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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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  5. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1997. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," NBER Working Papers 6009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Coate, Stephen & Morris, Stephen, 1995. "On the Form of Transfers in Special Interests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1210-35, December.
  8. James A. Robinson & Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Political Losers as a Barrier to Economic Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 126-130, May.
  9. Brennan,Geoffrey & Buchanan,James M., 1980. "The Power to Tax," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521233293.
  10. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1998. "Redistributive Public Employment," NBER Working Papers 6746, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A, 2002. "Economic Backwardness in Political Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 3261, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1994. "Politicians and Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 995-1025, November.
  13. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew E. Kahn & Jordan Rappaport, 2000. "Why Do the Poor Live in Cities?," NBER Working Papers 7636, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Alesina, Alberto & Rodrik, Dani, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-90, May.
  15. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
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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. Alston, Lee J. & Gallo, Andrés A., 2010. "Electoral fraud, the rise of Peron and demise of checks and balances in Argentina," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 179-197, April.
  2. Jan K. Brueckner & Amihai Glazer, 2006. "Urban Extremism," Working Papers 050620, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  3. Glazer, Amihai & Kondo, Hiroki, 2007. "Migration in search of good government," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 703-716, November.
  4. Mark Gradstein & Maurice Schiff, 2006. "The political economy of social exclusion, with implications for immigration policy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 327-344, June.
  5. Glaeser, Edward & Scheinkman, Jose & Shleifer, Andrei, 2003. "The injustice of inequality," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 199-222, January.
  6. Keefer, Philip & Vlaicu, Razvan, 2005. "Democracy, credibility and clientelism," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3472, The World Bank.
  7. 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.
  8. Keefer, Philip & Khemani, Stuti, 2003. "Democracy, public expenditures, and the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3164, The World Bank.
  9. 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.
  10. Edward L. Glaeser, 2002. "The Political Economy of Hatred," NBER Working Papers 9171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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