Working Papers

These papers are working drafts of research which often appear in final form in academic journals. The published versions may differ from the working versions provided here.

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Katherine Casey, Abou Bakarr Kamara, Niccolo Meriggi
August 29, 2019

Are ordinary citizens or political party leaders better positioned to select candidates?  While the direct vote primary system in the United States lets citizens choose, it is exceptional, as the vast majority of democracies rely...

Katherine Casey, Rachel Glennerster, Edward Miguel, Maarten Voors
May 29, 2019

Where the state is weak, traditional authorities often control the local provision of land, justice, and public goods. These authorities are criticized for ruling in an undemocratic and unaccountable fashion, and are typically quite...

Robb Willer, Jan Gerrit Voelkel
May 8, 2019

While polls show progressive economic policies are popular, progressive candidates typically lose elections in the U.S. One explanation for this progressive paradox is that the opponents of progressive candidates often win through “symbolic politics,” successfully...

Katherine Casey, Rachel Glennerster, Kelly Bidwell
March 15, 2019

Candidate debates have a rich history and remain integral to contemporary campaign strategy. There is, however, little evidence that they affect the behavior of voters or politicians. The scarcity of political information in the developing...

David Broockman, Neil Malhotra
November 30, 2018

Influential theories indicate concern that campaign donors exert outsized political influence. However, little data documents what donors actually want from government; and existing research largely neglects donors’ views on individual issues. We argue there should...

David Broockman, Evan J. Soltas
October 9, 2018

We exploit a natural experiment to identify discrimination in elections. In Illinois Republican presidential primaries, voters vote for delegates bound to presidential candidates, but delegates’ names convey information about their race and gender. We identify...

Saumitra Jha, Moses Shayo
July 26, 2018

How can we help individuals handle financial decisions in an increasingly complex environment? We explore an easily scalable avenue for improving financial understanding: learning by online trading in stocks. We randomly assign 1345 adults incentives...

Saumitra Jha, Moses Shayo
May 25, 2018

Can participation in financial markets lead individuals to re-evaluate the costs of conflict, change their political attitudes and even their votes? Prior to the 2015 Israeli elections, we randomly assigned Palestinian and Israeli financial assets...

Dana Foarta, Takuo Sugaya
April 26, 2018

We study the contracting problem of a principal who chooses between motivating an agent to exert effort or taking her outside option. The agent is privately informed about his ability, where a higher-ability agent faces...

Gregory J. Martin, Josh McCrain
April 19, 2018

The level of journalistic resources dedicated to coverage of local politics is in a long term decline in the US news media, with readership shifting to national outlets. We investigate whether this trend is demand-...

David Broockman, Christopher Skovron
March 14, 2018

The conservative asymmetry of elite polarization and the right-skewed “democratic deficit”—wherein policy is more conservative than majorities prefer on average—represent significant puzzles. We argue that such breakdowns in aggregate representation can arise because politicians systematically...

Katherine Casey
January 19, 2018

Classic arguments for decentralization, augmented by ideas about how participation empowers the poor, motivate the widely used approach in foreign aid called community-driven development.  CDD devolves control over the selection, implementation and financial management of...

David Broockman, Greg F. Ferenstein, Neil Malhotra
December 9, 2017

American politics overrepresents the wealthy. But what policies do the wealthy support? Many accounts implicitly assume the wealthy are monolithically conservative and that increases in their political power will increase inequality. Instead, we argue there...

Dana Foarta
November 15, 2017

This paper studies the welfare effects of a ‘partial banking union’ in which cross-country …financial transfers that could be used towards bailouts are decided at the supranational level, but policymakers in member countries hold decision power over the...

Moritz Marbach, Jens Hainmueller, Dominik Hangartner
November 2017

Many European countries impose employment bans that prevent asylum seekers from entering the local labor market for a certain waiting period upon arrival. We provide evidence on the long-term effects of such employment bans on...

Joshua Kalla, David Broockman
September 26, 2017

Significant theories of democratic accountability hinge on how political campaigns affect Americans’ candidate choices. We argue that the best estimate of the effects of campaign contact and advertising on Americans’ candidates choices in general elections...

Saumitra Jha
September 19, 2017

I examine the conditions under which trade can support peaceful coexistence and prosperity when particular ethnic groups are cheap targets of violence. A simple theoretical framework reveals that for a broad set of cases, while...

Christian Fong, Neil Malhotra, Yotam M. Margalit
August 29, 2017

Politicians are widely perceived to lose significance upon leaving office. Yet media accounts often highlight politicians’ legacies as a source of influence that endures even after they retire. This article assesses these contrasting views by...

Neil Malhotra, Benjamin Newman
August 28, 2017

Leading research is converging upon the finding that citizens from immigrant-receiving nations strongly prefer the entry of high-skilled to low-skilled immigrants. Prior studies have largely interpreted this “skill premium” as deriving from sociotropic economic considerations....

C. Christine Fair, Patrick Kuhn, Neil Malhotra, Jacob Shapiro
May 31, 2017

How natural disasters affect politics in developing countries is an important question, given the fragility of fledgling democratic institutions in some of these countries as well as likely increased exposure to natural disasters over time...