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Vote suppression and insecure property rights

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  • Castañeda Dower, Paul
  • Pfutze, Tobias

Abstract

While it is commonly understood that land is a political tool, there is surprisingly little empirical research on how insecure property rights affect political outcomes. In this paper, we show how a dominant political party can use insecure property rights to ensure politically compliant voter behavior and how this power is frustrated after the introduction of a land certification program. We test this hypothesis on data covering 10,000 Mexican municipal elections during the country's democratic transition. Exploiting the gradual rollout of a large-scale land certification program, we find that land titles significantly raised the number of votes for the main opposition parties. Importantly, this effect disappears once the dominant party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), has already lost at least one election in the municipality. These results provide an additional explanation of the PRI's downfall and, more generally, illuminate the relationship between political power, institutions and resource allocation.

Suggested Citation

  • Castañeda Dower, Paul & Pfutze, Tobias, 2015. "Vote suppression and insecure property rights," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 1-19.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:114:y:2015:i:c:p:1-19
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2014.11.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:ags:frraes:276808 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Jérémie GIGNOUX & Karen MACOURS & Liam WREN-LEWIS, 2015. "Impact of land administration programs on agricultural productivity and rural development: existing evidence, challenges and new approaches," Review of Agricultural and Environmental Studies - Revue d'Etudes en Agriculture et Environnement, INRA Department of Economics, vol. 96(3), pages 467-498.
    3. Castañeda Dower, Paul & Pfutze, Tobias, 2013. "Specificity of control: The case of Mexico's ejido reform," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 13-33.
    4. repec:eee:regeco:v:69:y:2018:i:c:p:38-47 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Pranab Bardhan & Sandip Mitra & Dilip Mookherjee & Anusha Nath, 2018. "Resource Transfers to Local Governments: Political Manipulation and Household Responses in West Bengal," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-319, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    6. Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee, 2018. "A Theory of Clientelistic Politics versus Programmatic Politics," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-317, Boston University - Department of Economics.

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    Keywords

    Property rights; Clientelism; Land reform; Mexico; PRI; Ejido;

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