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LAURENCE ANTHONY GO

Post-Doctoral Researcher
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

I am a Post-Doctoral Researcher of MIGRADEMO, an ERC-funded project at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. My research interests center on economic development, and lie in the intersection of political economy and labor economics. I completed my PhD in Applied Economics at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. I also earned my MSc in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics at the London School of Economics and my BS in Business Economics at the University of the Philippines. I also served as a consultant at the World Bank.

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DEVELOPMENT
POLITICS
LABOR

RESEARCH

We study the impact of rank-based decision-making in a multi-member plurality electoral system by examining the decisions of Philippine legislative councilors to run for and win higher office. By focusing on multi-member plurality elections, we identify the effect of rank amongst politicians that hold the same office and received a similar number of votes. To identify the causal effect of rank, we conduct a close-elections RD at the village, municipality, and province levels. Our main result is the first place effect: incumbent first placers are 5–9% (1–4%) more likely to run (win) in future elections than incumbent second placers. The first place effect is unique among rank effects: subsequent rank comparisons yield substantially weaker or insignificant results. Further evidence suggests that a variety of potential mechanisms—party alignment, strategic voting, differential levels of media exposure or the better performance of first placers—do not seem to explain our results. These results improve our understanding of the variety of ways rank effects interact with electoral systems.

DEVELOPMENT
POLITICS

Journal of Public Economics
200 (August 2021)

Political dynasties exist in practically every type of democracy, but take different forms in different places. Yet the types of dynastic structures have remained unexplored. We argue that horizontal dynasties—multiple members from the same political family holding different political offices concurrently—affect policymaking by replacing potential political rivals, who may oppose an incumbent’s policy choices, with a member of the family. But in developing countries, the policy change that accrues from dynastic status may not lead to higher levels of economic development. We test this argument’s implications in the Philippines. Using a close elections regression discontinuity design on a sample of mayors, we show that (i) horizontally dynastic mayors have higher levels of government spending, (ii) direct institutional constraints are the mechanism that drives this core result, and (iii) horizontally dynastic mayors do not lead to higher economic growth economic growth or lower poverty.

POLITICS
DEVELOPMENT

Comparative Political Studies
55, no. 4 (March 2022): 588-627

WORKS IN PROGRESS

Absence Makes the Vote Grow Farther: Emigrant Voting Patterns Across 177 Homeland Elections

LAB
POL

We study how and to what extent emigrants change their political preferences from afar using a novel dataset on emigrant votes for each country of residence for more than 40 countries of origin.

Does Data Drive Policy? Evidence from over 40,000 Local Government Units in the Philippines

DEV
POL

We investigate whether local politicians use data to inform policy. We leverage a policy reform that changed the way cash transfers were determined: from a centralised data-driven approach to a more decentralised method based on local politicians’ preferences.

How are Minimum Wages Determined: Evidence from Regional Wage Boards in the Philippines

DEV
LAB

We explore an understudied phenomenon in the minimum wage literature: how minimum wages are determined. We use a novel dataset on wage board decisions and a survey experiment to understand preferences of wage board members.