LAURENCE ANTHONY GO
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
I am a Juan de la Cierva fellow at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. My research interests center on political economy, development 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.
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.
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.
Comparative Political Studies
55, no. 4 (March 2022): 588-627
We document political interdependence driven by international migration. To investigate whether host country elections impact migrant turnout in homeland elections, we assemble a novel dataset of migrant turnout in 1,267 elections across 43 origin countries and 217 destination countries. Using the quasi-random timing of elections between countries, we find that migrant turnout in homeland elections occurring after host country elections increases by 7pp relative to turnout in homeland elections before. This is consistent with a model of salience where exposure to competitive host country elections increases interest in the political process and drives migrants to participate in their homeland elections.
Election Fever or Sick of Elections? Effect of Elections on Political Interest for >5M Citizens Worldwide
Using millions of observations from survey data, we document an 'election fever' effect: respondents surveyed after elections are 12% more interested in politics than those surveyed before. However, this surge diminishes after 10 days, returning to pre-election levels. Political interest is higher in elections where the first round is decisive, when an incumbent loses and when economic policy is more uncertain. Following elections, citizens consume news and discuss politics more frequently. Evidence supports a model of uncertainty where citizens are interested in and acquire information post-election. This finding is important as political interest drives political action.
Studies of emigrant voting in homeland elections have questioned to what extent emigrants change their political preferences from afar. On the one hand, migration transforms emigrants’ political preferences through exposure to their countries of residence. On the other, emigrants display similar political preferences to home country electorates because their political socialization take place prior to departure. Drawing on an extensive novel dataset of emigrant votes per country of residence in 180 homeland elections worldwide, we estimate pairwise fixed effects regressions to show that political distance, defined as the difference in Polity scores between the countries of origin and residence, is related to systematic differences between the emigrant and homeland vote. The direction migration also matters: this result is largely driven by migrants moving to more democratic countries.
Absence Makes the Vote Grow Farther: Emigrant Voting Patterns Across 180 Homeland Elections
WORKS IN PROGRESS
Effects of Migrant Enfranchisement on Remittances and Labor Policies
Migrant enfranchisement is the enfranchisement issue of the 21st century. We study the effect of granting migrants (non-resident citizens) the right to vote in their homeland elections on perceptions toward democracy.
Pride and Prejudice: Impact of National Days on Patriotism and Attitudes Toward Immigration
What drives nationalism? Using differential timing between national days and various political surveys, we provide empirical evidence that national days increase levels of nationalism. We explore the effects of this on political perception and behaviour.
Economic Nationalism and Industrial Development: Evidence from the 1975 Naturalisation Law
The rise of economic nationalism has been driven by factors such as populism, security concerns and political ideologies. Its impact is less known, which we study through a 1975 naturalisation law that allowed foreigners to invest in previously restricted industries.