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Keeping Dictators Honest: the Role of Population Concentration

  • Quoc-Anh Do

    ()

    (School of Economics, Singapore Management University)

  • Filipe R. Campante

    ()

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

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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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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  1. Campante, Filipe R. & Do, Quoc-Anh, 2009. "A Centered Index of Spatial Concentration: Axiomatic Approach with an Application to Population and Capital Cities," Working Paper Series rwp09-005, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  2. 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.
  3. Campante, Filipe & Do, Quoc-Anh, 2007. "Inequality, Redistribution, and Population," Working Paper Series rwp07-046, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  4. Campante, Filipe Robin & Chor, Davin & Do, Quoc-Anh, 2009. "Instability and the Incentives for Corruption," Scholarly Articles 4778510, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  5. Glaeser, Edward L. & Kahn, Matthew E., 2004. "Sprawl and urban growth," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 56, pages 2481-2527 Elsevier.
  6. Timothy Besley & Masayuki Kudamatsu, 2007. "Making Autocracy Work," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 48, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  7. Roland G. Fryer Jr. & Richard Holden, 2011. "Measuring the Compactness of Political Districting Plans," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(3), pages 493 - 535.
  8. C. A. Hidalgo & B. Klinger & A. -L. Barabasi & R. Hausmann, 2007. "The Product Space Conditions the Development of Nations," Papers 0708.2090, arXiv.org.
  9. Davin Chor & Do Quoc-Anh & Filipe R Campante, 2008. "Instability and Incentives for Corruption," Macroeconomics Working Papers 22070, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  10. Timothy Besley & Andrea Prat, 2006. "Handcuffs for the Grabbing Hand? Media Capture and Government Accountability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 720-736, June.
  11. Jean-Yves Duclos & Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2003. "Polarization: Concepts, Measurement, Estimation," Working Papers 46, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  12. 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.
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