Political constraints and state capacity: Evidence from a land allocation program in Mexico
Riaño, Juan Felipe
In this paper we contribute to the understanding of the politics of state building. We emphasize that incumbent clientelistic parties might have incentives to sustain state fragility when politically challenged. We develop a theoretical model of the politics of state strengthening, and test its implications exploiting a unique policy program from Mexico. Incumbent clientelistic parties have a comparative advantage in clientelism as opposed to in public good provision. Investments in state capacity –conceived as a reduction of the cost of providing public goods– consequently undermine their comparative advantage. Therefore, when politically challenged by opponents, clientelistic incumbents may oppose to invest in state capacity. To test this hypothesis, we exploit a unique land allocation program in Mexico. When granting land to communities, the government decided whether to locate them close or far from municipality heads, thus affecting its future ability to provide public goods. Our empirical design uses the distance of the newly allocated land from municipality heads as a measure of local state capacity choice, and exploits a national shock that threatened the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)’s hegemony in the early 1960s but had different intensity across the various Mexican municipalities. Our difference-in-differences estimates corroborate that the PRI allocated land farther away from municipality heads in places where it expected more political contestation.
País / Región
Puede citar el documento con el texto siguiente:
Item perteneciente a la Colección
Items similares por titulo, autores y/o materias.
Shapiro, Jacob; Steele, Abbey; Vargas, Juan (CAF, 2014-02)Recent empirical evidence at the cross-country and subnational levels suggests that internal conflicts harm state capacity and tax performance. On the face of it this is odd: internal conflict should create strong incentives ...
Perry, Guillermo; García, Eduardo; Jiménez, Pedro (Universidad de los Andes; CEDE; CAF, 2014-08)This paper constructs a comprehensive set of State Capacity indicators for Colombian municipalities, focusing in four basic governmental capabilities: fiscal, financial, physical and operational. First, a group of relevant ...
Aragón, Fernando; Casas, Carlos (CAF; Caracas, 2008)This paper explores the extent of technical capacity constraints in Peruvian local governments. To do that, we study how effective municipalities are in using a significant income windfall due to central government transfers ...