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Politics, information and the urban bias

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  • Majumdar, Sumon
  • Mani, Anandi
  • Mukand, Sharun W.

Abstract

Governments in many developing countries skew public resources towards urban sectors, despite a majority of citizens residing in rural areas. This paper develops a novel political argument for this urban bias phenomenon in a framework where all voters, rural and urban, have equal voice, but di?er in their access to information. We argue that this di?erence is su?cient to give governments an incentive to ine?ciently overallocate resources towards urban areas. The bias is shown to worsen during adverse economic times, leading to increased migration. We also examine how voter informativeness a?ects e?ciency of the electoral process in weeding out incompetent governments.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 75 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
Pages: 137-165

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:75:y:2004:i:1:p:137-165

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  1. Dewatripont, Mathias & Jewitt, Ian & Tirole, Jean, 1999. "The Economics of Career Concerns, Part II: Application to Missions and Accountability of Government Agencies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 199-217, January.
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  3. Andersen, Lykke Eg, 2002. "Rural-Urban Migration in Bolivia: Advantages and Disadvantages," Documentos de trabajo 5/2002, Instituto de Investigaciones Socio-Económicas (IISEC), Universidad Católica Boliviana.
  4. Fay, Marianne & Opal, Charlotte, 2000. "Urbanization without growth : a not-so-uncommon phenomenon," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2412, The World Bank.
  5. Besley, Timothy J. & Burgess, Robin, 2001. "The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India," CEPR Discussion Papers 2721, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1988. "Migration and urbanization," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 425-465 Elsevier.
  7. Arnott, Richard J & Gersovitz, Mark, 1986. "Social Welfare Underpinnings of Urban Bias and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(382), pages 413-24, June.
  8. Timothy J. Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1995. "The Swing Voter's Curse," Discussion Papers 1064, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  9. Edward L. Glaeser, 1999. "Urban Primacy and Politics," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1874, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  10. Orbeta, Aniceto Jr. C. & Manasan, Rosario G. & de Guzman, Generoso & Reyes, Celia M., 1999. "Social Impact of the Regional Financial Crisis in the Philippines," Discussion Papers DP 1999-14, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
  11. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661314, December.
  12. Alberto F. Ades & Edward L. Glaeser, 1994. "Trade and Circuses: Explaining Urban Giants," NBER Working Papers 4715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Stromberg, David, 2001. "Mass media and public policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 652-663, May.
  14. Kenneth Rogoff, 1987. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," NBER Working Papers 2428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Basu, Kaushik C, 1980. "Optimal Policies in Dual Economies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(1), pages 187-96, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Barbara Bruns & Deon Filmer & Harry Anthony Patrinos, 2011. "Making Schools Work : New Evidence on Accountability Reforms," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2270, February.
  2. Ferraz, Claudio & Finan, Frederico S., 2007. "Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil’s Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 2836, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Shifa, Abdulaziz B., 2013. "The dual policy in the dual economy—The political economy of urban bias in dictatorial regimes," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 77-85.
  4. Shifa, Abdulaziz B., 2011. "Poor rural land property rights as a manifestation of urban bias," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 116002, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  5. Masayuki Kudamatsu, 2012. "Has Democratization Reduced Infant Mortality In Sub-Saharan Africa? Evidence From Micro Data," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(6), pages 1294-1317, December.
  6. Astghik Mavisakalyan, 2013. "Development Priorities in an Emerging Decentralized Economy: The Case of Armenia’s Local Development Programs," Transition Studies Review, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 105-118, April.
  7. Singh, Nirvikar, 2007. "Fiscal Federalism and Decentralization in India∗," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt11b543tk, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  8. Richard Mussa, 2010. "Rural-Urban Differences in Parental Spending on Children’s Primary Education in Malawi," SALDRU Working Papers 49, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  9. Kishore Gawande & Pravin Krishna & Marcelo Olarreaga, 2009. "What Governments Maximize and Why: The View from Trade," NBER Working Papers 14953, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Singh, Nirvikar, 2007. "Fiscal Federalism and Decentralization in India," MPRA Paper 1447, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Mani, Anandi & Mukand, Sharun, 2007. "Democracy, visibility and public good provision," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 506-529, July.
  12. Jensen, Henning Tarp & Robinson, Sherman & Tarp, Finn, 2002. "General equilibrium measures of agricultural policy bias in fifteen developing countries," TMD discussion papers 105, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  13. Shifa, Abdulaziz B., 2011. "Does agricultural growth have a causal effect on manufacturing growth?," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 116003, European Association of Agricultural Economists.

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