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Isolated Capital Cities, Accountability, and Corruption: Evidence from US States

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  • Filipe R. Campante
  • Quoc-Anh Do

Abstract

We show that isolated capital cities are robustly associated with greater levels of corruption across US states, in line with the view that this isolation reduces accountability. We then provide direct evidence that the spatial distribution of population relative to the capital affects different accountability mechanisms: newspapers cover state politics more when readers are closer to the capital, voters who live far from the capital are less knowledgeable and interested in state politics, and they turn out less in state elections. We also find that isolated capitals are associated with more money in state-level campaigns, and worse public good provision.

Suggested Citation

  • Filipe R. Campante & Quoc-Anh Do, 2014. "Isolated Capital Cities, Accountability, and Corruption: Evidence from US States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(8), pages 2456-2481, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:104:y:2014:i:8:p:2456-81
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.8.2456
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Daniel Lederman & Norman V. Loayza & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2005. "Accountability And Corruption: Political Institutions Matter," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17, pages 1-35, March.
    2. Matthew Gentzkow & Edward L. Glaeser & Claudia Goldin, 2006. "The Rise of the Fourth Estate. How Newspapers Became Informative and Why It Mattered," NBER Chapters,in: Corruption and Reform: Lessons from America's Economic History, pages 187-230 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Brunetti, Aymo & Weder, Beatrice, 2003. "A free press is bad news for corruption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1801-1824, August.
    4. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2010. "What Drives Media Slant? Evidence From U.S. Daily Newspapers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(1), pages 35-71, January.
    5. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Campante, Filipe Robin & Do, Quoc-Anh, 2009. "A Centered Index of Spatial Concentration: Axiomatic Approach with an Application to Population and Capital Cities," Scholarly Articles 4481653, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
    7. Filipe R. Campante & Quoc-Anh Do & Bernardo Guimaraes, 2014. "Capital Cities, Conflict, and Misgovernance: Theory and Evidence," Sciences Po Economics Discussion Papers 2014-13, Sciences Po Departement of Economics.
    8. Matthew Gentzkow, 2006. "Television and Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 931-972.
    9. Albert Saiz & Uri Simonsohn, 2013. "Proxying For Unobservable Variables With Internet Document-Frequency," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 137-165, February.
    10. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284.
    11. James M. Snyder & David Strömberg, 2010. "Press Coverage and Political Accountability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(2), pages 355-408, April.
    12. Campante, Filipe R. & Do, Quoc-Anh & Guimaraes, Bernardo, 2012. "Isolated Capital Cities and Misgovernance: Theory and Evidence," Working Paper Series rwp12-058, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    13. Davis, James C. & Henderson, J. Vernon, 2003. "Evidence on the political economy of the urbanization process," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 98-125, January.
    14. Filipe R. Campante & Quoc-Anh Do, 2014. "Isolated Capital Cities, Accountability, and Corruption: Evidence from US States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(8), pages 2456-2481, August.
    15. James E. Alt & David Dreyer Lassen, 2003. "The Political Economy of Institutions and Corruption in American States," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 15(3), pages 341-365, July.
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    17. Ritva Reinikka & Jakob Svensson, 2005. "Fighting Corruption to Improve Schooling: Evidence from a Newspaper Campaign in Uganda," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 259-267, 04/05.
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    19. James E. Alt & David Dreyer Lassen, 2010. "Enforcement and Public Corruption: Evidence from US States," EPRU Working Paper Series 2010-08, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    20. Alberto F. Ades & Edward L. Glaeser, 1995. "Trade and Circuses: Explaining Urban Giants," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 195-227.
    21. Filipe R. Campante & Quoc-Anh Do, 2010. "A Centered Index of Spatial Concentration: Expected Influence Approach," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/7t0dp4mp828, Sciences Po.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H83 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Public Administration
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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