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Corduneanu-Huci, Cristina

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Political economy of development, Politics of taxation, Fiscal transparency
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Last updated: January 31, 2023
Biography
Cristina Corduneanu-Huci is an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Policy at the Central European University, Budapest. She holds a PhD in Political Science from Duke University. Her research focuses on the political economy of non-democratic regimes, development policies, state capacity, and government transparency. Her work has appeared in Comparative Sociology, the World Bank Policy Research Working Papers series, and several edited volumes. She is the co-author of Understanding Policy Change: How to Apply Political Economy Concepts in Practice, a book that explores the complex relationship between politics and economic development.

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Rules on Paper, Rules in Practice: Enforcing Laws and Policies in the Middle East and North Africa

2016-07-19, Al-Dahdah, Edouard, Corduneanu-Huci, Cristina, Raballand, Gael, Ababsa, Myriam

The primary focus of this book is on a specific outcome of the rule of law: the practical enforcement of laws and policies, and the determinants of this enforcement, or lack thereof. Are there significant and persistent differences in implementation across countries? Why are some laws and policies more systematically enforced than others? Are “good” laws likely to be enacted, and if not, what stands in the way? We answer these questions using a theoretical framework and detailed empirical data and illustrate with case studies from Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan. We believe that the best way to understand the variation in the drafting and implementation of laws and policies is to examine the interests and incentives of those responsible for these tasks – policymakers and bureaucrats. If laws and their enforcement offer concrete benefits to these ruling elites, they are more likely to be systematically enforced. If they don't, implementation is selective, discretionary, if not nil. Our first contribution is in extending the application of the concept of the rule of law beyond its traditional focus on specific organizations like the courts and the police, to economic sectors such as customs, taxation and land inheritance, in a search for a direct causal relationship with economic development outcomes. Instead of limiting ourselves to a particular type of organization or a legalistic approach to the rule of law, we present a broader theory of how laws are made and implemented across different types of sectors and organizations. Our second contribution is in demonstrating how powerful interests affect implementation outcomes. The incentives elites have to build and support rule-of-law institutions derive from the distribution of power in society, which is partly a historical given. The point we make is that it is not deterministic. Realigning the incentive structures for reform among key actors and organizations, through accountability and competition, can dramatically improve the chances that rule-of-law institutions will take root. On the other hand, building the capacity of organizations without first changing institutional incentives is likely to lead to perverse outcomes.

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Selective Control: The Political Economy of Censorship

2018-08, Hamilton, Alexander, Corduneanu-Huci, Cristina

In recent years, alongside democratic backsliding and security threats, censorship is increasingly used by governments and other societal actors to control the media. Who is likely to be affected by censorship and why? Does censorship as a form of punishment coexist with or act as a substitute for reward-based forms of media capture such as market concentration or bribes? First, this argues that censors employ censorship only toward certain targets that provide information to politically consequential audiences, while allowing media that caters to elite audiences to report freely. Second, the paper hypothesizes that coercion and inducements are substitutes, with censorship being employed primarily when bribes and ownership fail to control information. To test these hypotheses, a new data set was built of 9,000 salient censorship events and their characteristics across 196 countries between 2001 and 2015. The study finds strong empirical support for the theory of media market segmentation.