistance to the elderly is higher when the term limit is not binding. Furthermore, as predicted by my theoretic model, I find that the term limit effect is present only in the states where the fraction elderly takes on moderate values. In addition the term limit effect is smaller when political competition is less intense. These findings combined suggest that assistance to elderly is shaped by the electoral incentives of the state governor. Finally, in the fourth essay, I examine the change in the likelihood of voting due to a weather shock. In particular, I find that the decrease in the likelihood of voting due to rain during the election day is higher for less educated, relative to more educated individuals. One hypothesis that I put forward is that individuals who experience a lower drop in the likelihood of voting due to rain act strategically because they realize that their vote is likely to weigh more given that overall voting presence is reduced. An important assumption that I make is that, conditional on the comprehensive set of observable individual characteristics, the increase in the cost of voting due to rain is equal across individuals. Using measures of rain for specific time intervals during the election day I make comparisons between individuals for whom this important assumption may hold.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Economics, General
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > Economics

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