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Authors: Rodriguez Valadez, Jose Maria Maria
Advisors: Wantchekon, Leonard
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: Federalism
Natural hazards
Public policy
Social policy
Spatial analysis
Text analysis
Subjects: Political science
Public policy
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation presents three essays on the political economy of social policy delivery. I explore how institutional arrangements, electoral incentives, and contextual factors affect the delivery of social policies. The first paper identifies how in federal systems, subnational governments mirror national social policy. I identify and operationalize the concept of overlapping social policies, propose a way to measure it. Then I proceed to predict its behavior and explore the correlates of the mentioned overlap in social policy. I argue group these explanations into programmatic reasons and political explanations, finding that local needs and political misalignment help us understand how this variable varies. In the second chapter, I investigate the electoral consequences of the exposure to damage derived from natural hazards such as an earthquake. I find that exposure to damage from these events benefits the officeholders in elections. The mechanism behind the relationship is the delivery of relief social programs. Moreover, I find that these policies’ returns are heterogeneous: the payoff of long-term reconstruction programs is higher than those from short-term relief strategies. Finally, in the last piece, I unpack the concept of programmatic policy and how non-written eligibility criteria are used to decide the allocation of benefits. I illustrate this by exploring how increases in violence help explain conditional cash transfer allocation while still satisfying the programmatic eligibility criteria. I use the case of Mexico to address my research questions empirically. Mexico is a middle-high-income democracy in Latin America. The mix of high administrative decentralization with a moderate fiscal capacity of its states and vibrant electoral competition at its three government levels make the Mexican case an interesting setup to understand the political dynamics surrounding social policy delivery. For this endeavor, I rely on a mix of quantitative and qualitative methodologies. I use text analysis to operationalize the concept of overlap, spatial analysis to explore the exposure to earthquake damage and rely on over fifty elite interviews to pin down the mechanisms behind the decision-making process to design an overlapping social program. The main data sources are administrative data, georeferencing of addresses of earthquake events, and interviews.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

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