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Keeping Dictators Honest: the Role of Population Concentration

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  • Quoc-Anh Do

    ()
    (School of Economics, Singapore Management University)

  • Filipe R. Campante

    ()
    (John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University)

Abstract

In order to explain the apparently paradoxical presence of acceptable governance in many non-democratic regimes, economists and political scientists have focused mostly on institutions acting as de facto checks and balances. In this paper, we propose that population plays a similar role in guaranteeing the quality of governance and redistribution. around the policy making center serves as an insurgency threat to a dictatorship, inducing it to yield to more redistribution and better governance. We bring this centered concept of population concentration to the data through the Centered Index of Spatial Concentration developed by Do & Campante (2008). The evidence supports our predictions: only in the sample of autocracies, population concentration around the capital city is positively associated with better governance and more redistribution (proxied by post-tax inequality), in OLS and IV regressions. Finally, we provide arguments to dismiss possible reverse causation as well as alternative, non-political economy explanations of such regularity, discuss the general applicability of our index and conclude with policy implications.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Singapore Management University, School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 01-2009.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in SMU Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series
Handle: RePEc:siu:wpaper:01-2009

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Related research

Keywords: Capital Cities; Gravity; Governance; Inequality; Redistribution; Population Concentration; Revolutions; Harmonic Functions; Axiomatics;

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References

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  1. Roland G. Fryer, Jr & Richard T. Holden, 2007. "Measuring the Compactness of Political Districting Plans," NBER Working Papers 13456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Filipe R. Campante & Quoc-Anh Do, 2009. "A Centered Index of Spatial Concentration: Axiomatic Approach with an Application to Population and Capital Cities," Working Papers 02-2009, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
  3. Grossman, Herschel I & Iyigun, Murat F, 1997. "Population Increase and the End of Colonialism," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 64(255), pages 483-93, August.
  4. Davin Chor & Do Quoc-Anh & Filipe R Campante, 2008. "Instability and Incentives for Corruption," Macroeconomics Working Papers 22070, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  5. Filipe R. Campante & Davin Chor & Quoc-Anh Do, 2009. "Instability And The Incentives For Corruption," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(1), pages 42-92, 03.
  6. Timothy Besley & Andrea Prat, 2005. "Handcuffs for the Grabbing Hand? Media Capture and Government Accountability," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 07, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  7. Campante, Filipe & Do, Quoc-Anh, 2007. "Inequality, Redistribution, and Population," Working Paper Series rwp07-046, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  8. Besley, Timothy J. & Kudamatsu, Masayuki, 2007. "Making Autocracy Work," CEPR Discussion Papers 6371, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. C. A. Hidalgo & B. Klinger & A. -L. Barabasi & R. Hausmann, 2007. "The Product Space Conditions the Development of Nations," Papers 0708.2090, arXiv.org.
  10. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew E. Kahn, 2003. "Sprawl and Urban Growth," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2004, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  11. Berger, Helge & Spoerer, Mark, 2001. "Economic Crises And The European Revolutions Of 1848," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(02), pages 293-326, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Toke Aidt & Gabriel Leon, 2014. "The Democratic Window of Opportunity: Evidence from Riots in Sub-Saharan Africa," CESifo Working Paper Series 4884, CESifo Group Munich.

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