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The Curley Effect

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  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Andrei Shleifer

Abstract

James Michael Curley, a four-time mayor of Boston, used wasteful redistribution to his poor Irish constituents and incendiary rhetoric to encourage richer citizens to emigrate from Boston, thereby shaping the electorate in his favor. Boston as a consequence stagnated, but Curley kept winning elections. We present a model of the Curley effect, in which inefficient redistributive policies are sought not by interest groups protecting their rents, but by incumbent politicians trying to shape the electorate through emigration of their opponents or reinforcement of class identities. The model sheds light on ethnic politics in the United States and abroad, as well as on class politics in many countries including Britain.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8942.

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Date of creation: May 2002
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Publication status: published as Glaeser, Edward L. and Andrei Shleifer. "The Curley Effect: The Economics Of Shaping The Electorate," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, 2005, v21(1,Apr), 1-19.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8942

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  8. Easterly, William & Baqir, Reza & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Redistributive Public Employment," Scholarly Articles 4553013, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  10. Brennan,Geoffrey & Buchanan,James M., 1980. "The Power to Tax," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521233293, October.
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  1. Local Government Financing
    by Eric Crampton in Offsetting Behaviour on 2014-04-10 21:08:00
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Cited by:
  1. Kira Boerner & Silke Uebelmesser, 2005. "Migration and the Welfare State: The Economic Power of the Non-Voter?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1517, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Gregory, Paul R. & Schröder, Philipp J.H. & Sonin, Konstantin, 2011. "Rational dictators and the killing of innocents: Data from Stalin's archives," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 34-42, March.
  3. Edward L. Glaeser, 2002. "The Political Economy of Hatred," NBER Working Papers 9171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Glaeser, Edward & Scheinkman, Jose & Shleifer, Andrei, 2003. "The injustice of inequality," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 199-222, January.
  5. Keefer, Philip & Vlaicu, Razvan, 2005. "Democracy, credibility and clientelism," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3472, The World Bank.
  6. Mark Gradstein & Maurice Schiff, 2006. "The political economy of social exclusion, with implications for immigration policy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 327-344, June.
  7. Lee J. Alston & Andrés A. Gallo, 2009. "Electoral Fraud, the Rise of Peron and Demise of Checks and Balances in Argentina," NBER Working Papers 15209, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Amihai Glazer & Hiroki Kondo, 2005. "Migration in Search of Good Government," Working Papers 050613, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  9. Amihai Glazer, 2008. "Urban Extremism," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(2), pages 307-318, October.
  10. Keefer, Philip & Khemani, Stuti, 2003. "Democracy, public expenditures, and the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3164, The World Bank.

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