93 research outputs found

    Electoral Competition and Public Spending on Education: Evidence from African Countries.

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    Electoral competition can have a significant influence on government decisions regarding public spending. In this paper I examine whether the move to multiparty elections in many African countries in the last ten years has been associated with a clear change in priorities for public spending on education. In particular, I argue that the need to obtain an electoral majority may have prompted governments to devote greater resources to primary schools. I test this hypothesis using panel data on electoral competition and education spending in thirty-five African countries over the period 1980-1999. The results strongly support the hypothesis and are robust to controls for both unobserved country effects and other determinants of spending.

    Publicity of Debate and the Incentive to Dissent: Evidence from the US Federal Reserve

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    When central banks are transparent about their decision making, there may be clear benefits in terms ofcredibility, policy effectiveness, and improved democratic accountability. While recent literature has focusedon all of these advantages of transparency, in this paper we consider one potential cost: the possibility thatpublishing detailed records of deliberations will make members of a monetary policy committee more reluctantto offer dissenting opinions. Drawing on the recent literature on expert advisors with ¿career concerns¿, weconstruct a model that compares incentives for members of a monetary policy committee to voice dissent whendeliberations occur in public, and when they occur in private. We then test the implications of the model usingan original dataset based on deliberations of the Federal Reserve¿s Federal Open Market Committee, askingwhether the FOMC¿s decision in 1993 to begin releasing full transcripts of its meetings has altered incentivesfor participants to voice dissenting opinions. We find this to be the case with regard to both opinions on shortterminterest rates and on the ¿bias¿ for future policy.transparency, central banking, career concerns

    Different paths to the modern state in Europe: the interaction between domestic political economy and interstate competition

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    Theoretical work on state formation and capacity has focused mostly on early modern Europe and on the experience of western European states during this period. While a number of European states monopolized domestic tax collection and achieved gains in state capacity during the early modern era, for others revenues stagnated or even declined, and these variations motivated alternative hypotheses for determinants of fiscal and state capacity. In this study we test the basic hypotheses in the existing literature making use of the large date set we have compiled for all of the leading states across the continent. We find strong empirical support for two prevailing threads in the literature, arguing respectively that interstate wars and changes in economic structure towards an urbanized economy had positive fiscal impact. Regarding the main point of contention in the theoretical literature, whether it was representative or authoritarian political regimes that facilitated the gains in fiscal capacity, we do not find conclusive evidence that one performed better than the other. Instead, the empirical evidence we have gathered lends supports to the hypothesis that when under pressure of war, the fiscal performance of representative regimes was better in the more urbanized-commercial economies and the fiscal performance of authoritarian regimes was better in rural-agrarian economie