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

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  • Filipe R. Campante

    (Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University)

  • Quoc-Anh Do

    (School of Economics, Singapore Management University)

Abstract

We show that isolated capital cities are robustly associated with greater levels of corruption across US states. In particular, this is the case when we use the variation induced by the exogenous location of a state’s centroid to instrument for the concentration of population around the capital city. We then show that different mechanisms for holding state politicians accountable are also affected by the spatial distribution of population: newspapers provide greater coverage of state politics when their audiences are more concentrated around the capital, and voter turnout in state elections is greater in places that are closer to the capital. Consistent with lower accountability, there is also evidence that there is more money in state-level political campaigns in those states with isolated capitals. We find that the role of media accountability helps explain the connection between isolated capitals and corruption. In addition, we provide some evidence that this pattern is also associated with lower levels of public good spending and outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Filipe R. Campante & Quoc-Anh Do, 2012. "Isolated Capital Cities, Accountability and Corruption: Evidence from US States," Working Papers 21-2012, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:siu:wpaper:21-2012
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Corruption; Accountability; Population Concentration; Capital Cities; US State Politics; Media; Turnout; Campaign Contributions; Public Good Provision;
    All these keywords.

    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
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R50 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - General

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