Research

Working Papers:

“Ideology vs. Pork: Coalition Formation in Parliamentary Systems” (Job Market Paper)

In parliamentary democracies, the executive branch consists of a set of parties, called the Government. Across parliamentary democracies, Governments differ in both the composition of the Government and government outcomes. This paper asks how parliamentary characteristics and institutions influence the composition of the Government and government outcomes. It addresses this question through structural estimation. Toward this end, it builds a model of government formation in parliamentary democracies, where parties care about and bargain over both policy and office benefits. It estimates the model using data from western European parliamentary democracies. It uses the estimated model to conduct counterfactual experiments by varying institutions. The results have a number of important implications for institutional reform. First, within parliamentary democracies, a stable government may comes with policies that are far afield from voters' policy preference. So it is critical to evaluate a given institutional reform based on both the policy consequences and the duration of the Government. Second, there are important synergies between institutional rules. Whether adding a particular institution improves or worsens government outcomes often depends on the broader institutional environment. 

Work in Progress:

“Legislative Bargaining with Endogenous Proposal Power”

Are high quality politicians more likely to have proposal power? I address this question by building a formal model, in which legislators are more likely to have proposal power when they bring a larger expected future budget to the table. In the model, if legislators have proposal power, then on average they get a higher level of pork for their districts (in equilibrium). If they are high quality legislators, this implies that they are more likely to bring in more tax revenue, i.e. bring in a larger budget for the following year. I first consider a benchmark case, in which a legislator can only invest pork in one project. I show that a high quality legislator is more likely to be recognized as the proposer.  I then consider an alternative setting, in which a legislator can invest pork in multiple projects with different risk levels. I show that a high quality legislator may be less likely (than a low quality legislator) to be recognized as the proposer.

“Voters and Governments: The Impact of Voters on Coalition Formation”

This paper views voters’ decisions as an endogenous component of the coalition formation process. It seeks to understand how voter diversity influences the composition of coalitions and coalitional outcomes. This project is a follow up to “Ideology vs. Pork: Coalition Formation in Parliamentary Systems.” Unlike the previous paper, this project endogenizes voters' electoral decisions. Thus, the paper can speak to the effect of parliamentary characteristics and institutions on welfare, based on the ideological make-up of voters.


Research Statement