The impact of political and religious leaders on socio-economic outcomes

Farina, Egidio (2018) The impact of political and religious leaders on socio-economic outcomes. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates how political or religious leaders have an impact on several socio-economic outcomes in two different countries, the United States and Italy.

In the first empirical chapter I analyse how the race of a politician can have an impact on the incidence of crime. I answer this question by focusing on large US cities, where active participation in the political life of the African-American candidates has undergone a strong upsurge since 1965. In order to deal with the endogeneity of black candidates to city characteristics, a regression discontinuity is used, exploiting the multi-racial elections decided by a narrow margin of victory. The results show that the number of motor vehicles stolen increases considerably the year after the election of an African-American candidate. I investigate, as a possible channel of influence, how police employment responds to the election of a black mayor, finding a negative effect the year after the electoral race.

The second empirical chapter studies how electoral outcomes can shape individuals' migration decisions. Using the Italian mayoral elections data from 2001 to 2014, I study how foreign citizens' internal migration with a regular residency permit in North Italy can be affected by the election of a mayor affiliated to the Northern League (Lega Nord) party, a far-right political movement characterised by a strong federalist, populist and anti-immigration ideology. To deal with the endogeneity of the Northern League to city characteristics, a sharp regression discontinuity is used. Overall the results show that a mayor affiliated to the Northern League party causes an increase in the foreign out-migration rate one year after the election.

The third empirical chapter investigates the impact of papal visits to Italian provinces on abortions and live births from 1979 to 2012. Using an event study methodology, we find a strong decrease in the number of abortions following papal visits. This effect commences at about the 3rd month and persists until about the 11th month after the visits. However, we find no significant change in the number of live births. We argue that a fall in the incidence of unplanned pregnancies best explains our results. This fall appears to be concentrated among married women, a demographic that shows the biggest jump in religiosity when the pope visits.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Economics
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology > GN301 Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology > GN406 Cultural traits, customs, and institutions > GN492 Political organisation. Political anthropology > GN492.25 Leadership. Authority
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0831 Social change > HM0836 Causes
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2018 11:13
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2018 11:13
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/75228

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