Matthew Carnes (Georgetown University) and Isabela Mares (Columbia University)’s paper awarded best paper from the 2014 REPAL annual conference
Matthew Carnes (Georgetown University) and Isabela Mares (Columbia University) ’s paper has been awarded “best paper” from the 2014 REPAL annual conference.
The prize committee was Ken Shadlen (LSE), Daniela Campello (FGV-Rio), and Eduardo Dargent (PUC Perú).
This paper revisits and challenges a dominant hypothesis in political economy about the preferences and power of “insiders.” The expectation that beneficiaries under a given set of arrangements will push for continuity and against measures that might dilute their gains is central, implicitly if not always explicitly, in many political economy explanations. Carnes and Mares suggest an alternative scenario, based on instability of the status quo arrangements, which is a common if not prevailing condition in developing countries, and they use original data from a survey to show how instability may affect preferences for redistribution. The panel found the paper to address an important topic of great relevance, with an excellent research design and data analysis, and to be nicely written.
Renato Lima de Oliveira (MIT) and Martin Liby Alonso (MIT) Fueling development? Assessing the Impact of Oil and Soybean Wealth on Municipalities in Brazil
The Lima-de-Oliveira and Alonso paper contributes to the emerging literature devoted to understanding how politics mediate the impact of the recent commodity boom experienced by Latin American countries. Taking advantage of the large variation in resource wealth among Brazilian municipalities, they test the hypothesis that natural resource revenues channelled through the state (oil) are more subject to the dynamics associated with a resource curse than those channeled directly through the market (soybean). They find empirical support for this hypothesis; in comparable municipalities, soybean wealth is positively associated with development outcomes, whereas these effects are negative in oil-rich municipalities.