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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 ...
Growing Up without Finance
Early-life exposure to local financial institutions increases household financial inclusion and leads to long-term improvements in consumer credit outcomes. We identify the effect of local financial markets using congressional legislation that led to large and unintended differences in financial market development across Native American reservations. Individuals who grow up on financially underdeveloped reservations enter formal credit markets later than individuals from financially developed reservations and have persistently worse consumer credit outcomes (10 point lower credit scores and a ...
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 ...