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Essays on Empirical Political Economy

Souza Menezes, Aline Maria (2016) Essays on Empirical Political Economy. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

This thesis studies three channels through which elections and, ultimately, public policy may be interrelated: new media, electoral systems and vote motivation. The media has the fundamental role of providing political information to voters. New media such as the Internet brought about an enormous shift in the availability of political information during elections. Exploiting the timing and geographic variation in the introduction of Internet in Brazil, in the first chapter, I show that municipalities with higher Internet penetration voted more often in candidates who faced legal restrictions for advertising in traditional media. Electoral systems, in turn, have specific features that, in theory, may allow voters to select better politicians by providing more information about candidates and other voters' preferences. In the second chapter, using the discontinuous allocation of single- and dual-ballot electoral rules across mayoral elections in Brazil, I compare the quality of politicians fielded and elected in these systems. In general, dual-ballot candidates from major parties are more politically experienced. This experience may be translated into unobserved political skills that are required to deal with the more competitive electoral process, that, by itself, punishes female candidates, to the extent to which women's participation in politics has been historically low. No differences in performance are observed, except in the attraction of discretionary resources by dual-ballot mayors eligible for reelection, but only in election years. Finally, in the third chapter, I use a quasi-naturally generated group of voters with differential political information and voting motivations to show that politicians extract more rents in municipalities where they know a number of voters is not directly interested in public goods and do not have readily access to local sources of information.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Economics, Department of
Depositing User: Aline Souza Menezes
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2017 13:34
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2017 13:34
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/20066

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