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Politics, Information and the Urban Bias

  • Sumon Majumdar
  • Anandi Mani
  • Sharun W. Mukand

Governments in many developing countries skew public resources towards urban sectors, despite a majority of citizens residing in rural areas. This paper develops a novel political argument for this urban bias phenomenon in a framework where all voters, rural and urban, have equal voice, but di?er in their access to information. We argue that this di?erence is su?cient to give governments an incentive to ine?ciently overallocate resources towards urban areas. The bias is shown to worsen during adverse economic times, leading to increased migration. We also examine how voter informativeness a?ects e?ciency of the electoral process in weeding out incompetent governments.

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File URL: http://ase.tufts.edu/econ/papers/200409.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Tufts University in its series Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University with number 0409.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:tuf:tuftec:0409
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  1. Basu, Kaushik C, 1980. "Optimal Policies in Dual Economies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(1), pages 187-96, August.
  2. Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1988. "Migration and urbanization," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 425-465 Elsevier.
  3. Stromberg, David, 2001. "Mass media and public policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 652-663, May.
  4. Kenneth Rogoff, 1987. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," NBER Working Papers 2428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2002. "The Political Economy Of Government Responsiveness: Theory And Evidence From India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1415-1451, November.
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  7. Harris, John R & Todaro, Michael P, 1970. "Migration, Unemployment & Development: A Two-Sector Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 126-42, March.
  8. Orbeta, Aniceto Jr. C. & Manasan, Rosario G. & de Guzman, Generoso & Reyes, Celia M., 1999. "Social Impact of the Regional Financial Crisis in the Philippines," Discussion Papers DP 1999-14, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
  9. Dewatripont, Mathias & Jewitt, Ian & Tirole, Jean, 1999. "The Economics of Career Concerns, Part II: Application to Missions and Accountability of Government Agencies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 199-217, January.
  10. Arnott, Richard J & Gersovitz, Mark, 1986. "Social Welfare Underpinnings of Urban Bias and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(382), pages 413-24, June.
  11. Edward L. Glaeser, 1999. "Urban Primacy and Politics," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1874, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  12. Fay, Marianne & Opal, Charlotte, 2000. "Urbanization without growth : a not-so-uncommon phenomenon," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2412, The World Bank.
  13. Timothy J. Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1995. "The Swing Voter's Curse," Discussion Papers 1064, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  14. Andersen, Lykke Eg, 2002. "Rural-Urban Migration in Bolivia: Advantages and Disadvantages," Documentos de trabajo 5/2002, Instituto de Investigaciones Socio-Económicas (IISEC), Universidad Católica Boliviana.
  15. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661314, June.
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