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Category Archives: D72

Faith in the Future and Social Conflict: Economic Growth as a Mechanism for Political Stabilization

By Alexander Bloedel

This paper studies the mechanisms that link sociopolitical conflict and (expectations about) economic prosperity. Motivated by a large body of empirical and historical work on the correlation between economic development and democratization, I develop a game-theoretic model of economic growth with political economy constraints. In an economy where low income agents are credit constrained, rapid and robust economic growth leads to increasing inequality early on, but provides the means to mitigate civil conflict when inequality becomes suciently large. The rate and persistence of growth similarly determines the stability of extant political institutions and the ability to transition from dictatorship to democracy.

Honors Thesis

Advisor: Curtis Taylor | JEL Codes: D72, D74, O11, O43 | Tagged: Civil Conflict, Economic Growth, Expectations, Political Economy

Determining the Effect of Personal and Familial Wealth on Congressional and State Legislative Election Outcomes

By Anisha Khemlani

This paper seeks to further the debate on money and politics. Specifically, it focuses on the effect of wealth on election outcomes. The goal is to determine the relationship between personal wealth and voter margins of congressional elections and the effect of familial wealth on state legislative elections. A regression analysis of the congressional data suggests that personal wealth does not significantly impact the voter margins of successful candidates. However, a probit analysis of state legislative data suggests that familial wealth can increases candidate’s chances of winning, all else equal. This implies that at the state level, wealth could provide a candidate with advantages, suggesting that money and power may go hand in hand.

Honors Thesis

Data Set

Advisor: Nicholas Carnes | JEL Codes:  D3, D72 | Tagged: Elections, Personal Wealth, Voter Margin

Federal Outlays: The Effect of the President and Electoral Politics

By Michael Ge

The effect of congressional electoral politics on pork barrel spending is a well -studied phenomenon.
Likewise, presidential politics are receiving increased scrutiny. This paper aims to expand the
literature relating presidential electoral politics and the geographic distribution of federal funds on a
county level. It asks whether there is increased spending in the electorally-important counties in the
electorally-important states during and after a presidential elections. Results show that there are in
fact links between electoral importance and federal funding levels. However, results do not show a
trend in those results over different elections.

View Thesis

Advisor: Marjorie McElroy | JEL Codes: A12, D72, E62, H50, H61 | Tagged: Distributive Politics, Pork Barrel, Presidential Elections, US Federal Budget


Undergraduate Program Assistant
Jennifer Becker

Director of the Honors Program
Michelle P. Connolly