Political Economy Workshop (Gov 3007)


Monday, April 17, 2017, 12:00pm to 2:00pm


CGIS Knafel K354


Co-taught by Professors Kenneth Shepsle and Jeffry Frieden, the Research Workshop in Political Economy (Government 3007) is a year-long graduate seminar that aims to encourage cross-disciplinary research and excellence in graduate training. Political economy is a research tradition that explores how institutions affect political and economic outcomes. The workshop emphasizes the development of dissertation proposals and is a place where graduate students can present their research to an audience of committed and informed peers. It is open to graduate students in the Departments of Government and Economics, and the Program in Political Economy and Government. The workshop holds both internal and public seminars and meetings. At the internal meetings, approximately twelve per semester, graduate students and faculty present their own work to one another. At the public meetings, up to two per semester, leading scholars are invited to Harvard to present their work. Although the workshop is by invitation only, affiliates of the Weatherhead Center are encouraged to attend the public meetings.



Siddharth George will present his paper "The economic impacts of political dynasties”. Shelley Liu will be the discussant.


Then, Marco Tabellini will present his paper “The Economic and Political Effects of Immigration: Lessons from the Age of Mass Migration”. Shom Mazumder will be the discussant.


Abstract for “The economic impacts of political dynasties”

Political dynasties are prevalent in many countries, and are one of the few attributes shared by otherwise very different polities.  Public discussion of dynasties tends to be tinged with negative tones, even though economic theory is ambivalent and there is very little rigorous empirical evidence on the consequences of dynastic rule.  In this project, I compile data on the family connections of Indian politicians, and use a close elections RD design to estimate the impact of being ruled by a political dynasty on local economic development.  I find that constituencies where dynasts narrowly win have 40% slower growth in night-time luminosity than constituencies where dynasts narrowly lose.  I interpret these results through a theoretical framework where dynasts may operate more like stationary than roving bandits, and use their connections to draw scarce state resources to their area; but also have a chilling effect on local political competition, which may reduce accountability.


Abstract for “The Economic and Political Effects of Immigration: Lessons from the Age of Mass Migration”

In this paper, I show that political opposition to immigration can arise even when immigrants bring significant economic prosperity to receiving areas. I exploit variation in European immigration to US cities between 1910 and 1930 induced by World War I and the Immigration Acts of the 1920s, and instrument immigrants’ location decision with a “leave-out” version of the shift share instrument. Immigration increased natives' employment and occupational standing, and fostered industrial production and capital utilization. However, it lowered tax rates, public spending, and redistribution. The inflow of immigrants also reduced the pro-immigration party’s (i.e. Democrats) vote share, and increased the propensity of Congressmen to support anti-immigration legislation. Exploiting (economic and cultural) differences across sending regions, I show that political reactions occurred only when immigrants were culturally farther from natives and less likely to assimilate. Yet, it was precisely the inflow of these groups that had the largest, positive effect on natives’ occupational standing.