• Publications
  • Influence
Strengthening State Capabilities: The Role of Financial Incentives in the Call to Public Service
We study a recent recruitment drive for public sector positions in Mexico. Different salaries were announced randomly across recruitment sites, and job offers were subsequently randomized. ScreeningExpand
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Who Becomes a Politician?
Can a democracy attract competent leaders, while attaining broad representation? Economic models suggest that free-riding incentives and lower opportunity costs give the less competent a comparativeExpand
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Bribing Voters
We show how an outside party offering incentives to a committee can manipulate at no cost collective decisions made through voting. This contrasts with previous contributions--which ignore theExpand
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Term Length and Political Performance
We evaluate the effects of the duration of legislative terms on the performance of legislators. We exploit a natural experiment in the Argentine House of Representatives where term lengths wereExpand
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The Demand for Bad Policy When Voters Underappreciate Equilibrium Effects
Most of the political economy literature blames inefficient policies on institutions or politicians’ motives to supply bad policy, but voters may themselves be partially responsible by demanding badExpand
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The Paradox of Civilization: Pre-Institutional Sources of Security and Prosperity
The rise of civilizations involved the dual emergence of economies that could produce surplus (“prosperity”) and states that could protect surplus (“security”). But the joint achievement of securityExpand
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Progress and Perspectives in the Study of Political Selection
We provide a model of self-selection by candidates in a probabilistic voting environment to shed light on the forces shaping the quality of politicians from both the supply and demand sides ofExpand
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The Economics of Faith: Using an Apocalyptic Prophecy to Elicit Religious Beliefs in the Field
We model religious faith as a “demand for beliefs,” following the logic of the Pascalian wager. We show how standard experimental interventions linking financial consequences to falsifiable religiousExpand
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Self-Esteem, Moral Capital, and Wrongdoing
We present an infinite-horizon model of moral standards where self-esteem and unconscious drives play key roles. In the model, an individual receives random temptations (such as bribe offers) andExpand
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Workers, Warriors and Criminals: Social Conflict in General Equilibrium
We analyze how economy-wide forces (i.e. shocks to terms of trade, technology and endowments) affect the intensity of social conflict. We see conflict phenomena such as crime and civil war asExpand
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