Poverty Global Practice, The World Bank
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Poverty Global Practice, The World Bank
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Last updated January 31, 2023
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Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-01) Banuri, Sheheryar ; Bulman, David ; Lopez-Calva, Luis F. ; Molina, Ezequiel ; Safir, Abla ; Sharma, SiddharthIn this paper, the authors use the lab to test a series of policy proposals designed to constrain rent-seeking behaviour in a policymaking context. The baseline governance game is conducted in the following way: subjects are randomly assigned to groups of four, with one subject randomly selected to be the “policymaker", while the other three are the “citizens”. Citizens are informed that they can use their endowments to contribute to a group account. Any amount contributed to the group account are doubled. Once citizens have made their contribution decisions, the policymaker observes the contribution decisions of each citizen, and the total amount in the group account. The policymaker formulates a distribution “policy” to distribute the tokens among all four group members. The game is repeated for 20 rounds. With this basic framework, the authors implement and test the effect of three institutions designed to constrain policymaker rent-seeking behaviour: voting, policy commitment, and punishment. The results show that voting and enforced commitment are the most effective policy mechanisms to constrain rent-seeking, and improve citizen welfare. The authors find policymaker punishment regimes to be largely ineffective, both in reducing rent-seeking and improving welfare of citizens.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-04) Bolch, Kimberly B. ; Ceriani, Lidia ; Lopez-Calva, Luis F.The 2015 United Nations resolution on Financing for Development stresses the importance of effective resource mobilization and use of domestic resources to pursue sustainable development. The first Sustainable Development Goal is to eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere by 2030. This paper proposes an accounting exercise to assess whether it is feasible for countries to eliminate poverty using only domestic resources, in other words, by mere redistribution. Moreover, the paper argues that the concentration of resources in the hands of fewer individuals in the society may hinder the feasibility of implementing effective fiscal policies (from the revenue side and the social spending side) to reduce poverty. The paper provides a new tool to assess the capacity of countries to eliminate poverty through redistribution, and a new tool to approximate the concentration of political influence in a country. The new methodologies are applied to the most recent surveys available for more than 120 developing countries. The findings show that countries with the same fiscal capacity to mobilize resources for poverty eradication differ widely in the political feasibility of such redistribution policies.
Publication(Elsevier, 2016-05) Enamorado, Ted ; López-Calva, Luis F. ; Rodríguez-Castelán, Carlos ; Winkler, HernánThe goal of this paper is to examine the effect of inequality on crime rates in a unique context, Mexico's drug war. The analysis exploits an original dataset containing inequality and crime statistics on more than 2000 Mexican municipalities over a 20-year period. To uncover the causal effect of inequality on crime, we use an instrumental variable for the Gini coefficient that combines the initial income distribution at the municipality level with national trends. Our estimates indicate that a one-point increment in the Gini coefficient between 2007 and 2010 translates into an increase of more that 36% in the number of drug-related homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. The fact that the effect found during the drug war is substantially greater is likely caused by the rise in rents to be extracted through crime and an expansion in the employment opportunities in the illegal sector through the proliferation of drug trafficking organizations (DTOs), accompanied by a decline in legal job opportunities and a reduction in the probability of being caught given the resource constraints faced by the law enforcement system. Combined, the latter factors made the expected benefits of criminal activity shift in a socially undesirable direction after 2007.