CEMFI publishes two series of research papers: Working Papers and Master Theses. The Working Papers series contains research work from full-time professors and PhD students.
Felipe Carozzi, Luca Repetto
We ask whether the birthplaces of Italian members of Parliament are favoured in the allocation of central government transfers. Using a panel of municipalities for the years between 1994 and 2006, we find that municipal governments of legislators' birth towns receive larger transfers per capita. Exploiting the fact that some birth towns are outside of the district of election, we conclude that this result cannot be driven by re-election incentives. On the contrary, we show that these incentives discourage legislators from diverting resources to their birthplace. We present evidence that those transfers are a way for a politician to prepare the ground for a post-congressional career in the municipal administration.
At the beginning of the past financial crisis sponsoring banks rescued their structured investment vehicles (SIVs) despite of lack of contractual obligation to do so. I show that this outcome may arise as the equilibrium of a signaling game between banks and their debt investors when a negative shock affects the correlated asset returns of a fraction of banks and their sponsored vehicles. The rescue is interpreted as a good signal and reduces the refinancing costs of the sponsoring bank. If banks’ leverage is high or the negative shock is sizable enough, the equilibrium is a pooling one in which all banks rescue. When the aggregate financial sector is close to insolvency, banks’ expected net worth would increase if rescues were banned. The model can be extended to discuss the circumstances in which all banks collapse after rescuing their vehicles.
Rosario Crinò, Laura Ogliari
Product quality plays a key role in economics, but differs markedly across countries and industries. What are the determinants and implications of this pattern? In this paper, we test an explanation for the large heterogeneity in product quality that rests on the interplay between cross-country differences in financial frictions and cross-industry differences in financial vulnerability. To guide the empirical analysis, we rely on a simple trade model featuring heterogeneous firms, endogenous output quality, country heterogeneity in financial frictions, and industry heterogeneity in financial vulnerability. The model clearly illustrates how the interaction of financial frictions and financial vulnerability shapes the geographical and sectoral variation in product quality. We estimate the model using a novel data set, which contains proxies for export quality, financial development, and financial vulnerability for virtually all manufacturing industries and countries in the world, over a period that spans the last three decades. Our results show that the interplay between financial frictions and financial vulnerability is a main driver of the observed variation in product quality across countries and industries. The model also suggests that quality adjustments are an important mechanism through which financial development affects international trade and shapes countries’ export structure. We find strong evidence consistent with this implication.
The extension of mass education not only affects the level of education of the labor force, but also raises the average education of local politicians. This paper investigates the impact of a large program of school construction in Indonesia on local governance and public good provision. By using a panel dataset of 10,000 villages and exploiting the staggered timing of local elections, I isolate the effects driven by changes in local governance. The results suggest that the school construction program led to important increases in the provision of public goods. Furthermore, the results are heterogeneous across villages: public goods experienced stronger increases in villages where there was a particular demand for that type of public good. I provide evidence that the results are driven by the increase in the level of education of the village head, which suggests that the level of human capital of local politicians is a key ingredient of public good provision in developing countries.