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The Price of Political Opposition: Evidence from Venezuela's Maisanta


  • Chang-Tai Hsieh
  • Edward Miguel
  • Daniel Ortega
  • Francisco Rodriguez


In 2004, the Hugo Chávez regime in Venezuela distributed the list of several million voters who had attempted to remove him from office throughout the government bureaucracy, allegedly to identify and punish these voters. We match the list of petition signers distributed by the government to household survey respondents to measure the economic effects of being identified as a Chávez political opponent. We find that voters who were identified as Chávez opponents experienced a 5 percent drop in earnings and a 1.3 percentage point drop in employment rates after the voter list was released. (JEL D72, O17)

Suggested Citation

  • Chang-Tai Hsieh & Edward Miguel & Daniel Ortega & Francisco Rodriguez, 2011. "The Price of Political Opposition: Evidence from Venezuela's Maisanta," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 196-214, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:3:y:2011:i:2:p:196-214 Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.3.2.196

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ferguson, Thomas & Voth, Hans-Joachim, 2005. "Betting on Hitler - The Value of Political Connections in Nazi Germany," CEPR Discussion Papers 5021, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    5. Robert E. Hall & Paul R. Milgrom, 2008. "The Limited Influence of Unemployment on the Wage Bargain," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1653-1674, September.
    6. Thomas Ferguson & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2008. "Betting on Hitler—The Value of Political Connections in Nazi Germany," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 101-137.
    7. Durham, Yvonne & Hirshleifer, Jack & Smith, Vernon L., 2008. "The Paradox of Power," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
    8. Asim Ijaz Khwaja & Atif Mian, 2005. "Do Lenders Favor Politically Connected Firms? Rent Provision in an Emerging Financial Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1371-1411.
    9. Raymond Fisman, 2001. "Estimating the Value of Political Connections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1095-1102, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gilles Saint‐Paul & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2016. "A Theory of Political Entrenchment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(593), pages 1238-1263, June.
    2. Stephan E. Maurer, 2015. "Voting Behaviour and Public Employment in Nazi Germany," CEP Discussion Papers dp1326, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    3. Gonzalez, Naihobe & Oyelere, Ruth Uwaifo, 2011. "Are returns to education on the decline in Venezuela and does Mission Sucre have a role to play?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1348-1369.
    4. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Straub, Stéphane & Flochel, Thomas, 2016. "Public Procurement and Rent-Seeking: The Case of Paraguay," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 395-407.
    5. Muhammad Haseeb & Kate Vyborny, 2016. "Imposing institutions: Evidence from cash transfer reform in Pakistan," CSAE Working Paper Series 2016-36, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    6. McGuirk,Eoin & Rajaram,Anand & Giugale,Marcelo, 2016. "The political economy of direct dividend transfers in resource-rich countries : a theoretical consideration," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7575, The World Bank.
    7. Brian Knight & Ana Tribin, 2016. "The Limits of Propaganda: Evidence from Chavez's Venezuela," NBER Working Papers 22055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Martínez, Luis R., 2017. "Transnational insurgents: Evidence from Colombia's FARC at the border with Chávez's Venezuela," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 138-153.
    9. Eva Meyersson Milgrom, 2010. "The Dispossessed: A Labor-Market Analysis of Extreme Political Violence," Discussion Papers 09-007, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    10. Sam Asher & Paul Novosad, 2017. "Politics and Local Economic Growth: Evidence from India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 229-273, January.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements


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