NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Carlos A. Molina

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Universidad de los Andes

NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 2020The Weak State Trap
with Leopoldo Fergusson, James A. Robinson: w26848
Development outcomes come in ‘clusters’ that seem difficult to exit. Using original data from Colombia, we present evidence of the interconnection between two critical political components: state weakness and clientelism. State weakness creates the right environment for clientelism to flourish. Clientelism sets in place a structure of incentives for politicians and citizens that is detrimental to building state capacity. We show that vote buying, as a measure of clientelism, and tax evasion, as a measure of state weakness, are highly correlated at the micro level. We also report evidence that both practices are widely accepted in society, a result consistent with a deeply entrenched relationship of mutually reinforcing influences. Finally, we propose a set of mechanisms that underlie the h...
 
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