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Title: Essays on political economy and development
Author: Poblete Cazenave, Ruben Aaron
ISNI:       0000 0004 7970 6830
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis studies two different topics in political economy and development. The first is related to how incumbents use their privileged position to avoid legal sanctions (chapter two) and being held accountable at the polls (chapter three). The second topic refers to the determinants of civil conflict and its intensity (chapter four). Chapter two analyzes candidates to legislative assemblies in India, focusing on those with pending criminal cases. I study the impact of winning the election on the probability that these cases are disposed of without conviction. The results show no significant differences in legal outcomes for candidates barely winning the election versus candidates barely losing. However, the results also uncover opposite effects of winning the election, depending on candidates' political alignment with the state ruling party. Elected candidates from the incoming party in government are more likely to get their pending cases disposed of without conviction during the legislature. In contrast, the criminal cases of elected candidates not aligned with the new ruling party take longer to be resolved. Chapter three uses data from Brazilian mayoral elections to study how incumbents react to information affecting their reputation. Results show that candidates adapt their effort in campaigning. A detrimental (beneficial) shock results in incumbents increasing (decreasing) the amount of resources spent on campaigning. The results show that incumbents' response on campaign expenditure partially compensates the negative (positive) effect produced by the information on electoral outcomes. Incumbents' ability to react might explain why more information does not always imply more electoral accountability. The last chapter introduces a two-stage contest model with reference-dependent preferences to study the determinants of conflict and its intensity. The model shows that reference points play a crucial role in the decision of waging war, and in the level of intensity of the conflict. The model delivers predictions in line with the evidence and explains empirical regularities that previous models cannot account for. The model encompasses two of the most common empirical patterns found in the conflict literature. Conflicts are more likely to occur after negative income shocks due to the current situation being perceived as a loss compared to agents' reference points. Additionally, income reduces the odds of conflict if agents are more risk-averse for gains than risk-seeker for losses.
Supervisor: Cabrales, A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available