"Politician Family Networks and Electoral Outcomes: Evidence from the Philippines" (with Cesi Cruz and Julien Labonne) [Download PDF]
In this paper, we test whether the family networks of politicians affect electoral outcomes in consolidating democracies. We argue that family networks facilitate the use of clientelistic practices by making use of extended norms of loyalty and reciprocity that greatly reduce the importance of informational and agency problems in vote-buying transactions. We have secured access to a unique 20 million person dataset in 709 municipalities of the Philippines. Local naming conventions allow us to use this data to assess the intermarriage links between families and to reconstruct all links in the family networks. We establish that politicians are disproportionately drawn from more central families and that more central candidates receive a higher vote share during the elections. We then use a more detailed dataset of voters, candidates, and policy preferences to explore mechanisms behind this effect. We find that centrality allows candidates to mobilize voters through vote-buying.
"When do Parties Buy Turnout? How Monitoring Capacity Facilitates Voter Mobilization in Mexico" (with Horacio Larreguy and John Marshall) [Download PDF] Revised and Resubmitted, American Political Science Review
Despite its prevalence, little is known about when parties buy turnout. We emphasize the problem of parties monitoring local brokers with incentives to shirk. Our model suggests that parties extract greater turnout buying effort from their brokers where they can better monitor broker performance and where favorable voters would not otherwise turn out. Exploiting exogenous variation in the number of polling stations—and thus electoral information about broker performance—in Mexican electoral precincts, we find that greater monitoring capacity increases turnout and votes for the PAN and the PRI. Consistent with our theoretical predictions, the effect of monitoring capacity on PRI votes varies non-linearly with the distance of voters to the polling station: it first increases because rural voters—facing larger costs of voting—generally favor the PRI, before declining as the cost of incentivizing brokers increases. This non-linearity is not present for the PAN, who stand to gain less from mobilizing rural voters.
"The Role of Labor Unions as Political Machines: Evidence from the Case of the Mexican Teachers' Union" (with Horacio Larreguy and Cesar Montiel) [Download PDF]
In this paper we analyze the electoral role of the Mexican teacher's union as a political machine. To study its effect on electoral outcomes, we exploit variation across time in its political alliances, whether polling stations are located in schools which facilitates the machine's operation and its strength across Mexican states. Our findings suggest that the candidates supported by the machine of the teacher's union experience a significant increase in their vote share when a polling station is located in a school.However, such an effect is only present in the areas where the leadership of the teacher's union exerts influence over its affiliates. We also show evidence that is consistent with the fact that SNTE uses electoral results at a low level of aggregation to monitor school directors and teachers.
"The Control of Politicians in Normal Times and Times of Crisis: Wealth Accumulation by U.S. Congressmen, 1850-1880" (with James M. Snyder, Jr.) Quarterly Journal of Political Science, 2013 (8), p.409-450. [Download PDF] [Download Appendix PDF]