When Running for Office Runs in the Family:
Horizontal Dynasties, Policy and Development in the Philippines
(with Laurence Go). Revise and Resubmit at Comparative Political Studies.
ABSTRACT: Political dynasties exist in practically every variant 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. Employing 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 economic growth or lower poverty.
Basing and Barangays: The Domestic Politics of U.S. Military Bases in the Philippines (with J. Wellington Brown). Revise and Resubmit at Asian Security.
Abstract: This paper presents a theory of foreign military basing as a function of the degree of internal threat facing a host nation. The theory is based on rational choice logic where politicians balance economic and security benefits against sovereignty and legitimacy costs. When internal threat is low a host nation's political actors value legitimacy and sovereignty and hence reduce base access. When internal threat is high economic and security benefits trump legitimacy and sovereignty costs, hence increasing base access. The theory is assessed through process-tracing the historical events around U.S military basing in the Philippines. When internal threat was low from coups and revolutionary movements the Philippine government reduced U.S. basing access, but when threat from these movements was high they either maintained or increased access. This study suggests more carefully considering the role of domestic politics when assessing the dynamics of foreign basing.
The Search for Spices and Souls: Colonial Missions as the Colonial State in the Philippines. Under Review.
Abstract: A growing literature has examined the role of the colonial missions on long-run economic and political outcomes. These results stem from the emphasis of missions as providers of human capital. This paper re-conceptualizes the colonial mission. It argues that missions were part and parcel of the colonial state, and served as an extension of the central state apparatus, establishing governance in the periphery when expansion was too costly for the secular bureaucrats and soldiers of the colonial state. The implication of the mission as colonial state theory is that exposure to colonial missions is correlated with higher levels of state capacity and economic development in the present. The theory is tested in the context of the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. The results show that (1) missionaries settled in areas that were not economically profitable to secular colonizers, and (2) greater exposure to missions during the colonial period is associated with higher levels of state capacity and economic development today.