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How Do Voters Respond to Welfare vis-à-vis Public Good Programs? An Empirical Test for Clientelism
This paper examines allocation of benefits under local government programs in West Bengal, India to isolate patterns consistent with political clientelism. Using household survey data, we find that voters respond positively to private welfare benefits but not to local public good programs, while reporting having benefited from both. Consistent with the voting patterns, shocks to electoral competition induced by exogenous redistricting of villages resulted in upper-tier governments manipulating allocations across local governments only for welfare programs. Through the lens of a hierarchical ...
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 program budgets by legislators and elected officials at upper tiers in West Bengal, India. Using household panel survey data spanning 1998-2008, we examine the consequences of clientelism for distributive equity. We find that targeting of anti-poverty programs was progressive both within and across GPs, and is explained by greater 'vote responsiveness' of poor households to receipt of welfare benefits. Across-GP allocations were ...
The Effect of Constitutional Provisions on Education Policy and Outcomes
Education services in the United States are determined predominantly by non-market institutions, the rules of which are defined by state constitutions. This paper empirically examines the effect of changes in constitutional provisions on education outcomes in the United States. To show causal effects, we exploit discontinuities in the procedure for adopting constitutional amendments to compare outcomes when an amendment passed with those when an amendment failed. Our results show that adoption of an amendment results in higher per-pupil expenditure, higher teacher salaries, smaller class ...
Minimum Wages and Labor Markets in the Twin Cities
Using merged administrative datasets from Minnesota, we bring new evidence on the labor market effects of large minimum wage increases by examining the policy changes implemented by Minneapolis and Saint Paul. We begin by using synthetic difference-in-differences methods to estimate counterfactual outcomes at the zip code level from Minnesota and at the city level from the rest of the country. The minimum wage did not affect employment in most industries but exerted a negative impact on restaurants' employment, with an elasticity of -0.8. Next, using variation in exposure to the minimum wage ...
Online Appendix for: How Do Voters Respond to Welfare vis-à-vis Public Good Programs? An Empirical Test for Clientelism
This appendix accompanies Staff Report 605: How Do Voters Respond to Welfare vis-à-vis Public Good Programs? An Empirical Test for Clientelism.