Konstantin Sonin

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Electoral fraud is a widespread phenomenon, especially outside the developed world. Despite abundant qualitative and anecdotal evidence on its existence from around the world, there is very limited quantitative evidence on the extent of electoral fraud. We exploit random assignment of independent observers to 156 of 3,164 polling stations in the city of(More)
A central feature of collective decision-making in many social groups, such as political coalitions, international unions, or private clubs, is that the rules that govern regulations, procedures for future decision-making, and inclusion and exclusion of members are made by the current members and under the current regulations. This feature implies that(More)
Scholars investigating European state development have long placed a heavy emphasis on the role played by representative institutions. The presence of an active representative assembly, it is argued, allowed citizens and rulers to contract over raising revenue and accessing credit. It may also have had implications for economic growth. These arguments have(More)
A central feature of dynamic collective decision-making is that the rules that govern the procedures for future decision-making and the distribution of political power across players are determined by current decisions. For example, current constitutional change must take into account how the new constitution may pave the way for further changes in laws and(More)
When voters fear that politicians may have a right-wing bias or that they may be influenced or corrupted by the rich elite, signals of true left-wing conviction are valuable. As a consequence, even a moderate politician seeking reelection chooses “populist’ policies i.e., policies to the left of the median voter as a way of signaling that he is not from the(More)
In unequal societies, the rich might bene t from shaping economic institutions into their favor. This paper analyzes dynamics of institutional subversion focusing on one particular institution, public protection of property rights. If this institution is imperfect, agents have incentives to invest in private protection of property rights. With economies of(More)
We introduce financial constraints in a theoretical analysis of illegal immigration. Intermediaries finance the migration costs of wealth-constrained migrants, who enter temporary servitude contracts to pay back the debt. These debt/labor contracts are more easily enforceable in the illegal than in the legal sector of the host country. Hence, when moving(More)