Essays in applied political economy
Conde Carvajal, Juan Delfin
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The first chapter analyzes the impact of gender quota regulation on women's participation in politics. Gender quotas are the main policy tools used to encourage participation in politics. A natural experiment in Spanish municipal elections is exploited to study the success of such reforms. Gender quotas are found to improve the number of women candidates, but due to strategic reaction from political parties, much fewer women are being elected. Political parties disproportionately allocate women to the lowest possible position while still complying with the law. Parties have a propensity to assign women candidates to positions where they have relatively low chance of being elected. There is also no shift in public policy toward spending preferred by women. The second chapter presents empirical evidence in support of the Leviathan model of government. In Spain, the number of politicians chosen in local elections depends on the population of the municipality. Using a data set that covers over two decades of municipal elections, I present two main results. First, there is an unusual concentration of municipalities (bunching) with reported populations just above the threshold that increases the number of local representatives. I present compelling evidence that elected officials manipulate population figures in advance of upcoming elections in order to maximize the size of the council. Second, I use machine learning techniques to construct an unbiased measure of population based on luminosity data and census population figures, and study which municipalities are more likely to misreport based on the quality of the democratic institutions. Based on those measures, I conclude that misreporting is more likely to happen in municipalities with higher turnout and less parties in their council. The final chapter studies the impact that World War II fatalities had on political preferences during the twentieth century in the United States. We document enlistment and fatalities at the county level and use this variation to study the hypothesis that fatalities permanently shifted U.S. political preferences. In particular, we test whether the proximate casualties theory, which states that voters punish incumbents in the short run after a war, affected United States counties after World War II. We conclude that there is not enough evidence in our analysis to determine that fatalities during World War II significantly impacted long term political preferences.