The Growth Lab Research Seminar series is a weekly seminar that brings together researchers from across the academic spectrum who share an interest in growth and development.
Speaker: Vincent Pons, Associate Professor, Harvard Business School
Abstract: In most national elections, voters face a key choice between continuity and change. Electoral turnovers occur when the incumbent candidate or party fails to win reelection. To understand how turnovers affect national outcomes, we study the universe of residential and parliamentary elections held since 1945. We document the prevalence of turnovers over time and estimate their effects on economic performance, trade, human development, conflict, and democracy. Using a close-elections regression discontinuity design (RDD) across countries, we show that turnovers improve country performance. These effects are not driven by differences in the characteristics of challengers, or by the fact that challengers systematically increase the level of government intervention in the economy. Electing new leaders leads to more policy change, it improves governance, and it reduces perceived corruption, consistent with the expectation that recently elected leaders exert more effort due to stronger reputation concerns.
Whether attending in-person or virtually, please register in advance. Room attendance is limited to the Harvard community. Seating availability is based on a first-come, first-served basis. The Zoom webinar is open to the public.
About the speaker:
Vincent Pons is an Associate Professor at Harvard Business School, and affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL).
Across the world, dissatisfaction with elected governments is at all-time highs. His research aims to understand why representative democracies can fail to deliver leaders, policies and outcomes aligned with people’s preferences. His work has appeared in journals such as Econometrica, the American Economic Review, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, and the American Political Science Review. It has been covered by The New York Times, The Economist, PRI's The World, the Huffington Post, le Monde, and BFM Business among others.