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Most of the poor in the developing world work in the informal economy, that is, in occupations that take place outside of the legal system of taxing, spending, and regulating. This article examines how informal work impacts the policy and electoral preferences of the poor. We emphasize the importance of the risks inherent in informal employment in shaping the responsiveness of citizens to clientelism and their policy and voting preferences. Since most informal workers are not covered by (formal) social insurance, they prefer material goods and candidates that produce targeted, clientelistic benefits rather than programmatically delivered insurance that is unlikely to reach them. As a result, we argue that informal workers are more likely to rely on clientelistic relations as a means of hedging risks than are formal workers; prefer policies that are delivered clientelistically via political mediators rather than programmatic solutions; and prefer clientelistic over programmatic local candidates. Our findings elucidate why the preferences of poor informal workers often diverge from those assumed by standard models of social insurance and have important implications for the political economy of social policy in a world where billions work outside work-based tax-transfer systems.
Google search is ubiquitous, and Google Trends (GT) is a potentially useful access point for big data on many topics the world over. We propose a new ‘variance-in-time’ method for forecasting events using GT. By collecting multiple and overlapping samples of GT data over time, our algorithm leverages variation both in the mean and the variance of a search term in order to accommodate some idiosyncracies in the GT platform. To elucidate our approach, we use it to forecast protests in the United States. We use data from the Crowd Counting Consortium between 2017 and 2019 to build a sample of true protest events as well as a synthetic control group where no protests occurred. The model’s out-of-sample forecasts predict protests with higher accuracy than extant work using structural predictors, high frequency event data, or other sources of big data such as Twitter. Our results provide new insights into work specifically on political protests, while providing a general approach to GT that should be useful to researchers of many important, if rare, phenomena.
Day-to-day policing represents a fundamental interface between citizens and states. Yet even in the most capable states, local policing varies enormously from one community to the next. The authors seek to understand this variation and in doing so make three contributions: First, they conceptualize communities and individuals as networks more or less capable of demanding high-quality policing. Second, they present original survey data and semistructured interviews on local policing from over one hundred sixty slums, eight thousand households, and one hundred seventy informal neighborhood leaders in India that contribute to the nascent empirical work on comparative policing and order. Third, they find evidence that well-connected individuals and densely connected neighborhoods express greater confidence in and satisfaction with local policing. Critically, these differences do not appear to be a function of a lower propensity for local conflict but rather of an increased capacity to leverage neighborhood leaders to mediate relations with the police. The combination of analytics and empirics in this article provides insight into the conditions under which individuals and communities experience the police as expropriators of rents or neutral providers of order.
Most of the academic research on how decentralization might promote accountability has focused on institutions: how formal rules governing elections, fiscal federalism, etc. impact political accountability. Donor programming and accompanying evaluations, on the other hand, have focused less on institutions and more on mobilizing civil society and “social accountability”. These programming efforts have progressed with considerable enthusiasm but without, for the most part, reference to recent academic breakthroughs on the social conditions for cooperative behavior and collective action. The goal of this chapter is to consider how recent innovations in the study of information flows and cooperation in social networks might inform donor programming on social accountability. Research on social networks provides insights into the relational characteristics of communities that are certain to impact the prospects for accountability, the potential for technology to promote accountability, and gives a rigorous underpinning to the frequent, if ambiguous, claim that “context matters.”
At the end of the twentieth century, academics and policymakers welcomed a trend toward fiscal and political decentralization as part of a potential solution for slow economic growth and poor performance by insulated, unaccountable governments. For the last two decades, researchers have been trying to answer a series of vexing questions about the political economy of multi-layered governance. Much of the best recent research on decentralization has come from close collaborations between university researchers and international aid institutions. As the volume and quality of this collaborative research have increased in recent decades, the time has come to review the lessons from this literature and apply them to debates about future programming. In this volume, the contributors place this research in the broader history of engagement between aid institutions and academics, particularly in the area of decentralized governance, and outline the challenges and opportunities to link evidence and policy action.
From Spain and Greece to Brazil and South Africa, dualized labor markets are a worldwide phenomenon. In many countries, workers are divided between those with permanent contracts that include valuable benefits and extensive labor market protections and those who work under contingent contracts or no contracts at all. This latter group receives few or no labor market protections and lower levels of social benefits. They are the world's labor market outsiders. Recent research has suggested that this pool of outsiders has important implications for the nature of democratic politics in the twenty-first century, an argument that is perfectly in line with the core idea of this book, namely, that coalitional alignments among different labor market groups are at the heart of postindustrial reform strategies.
Yet the extent of dualization varies hugely across countries. Data on the size of the informal sector around the world (from Schneider et al. 2010) show that while there is clearly a negative association between the wealth of societies and the extent of dualization, there is also huge variation both within and across rich and developing nations. In the OECD context, the process of dualization has been linked to a number of political and economic processes: increasing competition in manufacturing, the rise of the service sector, the decline of unionization, political choices by Left governments, and others. Echoes of these arguments are present in work on developing countries, where dualization is closely linked to the informal sector and has received a lot of attention from economists and sociologists (if not political scientists). Indeed, a long tradition of models in development economics emphasize the stark income and productivity gaps inherent in “dual economies” and the uneven growth that characterizes broad swaths of the developing world (Rosenstein-Rodan 1943; Ray 2010). Yet while all of these arguments emphasize important features of dualization, they often focus on the consequences rather than the causes of labor market dualism.
Policymakers and scholars have turned their attention to federalism as a means for managing conflicts between central governments and subnational interests. But both the theoretical literature and the empirical track record of federations make for opposing conclusions concerning federalism's ability to prevent civil conflict. This article argues that the existing literature falls short on two accounts: first, it lacks a systematic comparison of peaceful and conflict-ridden cases across federal states, and second, while some studies acknowledge that there is no one-sizefits-all federal solution, the conditional ingredients of peace-preserving federalism have not been theorized. The authors make the argument that the peace-preserving effect of specific federal traits—fiscal decentralization, fiscal transfers, and political copartisanship—are conditional on a society's income level and ethnic composition. The argument is tested across twenty-two federal states from 1978 to 2000.
While increased exposure to the global economy is associated with
increased welfare effort in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD), the opposite holds in the developing world. These
differences are typically explained with reference to domestic politics.
Tradables, unions, and the like in the developing world are assumed to
have less power or interests divergent to those in the
OECD—interests that militate against social spending. I claim that
such arguments can be complemented with a recognition that developed and
developing nations have distinct patterns of integration into global
markets. While income shocks associated with international markets are
quite modest in the OECD, they are profound in developing nations. In the
OECD, governments can respond to those shocks by borrowing on capital
markets and spending countercyclically on social programs. No such
opportunity exists for most governments in the developing world, most of
which have limited access to capital markets in tough times, more
significant incentives to balance budgets, and as a result cut social
spending at the times it is most needed. Thus, while internationally
inspired volatility and income shocks seem not to threaten the
underpinnings of the welfare state in rich nations, it undercuts the
capacity of governments in the developing world to smooth consumption (and
particularly consumption by the poor) across the business cycle.The author would like to thank Steph Haggard,
Kristin Bakke, Wongi Choe, Tim Jones, and seminar participants at Duke
University, Penn State University, Washington University, MIT, and the
University of New Mexico for their helpful comments. Nancy Brune, Mark
Hallerberg and Rolf Strauch, and Nita Rudra were very generous in
providing their capital account, OECD fiscal, and potential labor power
This book, first published in 2005, develops a comparative model of intergovernmental bargaining to account for variation in the capacity of federations in the developing world to undertake economic policy reform, suggesting that many market reform policies are a function of a constant process of bargaining between national and regional leaders struggling for political survival. As the degree of national-regional disagreement mounts, collective action on reforms that require implementation at multiple levels of government becomes more difficult. The degree to which the two factors conflict depends on four factors: the individual electoral interests, a shared intergovernmental fiscal system, the manner in which regional interests are represented in national policy making and the levers of partisan influence national leaders have over subnational politicians. In testing the argument with a combination of cross-sectional time-series and case study analysis, this book contributes to the broad literatures on development and the comparative political economy of federalism and decentralization.
With the previous chapter, I tested the last remaining aspect of this book's model of intergovernmental bargaining. In finding support for the notion that provincial politicians respond to the competitiveness of their subnational electoral environments in designing fiscal institutions and conducting fiscal policy, the chapter provides the last link in the complex intergovernmental negotiations that shape the federal politics of market reforms. Placed in the broader federal game, subnational officials take their electoral motivations and the intergovernmental fiscal incentives to the bargaining table with national officials. The national representation of pro- and antimarket reform regional allies gives regional leaders influence over national policy makers, whereas national leaders can rely on their partisan powers to influence regional politicians. Taken together, these factors can produce a profoundly dysfunctional intergovernmental bargaining environment, or, alternatively, one that lends itself to smooth, coherent economic policy.
The empirical approach in previous chapters has taken one of two forms: either the testing of very parsimonious models of macroeconomic or provincial fiscal policy (Chapters 3, 4, and 6) or a case study approach that aggregates the interests of regional politicians to explore the general characteristics of national-regional interactions (Chapter 5). Both approaches are tremendously valuable. They are limited, however, in the degree to which they can add to the bare bones of the bargaining model. They tell us little, for instance, about the social foundations for competitive politics at the regional level, how exactly intergovernmental partisan relations work in different regional contexts, or how those relations shape the fiscal game between leaders at different levels of government.