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Title: Essays in political economy in Turkey
Author: Acar, Yasin
ISNI:       0000 0004 5348 3325
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis is composed by three essays and applies econometric methods to analyse different economic research questions. The first essay (chapter 1) studies the effect of Turkish public television on the voting behaviour of people in the early years of television broadcasting in Turkey. The second essay (chapter 2) analyses the intergovernmental grant allocation in Turkey to shed light discussion whether political motivations play role while central government transfers money to municipalities. The third essay (chapter 3) investigates the phenomenon of flypaper effect and its relation to the local tax effort, by using a new panel data set which consists of all province and district municipalities in Turkey. The first essay estimates the effect of television broadcasting on the vote shares of main political parties and voter turnout in 1970s. We particularly focus on main left wing party (Republican Peoples’ Party, RPP) and right wing party (Justice Party, JP) in 1969 and 1977 elections. Our main hypothesis is that television news content was biased in favour of the incumbent party in government due to the law which allows government to appoint general-director of the Turkish State Television Company (TRT). Hence Left ideological director-generals were appointed to the Turkish State Television Company in the first years of broadcasting. As a result of this, a left wing party, RPP, enjoyed this fact by increasing their vote shares in the elections in 1977; however the main right-wing party, JP, witnessed the vote shares to decrease in the same elections. Therefore we find that television reception influences the voting behaviour of the citizens. An estimation result also shows that voter turnout decreases with the introduction of television. To the best of our knowledge, this paper is the first one which explores this fact and use very detailed election data in Turkey. The second essay (chapter 2) is related to the public finance literature which studies the transfers of intergovernmental grants from central government to municipalities. In Turkey, intergovernmental grants are transferred to the municipalities based on per capita rule only. This chapter explores whether there was a political motivation of revenue sharing system in Turkey using unique and new dataset. We employ Regression-Discontinuity Design to test this argument to get rid of possible endogeneity between grants and vote shares. We find that politically aligned municipalities to the party in central government enjoy about extra 7 Turkish Liras per capita in grants on average. This effect is stronger in municipalities where the elections were more competitive, i.e. the margin between vote shares of two main parties was very low. Moreover, we do find no evidence of alignment effect on municipal revenues and expenditures. In the third chapter, we investigate the phenomenon of flypaper effect by using a panel data set that consist of all province and district municipalities between 1997 and 2005 in Turkey. We benefit from dynamic panel data specific Generalized Methods of Moments (GMM) estimator to identify flypaper effect. Estimation results show that the flypaper does exist for the Turkish municipalities. This result is controlled by various econometric specifications where we consider endogeneity between fiscal variables. Coefficient estimates also reveal that Turkish municipalities experience substitution effect of unconditional grants on the revenue collection efforts of localities which means that grants substitute local revenues causing lesser local tax effort.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DS Asia ; JN Political institutions (Europe)