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Barry R. Weingast
Journal Articles

Is development uniquely modern? Ancient Athens on the doorstep

Federica Carugati, Josiah Ober, Barry R. Weingast
Public Choice , 2019

By offering out-of-sample observations, pre-modern case studies can provide unique insights into the process of economic development. We focus on the case of ancient Athens in the 5th and 4th centuries BCE. During that time, Athens moved beyond the logic of rent-seeking and rent-creation that grips natural states, displaying many features of development present in the modern world.

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Working Papers

Authoritarian Survival and Poverty Traps: Land Reform in Mexico

Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, Beatriz Magaloni, Michael Albertus, Barry R. Weingast
CDDRL Working Papers, page(s): 52 , 2017

This paper examines why governments in underdeveloped countries systematically pursue policies that prevent long-term economic growth. Focusing on the design and implementation of Mexico's massive land redistribution program, we argue that governments do so to improve their chances of political survival. Mexico’s incumbent PRI regime gave peasants communal property under a restrictive and inefficient property rights regime.

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Working Papers

Authoritarian Survival and Poverty Traps: Land Reform in Mexico [Feb. 2015]

Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, Beatriz Magaloni, Michael Albertus, Barry R. Weingast
CDDRL Working Papers , 2015

This paper examines why governments in underdeveloped countries systematically pursue policies that prevent long-term economic growth. Focusing on the design and implementation of Mexico's massive land redistribution program, we argue that governments do so to improve their chances of political survival. Mexico’s incumbent PRI regime gave peasants communal property under a restrictive and inefficient property rights regime. This form of land reform created dependence upon the regime for survival. We find empirical support for this hypothesis using data from a panel of Mexican states from 1917-1992. Land distribution was higher during election years and where the threat of rural unrest was greater. We also show that economic growth and modernization eroded PRI support over the long term, and, further, that PRI support eroded more slowly in states receiving greater levels of land. Inefficient land redistribution therefore served the PRI’s electoral interests, generating a loyal political clientele; and it contributed to political stability. Nonetheless, this policy carried steep costs: land reform substantially depressed long-term economic growth. These findings hold across various model specifications and instrumental variables estimation.

 

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Journal Articles

Constructing Self-Enforcing Federalism in the Early United States and Modern Russia

Rui J. P. Figueiredo, Jr., Michael McFaul, Barry R. Weingast
Publius , 2007

All federal systems face the two fundamental dilemmas of federalism: too strong a center risks overawing the subnational units; and too weak a center risks free-riding that makes the system fall apart. Resolving the two dilemmas is problematic because mitigating one dilemma exacerbates the other. We develop a model of federal institutions that shows the circumstances under which both dilemmas can be solved so that federal institutions are self-enforcing.

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Journal Articles

Crisis in Bureaucracy: Homeland Security and the Political Design of Legal Mandates

Dara K. Cohen, Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Barry R. Weingast
Stanford Law Review , 2006

Policymakers fight over bureaucratic structure because it helps shape the legal interpretations and regulatory decisions of agencies through which modern governments operate. In this Article, we update positive political theories of bureaucratic structure to encompass two new issues with important implications for lawyers and political scientists: the significance of legislative responses to a crisis and the uncertainty surrounding major bureaucratic reorganizations.

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