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Essays on intrahousehold bargaining and political economy

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Date created
The thesis is composed of three essays - one on development economics and two on political economy, with the unified aim of using economic theory alongside applied methods to answer relevant policy questions. Chapter 1 is co-authored with Dr. Krishna Pendakur and examines the effect of the introduction of the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) policy on intrahousehold bargaining and preferences. The CCB provided higher amounts of child benefit, under an umbrella title and the payment was targeted towards mothers in dual parent households. Using the Survey of Household Spending and implementing a difference-in-difference strategy within a structural model of the collective household, we find mild evidence of changes in preferences from the labeling of the benefit, while we see significant increase in women's resource shares among homeowners. We provide possible explanations for this heterogeneous treatment effect across homeowners and renters.

In Chapter 2, co-authored with Dr. Chris Bidner, we develop a theoretical model to understand the conditions that promote illiberal democracy, why it is harmful yet popular among citizens, and the nature of transitions between liberal and illiberal democracy, and outright non-democracy. In our model, Elites influence policy and heighten risk of transition to non-democracy while Citizens with heterogeneous preferences decide whether to resist elites. The model shows that illiberal democracies are more likely to emerge when elites become weaker. It explains the relatively frequent transitions between illiberal democracy and non-democracy and shows how the existence of liberal democracy relies upon these dynamics. Preliminary empirical support for our model is also provided.

While Chapter 2 theorizes the emergence of political regimes, Chapter 3 focuses on the characteristics of political regimes – election and liberalism. The paper documents the historical trend and pattern of transitions and differences in belief systems across countries distinguished by the characteristics of their political institutions. Using multiple empirical approaches, the paper then shows that competitive elections alongside liberalism, as in full democracies, is required for a political regime to fuel growth. Regimes with only competitive elections and lacking liberalism does not have a significantly different impact on growth than regimes with no elections. The paper further explores various mechanisms to gain insight into the differential effect of political characteristics on growth.
126 pages.
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Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Bidner, Chris
Thesis advisor: Pendakur, Krishna
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