Publications

Working Paper
Working Paper. Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence -Parties with reservations, declarations and objections. Overheid.nl. Publisher's VersionAbstract

https://verdragenbank.overheid.nl/en/Treaty/Details/012294_b.html

List of countries that have ratified the Istanbul Convention and any reservations from that country to the Convention. 

David Skarbek. Working Paper. “"Covenants without the Sword? Comparing Prison Self-Governance Globally."”.Abstract
Why does prison social order vary around the world? While many of the basic characteristics of prisons are similar globally, the extent and form of informal inmate organization varies substantially. This article develops a governance theory of prison social order. Inmates create extralegal governance institutions when official governance is insufficient. The size and demographics of the prison population explain why inmates produce extralegal governance institutions in either decentralized ways, such as ostracism, or through more centralized forms, such as gangs. Comparative analysis of Brazil, Bolivia, England, Scandinavia, and men's and women's prisons in California provide empirical support.
skarbek2016.pdf
Esteban F. Klor, Sebastian Saiegh, and Shanker Satyanath. Working Paper. “"Crony Capitalism and the Targeting of Violence: Labor Repression During Argentina's Last Dictatorship"”.Abstract

This paper studies whether crony governance affects the logic behind governments’ targeting of violence, and how the deployment of violence allows politically connected firms to benefit from crony governance. We address these issues in the context of the Argentine military junta that took power on March 24, 1976. Specifically, we examine the logic driving the choice of firm level union representatives who were subjected to violence following the coup. Using an original dataset assembled and digitized by us, we find that political, business and social connections to the regime are associated with an increase of 2 to 3 times in the number of firm level union representatives arrested and/or disappeared. This is the case even after controlling for a battery of firms’ characteristics that capture alternative explanations for the targeting of violence. The effect is particularly pronounced in privately owned (as opposed to state-owned) firms, suggesting that the correlation is driven by cronyism for financial gain rather than ideology or information transmission. We also show that connected firms benefited from violence against union representatives by subsequently having less strikes and a higher market valuation. Our findings highlight the pervasiveness of ties to the government, even in cases where one of the main stated goals of the regime is to curb cronyism.

kloretal2017.pdf
Alberto Bisin, Jared Rubin, Avner Seror, and Thierry Verdier. Working Paper. “Culture, Institutions & the Long Divergence”.Abstract
Recent theories of the Long Divergence between Middle Eastern and Western European economies focus on Middle Eastern (over-)reliance on religious legitimacy, use of slave soldiers, and persistence of restrictive proscriptions of religious (Islamic) law. These theories take as exogenous the cultural values that complement the prevailing institutions. As a result, they miss the role of cultural values in either supporting the persistence of or inducing change in the economic and institutional environment. In this paper, we address these issues by modeling the joint evolution of institutions and culture. In doing so, we place the various hypotheses of economic divergence into one, unifying framework. We highlight the role that cultural transmission plays in reinforcing institutional evolution toward either theocratic or secular states. We extend the model to shed light on political decentralization and technological change in the two regions.
bisin_et_al_culture_institutions_the_long_divergence_.pdf
Oliver Volckart. Working Paper. “The Dear Old Holy Roman Realm. How Does it Hold Together? Monetary Policies, Cross-cutting Cleavages, and Political Cohesion in the Age of Reformation ”.Abstract
Research has rejected Ranke’s hypothesis that the Reformation emasculated the Holy Roman Empire and thwarted the emergence of a German nation state for centuries. However, current explanations of the Empire’s cohesion that emphasise the effects of outside pressure or political rituals are not entirely satisfactory. This article contributes to a fuller explanation by examining a factor that so far has been overlooked: monetary policies. Monetary conditions within the Empire encouraged its members to cooperate with each other and the emperor. Moreover, cross-cutting cleavages – i.e. the fact that both Catholics and Protestants were split among themselves in monetary-policy questions – allowed actors on different sides of the confessional divide to find common ground. The paper analyses the extent to which cleavages affected the negotiations about the creation of a common currency between the 1520s and the 1550s, and whether monetary policies helped bridging the religious divide, thus increasing the Empire’s political cohesion.
volckart2018.pdf
Jaume Ventura and Hans-Joachim Voth. Working Paper. “"Debt into Growth: How Sovereign Debt Accelerated the First Industrial Revolution"”.Abstract

Why did the country that borrowed the most industrialize first? Earlier research has viewed the explosion of debt in 18th century Britain as either detrimental, or as neutral for economic growth. In this paper, we argue instead that Britain’s borrowing boom was beneficial. The massive issuance of liquidly traded bonds allowed the nobility to switch out of low-return investments such as agricultural improvements. This switch lowered factor demand by old sectors and increased profits in new, rising ones such as textiles and iron. Because external financing contributed little to the Industrial Revolution, this boost in profits in new industries accelerated structural change, making Britain more industrial more quickly. The absence of an effective transfer of financial resources from old to new sectors also helps to explain why the Industrial Revolution led to massive social change – because the rich nobility did not lend to or invest in the revolutionizing industries, it failed to capture the high returns to capital in these sectors, leading to relative economic decline.

venturavoth2015.pdf
Sai Srivatsa Ravindranath, Zhe Feng, Shira Li, Jonathan Ma, Scott D. Kominers, and David C. Parkes. Working Paper. “Deep Learning for Two-Sided Matching.” CoRR abs/2107.03427.
Jeffery A. Jenkins and Charles Stewart III. Working Paper. “"The Deinstitutionalization (?) of the House of Representatives: Reflections on Nelson Polsby's 'Institutionalization of the House of Representatives' at Fifty"”.Abstract

This paper revisits Nelson Polsby’s classic article “The Institutionalization of the House of Representatives” nearly fifty years after its publication, in order to examine whether the empirical trends that Polsby identified have continued. This empirical exploration allows us to place Polsby’s findings in broader historical context and to assess whether the House has continued along the “institutionalization course” — using metrics that quantify the degree to which the House has erected impermeable boundaries with other institutions, created a complex institution, and adopted universalistic decisionmaking criteria. Empirically we document that careerism bottomed-out right at the point Polsby wrote “Institutionalization,” and that the extension of the careerism trend has affected Democrats more than Republicans. The House remains complex, but lateral movement between the committee and party leadership systems began to re-establish itself a decade after Institutionalization was published. Finally, the seniority system as a mechanism for selecting committee chairs — the primary measure of universalistic decisionmaking criteria — has been almost thoroughly demolished. Thus, most of the trends Polsby identified have moderated, but have not been overturned. We conclude by considering the larger set of interpretive issues that our empirical investigation poses.

jenkinsstewart2016.pdf
Felipe Barrera-Osorio, David S. Blakeslee, Matthew Hoover, Leigh L. Linden, Raju Dhushyanth, and Stephen Ryan. Working Paper. “Delivering education to the underserved through a public-private partnership program in Pakistan (September 2017)”.Abstract

Governments are increasingly using the private sector to improve the delivery of public education. We contribute to this literature by evaluating a program that randomly assigned newly-created private schools to underserved villages in Pakistan. Private operators were given a per-student subsidy to provide tuition-free primary education in 100 villages, with half of them receiving a higher subsidy for female students. The program increased enrollment by 30 percentage points, and test scores by 0.63 standard deviations. The effects were similar across genders, and across the two subsidy treatments. Program schools were of higher quality than nearby government schools, despite their far lower unit costs. Entrepreneurs exercised wide latitude over school inputs, allowing us to investigate how private providers respond to household demand for education. A structural model for the supply and demand of school inputs indicates that program schools selected inputs similar to those of a social planner who internalizes all the educational benefits to society. (2017)

 

delivering_education_to_the_underserved_fbarrera.pdf
Bert Kramer and Petros Milionis. Working Paper. “Democratic Constraints and Adherence to the Classical Gold Standard”.Abstract
We study how domestic politics affected the decisions of countries to adhere to the classical gold standard. Using a variety of econometric techniques and controlling for a wide range of economic factors, we demonstrate that political constraints were important in the decision of countries to adopt the gold standard as well as in the decision to suspend it. Specifically we find that the probability of adherence to the gold standard was ceteris paribus lower for countries in which domestic politics were organized in a more open and democratic fashion. This effect appears to be driven largely by the extent of domestic political competition and was particularly relevant for peripheral countries.
kramermilionis2018.pdf
Christian Salas, Frances Rosenbluth, and Ian Shapiro. Working Paper. “The Democratic Politics of Job Loss”.Abstract
In this paper we argue that the disappearance of jobs that served as the backbone of a politically moderate working class fragmented parties on the left. First, we build a simple model of strategic platform competition to show that a decrease in the cohesiveness of the left vote fragments the parties on the left and shifts the enacted policy away from the median voter. Informed by the model, we then present evidence of these phenomena. We construct a new database on the fragmentation of political parties by vote and seat share in the parliament of 35 OECD countries from 1945 to 2017. We show that a 10 percent fall in industrial jobs is associated with an increase of 0.6 parties on the left. This effect is mostly present in Proportional Representation systems, among which the effect is stronger the more proportional the system. No effect on overall or right-parties fragmentation from changes in industrial jobs is observed, as expected. In order to test the extent to which these results are causal, we perform an instrumental variables estimation, which largely confirms the direction of our results. Finally, using the timing of scheduled elections to identify fixed-effects estimates, we provide suggestive evidence that left fragmentation shifts policy focus away from the median voter, as predicted by the model.
salasetal2018.pdf
Melissa Dell and Benjamin A. Olken. Working Paper. “"The Development Effects of the Extractive Colonial Economy: The Dutch Cultivation System in Java"”.Abstract
Colonial powers typically organized economic activity in the colonies to maximize their
economic returns. While the literature has emphasized long-run negative economic impacts via institutional quality, the changes in economic organization implemented to spur production historically could also directly influence economic organization in the long-run, exerting countervailing effects. We examine these in the context of the Dutch Cultivation System, the integrated industrial and agricultural system for producing sugar that formed the core of the Dutch colonial enterprise in 19th century Java. We show that areas close to where the Dutch established sugar factories in the mid-19th century are today more industrialized, have better infrastructure, are more educated, and are richer than nearby counterfactual locations that would have been similarly suitable for colonial sugar factories. We also show, using a spatial regression discontinuity design on the catchment areas around each factory, that villages forced to grow sugar cane have more village owned land and also have more schools and substantially higher education levels, both historically and today. The results suggest that the economic structures implemented by colonizers to facilitate production can continue to promote economic activity in the long run, and we discuss the contexts where such effects are most likely to be important. 
dellolken2017.pdf
Latika Chaudhary and James Fenske. Working Paper. “Did railways affect literacy? Evidence from India”.Abstract
We study the effect of railroads, the single largest public investment in colonial India, on human capital. Using district-level data on literacy, we find railroads had positive effects on literacy, in particular on male and English literacy. We employ two identification strategies. First, we exploit synthetic panel variation contained in cohort-specific literacy rates due to differences in the timing of railroad exposure of different cohorts within the same district and census year. We find a one standard deviation increase in railroad exposure raises literacy by 0.29 standard deviations. Second, we use distance from an early railway plan as an instrument for district railway exposure in the cross section and find results of similar magnitude. We show that railroads increased literacy by raising secondary, rather than primary, schooling. Our mediation analysis suggests that non-agricultural income and opportunities for skilled employment are important mechanisms, while agricultural income is not.
chaudary_fenske_railways_and_literacy_in_india.pdf
Working Paper. Die Hard.
Soichiro Yamauchi. Working Paper. “Difference-in-Differences for Ordinal Outcomes: Application to the Effect of Mass Shootings on Attitudes toward Gun Control”. arXivAbstract
The difference-in-differences (DID) design is widely used in observational studies to estimate the causal effect of a treatment when repeated observations over time are available. Yet, almost all existing methods assume linearity in the potential outcome (parallel trends assumption) and target the additive effect. In social science research, however, many outcomes of interest are measured on an ordinal scale. This makes the linearity assumption inappropriate because the difference between two ordinal potential outcomes is not well defined. In this paper, I propose a method to draw causal inferences for ordinal outcomes under the DID design. Unlike existing methods, the proposed method utilizes the latent variable framework to handle the non-numeric nature of the outcome, enabling identification and estimation of causal effects based on the assumption on the quantile of the latent continuous variable. The paper also proposes an equivalence-based test to assess the plausibility of the key identification assumption when additional pre-treatment periods are available. The proposed method is applied to a study estimating the causal effect of mass shootings on the public's support for gun control. I find little evidence for a uniform shift toward pro-gun control policies as found in the previous study, but find that the effect is concentrated on left-leaning respondents who experienced the shooting for the first time in more than a decade.
Stefanie Walter, Elias Dinas, Ignacio Jurado, and Nikitas Konstantinidis. Working Paper. “"Disintegration by Popular Vote: Expectations, Foreign Intervention, and the Vote in the 2015 Greek Bailout Referendum"”.Abstract

In July 2015, Greek voters plunged the Eurozone into crisis when they rejected a bailout package in a referendum that was widely perceived as putting the country’s Eurozone membership up for a vote. We argue that this referendum is an example of a “disintegration referendum”, a new challenge for international regimes. Disintegration referenda are referenda that either outright aim at partially or fully retracting from an international institution or are perceived by the other members of the regime as pursuing a goal that violates the international institution’s rules to an extent that puts the member’s membership in the institution into question. The latter therefore have incentives to signal a tough stance during the campaign, which creates uncertainty about the domestic consequences of a disintegrative vote in the referendum country. In this context, expectations about the reactions of the other member states to a disintegrative vote are likely to play an unusually large role in shaping vote intentions. Using original survey data from a poll we fielded a day before the 2015 Greek referendum, we show that expectations about the consequences of a no-vote had a powerful effect on voting behavior in this referendum: voters expecting that a disintegration vote would result in “Grexit,” Greece’s exit from the Eurozone, were substantially more likely to vote for the bailout package than those believing that a no-vote would result in new negotiations, even after we take the effects of partisan cues, material interests and attitudes about the euro into account. Leveraging the bank closure in Greece, we also show that costly signals sent by the other member states make voters more pessimistic about the consequences of a no-vote and induce some voters to vote yes.

walteretal2016.pdf
Judd Cramer and Alan B. Krueger. Working Paper. “"Disruptive Change in the Taxi Business: The Case of Uber"”. cramerkrueger2016.pdf
Peter J. Boettke and Alain Marciano. Working Paper. “"The distance between Buchanan's 'An Economic Theory of Clubs' and Tiebout's 'A Pure Theory of Local Public Expenditures': New insights based on an unpublished manuscript"”. boettkemarciano2015.pdf
Masataka Harada and Daniel M. Smith. Working Paper. “Distributive Politics and Crime”.Abstract
Redistribution from central to local governments through scal transfers has the potential to reduce crime in local areas by alleviating poverty and unemployment. However, estimating the causal eect of redistribution on crime is complicated by the problem of simultaneity: increased transfers may be targeted precisely where crime is a problem. To address this problem, we use change in malapportionment as an instrumental variable, as malapportionment has a well-known relationship with redistribution. Our research design takes advantage of municipality-level panel data from Japan spanning a major electoral system reform that reduced the level of malapportionment across districts. Naive estimates with OLS regression show almost no effect of fiscal transfers on crime, whereas the IV results show statistically signicant and negative effects. These ndings support the argument that redistribution reduces crime, while also raising broader implications about the relationship between Japan's well-known pattern of distributive politics and its comparatively low crime rates.
haradasmith2019.pdf
Ing-Haw Cheng and Alice Hsiaw. Working Paper. “"Distrust in Experts and the Origins of Disagreement"”.Abstract

Individuals often must learn about a state of the world when both the state and the credibility of information sources (experts) are uncertain. We argue that learning in these "rank-deficient" environments may be subject to a bias that leads agents to over-infer expert quality. Agents who encounter information or experts in different order disagree about substance because they endogenously disagree about the credibility of each others' experts, as first impressions about experts have long-lived influences on beliefs about the state. This arises even though agents share common priors, information, and biases, providing a theory for the origins of disagreement. Our theory helps explain why disagreement about substance and expert credibility often go hand-in-hand and is hard to resolve in a wide-range of issues where agents share common information, including economics, climate change, and medicine.

chenghsiaw2016.pdf

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