working paper

May 2018

Not welcome anymore: the effect of electoral incentives on the reception of refugees

Do electoral incentives affect immigration policy decisions? I study this question in the setting of Italian municipalities making decisions about the reception of refugees. The localized control of the reception policy (SPRAR), combined with the exo...
More
Do electoral incentives affect immigration policy decisions? I study this question in the setting of Italian municipalities making decisions about the reception of refugees. The localized control of the reception policy (SPRAR), combined with the exogenous timing of policy decisions and staggered elections, enables me to study the effect of electoral incentives on the reception of refugees. Although municipalities receive substantial fiscal grants from the central government for hosting refugees, electoral incentives reduce the probability of opening a refugee reception centre by 24 per cent. The effect is driven by municipalities in which voters overestimate the presence of migrants, and by municipalities with higher shares of extreme-right voters, and migrants. Conversely, political competition reduces the negative effect of electoral incentives on the reception of refugees. The results suggest two potential drawbacks of elections: first, the heterogeneity behind the negative effect may explain why is difficult to reach an equal redistribution of refugees across and within countries. Second, the fear of losing popular support induces municipal governments to give up fiscal grants that could benefit the local economy.
Close
Jun 2017

Fiscal rules and the selection of politicians: evidence from Italian municipalities

AWARD

Winner of the EEA Young Economist Award at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the European Economic Association – Motivation letter here

Many countries have recently introduced fiscal rules to constrain governments’ fiscal policies and action. Despite the wide adoption, there is little evidence on the consequences of fiscal rules for the quality of government. I use data from Italia...
More
Many countries have recently introduced fiscal rules to constrain governments’ fiscal policies and action. Despite the wide adoption, there is little evidence on the consequences of fiscal rules for the quality of government. I use data from Italian municipalities to study how fiscal rules affect the selection of politicians. In 1999, the Italian government applied fiscal rules to all municipalities, and in 2001 it removed them for municipalities with less than 5000 inhabitants. Using a Difference-in-Discontinuity (Diff-in-Disc) design, which enables control for an institutionally mandated increase in the wage paid to politicians at the 5000-inhabitant threshold, I provide the following empirical evidence: 1) fiscal rules negatively affect the quality of politicians, and in particular their level of education; 2) consistent with the idea that competent individuals enter politics if they are given enough discretion, the effect is driven by municipalities with low deficits; 3) fiscal rules offset the positive effect of the wage increase on the selection of politicians.
Close
Jun 2017

Do national political parties matter? Evidence from Italian municipalities 

Recently several countries have experienced a drop in popularity of national political parties, accompanied by the success of independent movements (e.g. Civic Lists in Italy). I exploit the success of Civic Lists in Italian municipalities and use th...
More
Recently several countries have experienced a drop in popularity of national political parties, accompanied by the success of independent movements (e.g. Civic Lists in Italy). I exploit the success of Civic Lists in Italian municipalities and use them as a comparison group for party-affiliated politicians, to test whether national parties affect fiscal discipline. In particular, using a Regression Discontinuity Design (RDD), I show that party-affiliated mayors are more fiscally responsible: they run lower deficits, accumulate less debt and reduce expenditures. The effect is significant only for municipalities not constrained by fiscal rules. This suggests that national parties act as a substitute for fiscal rules in constraining politicians. Besides that, I provide evidence that the discipline of party-affiliated politicians is linked to better career prospects: party-affiliated mayors have a higher probability of being re-elected and better chances of being promoted to higher levels of government. Finally, the results are not driven by political orientation, alignment with the central government, the presence of criminal organisations nor by unobserved political ability.
Close
May 2018

Manager or politician? The effect of local fiscal autonomy on political selection 

With

M. Bordignon and G. Turati

In a model of politics with different types of politicians, following a tax decentralisation reform, politicians with high administrative skills are elected in rich municipalities and politicians with high political skills are elected in poor municip...
More
In a model of politics with different types of politicians, following a tax decentralisation reform, politicians with high administrative skills are elected in rich municipalities and politicians with high political skills are elected in poor municipalities. As a result, voter welfare increases only, or mainly, in rich municipalities. These results provide a different rationale for the observed poor performance of local governments largely financed by grants. We test these predictions by exploiting the decentralisation reforms in Italy in the 90s. These reforms introduced the direct election of the mayor and new autonomous tax tools, that affected differently rich and poor municipalities because of the differences in their tax bases. Results support our predictions and are robust to several alternative stories.
Close
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Current teaching

Lecturer
University of Warwick, Department of Economics
Senior Tutor
University of Warwick, Department of Economics
Teaching Assistant
Warwick Business School
Teaching Assistant
University of Warwick, Department of Economics

Past teaching

Teaching Assistant
University of Warwick, Department of Economics
Teaching Assistant
University of Warwick, Department of Economics
2016-2017
Introduction to statistics and Stata
Teaching Assistant
Warwick Business School
2014-2016
Econometrics
Teaching Assistant
Warwick Economics Summer School

Office hours:

Advice and feedback hours: Monday 3-4pm; Tuesday 3-4pm

Office: S0.62, Social Science Building, Department of Economics, University of Warwick

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I recently obtained my PhD from the Department of Economics of the University of Warwick. From September 2018, I will be working at the Barcelona Institute of Economics (IEB, Universitat de Barcelona) as postdoctoral research fellow.

I am an applied economist, working on topics in the areas of political economy, public economics, economics of migration and applied econometrics.

I am affiliated to the Political Economy and Public Economics Warwick research group.

references

Mirko Draca – University of Warwick

Ben Lockwood – University of Warwick

Fernanda Brollo – University of Warwick

Jeremy Smith – University of Warwick

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

working paper

May 2018

Not welcome anymore: the effect of electoral incentives on the reception of refugees

Do electoral incentives affect immigration policy decisions? I study this question in the setting of Italian municipalities making decisions about the reception of refugees. The localized control of the reception policy (SPRAR), combined with the exo...
More
Do electoral incentives affect immigration policy decisions? I study this question in the setting of Italian municipalities making decisions about the reception of refugees. The localized control of the reception policy (SPRAR), combined with the exogenous timing of policy decisions and staggered elections, enables me to study the effect of electoral incentives on the reception of refugees. Although municipalities receive substantial fiscal grants from the central government for hosting refugees, electoral incentives reduce the probability of opening a refugee reception centre by 24 per cent. The effect is driven by municipalities in which voters overestimate the presence of migrants, and by municipalities with higher shares of extreme-right voters, and migrants. Conversely, political competition reduces the negative effect of electoral incentives on the reception of refugees. The results suggest two potential drawbacks of elections: first, the heterogeneity behind the negative effect may explain why is difficult to reach an equal redistribution of refugees across and within countries. Second, the fear of losing popular support induces municipal governments to give up fiscal grants that could benefit the local economy.
Close
Jun 2017

Fiscal rules and the selection of politicians: evidence from Italian municipalities

AWARD

Winner of the EEA Young Economist Award at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the European Economic Association – Motivation letter here

Many countries have recently introduced fiscal rules to constrain governments’ fiscal policies and action. Despite the wide adoption, there is little evidence on the consequences of fiscal rules for the quality of government. I use data from Italia...
More
Many countries have recently introduced fiscal rules to constrain governments’ fiscal policies and action. Despite the wide adoption, there is little evidence on the consequences of fiscal rules for the quality of government. I use data from Italian municipalities to study how fiscal rules affect the selection of politicians. In 1999, the Italian government applied fiscal rules to all municipalities, and in 2001 it removed them for municipalities with less than 5000 inhabitants. Using a Difference-in-Discontinuity (Diff-in-Disc) design, which enables control for an institutionally mandated increase in the wage paid to politicians at the 5000-inhabitant threshold, I provide the following empirical evidence: 1) fiscal rules negatively affect the quality of politicians, and in particular their level of education; 2) consistent with the idea that competent individuals enter politics if they are given enough discretion, the effect is driven by municipalities with low deficits; 3) fiscal rules offset the positive effect of the wage increase on the selection of politicians.
Close
Jun 2017

Do national political parties matter? Evidence from Italian municipalities 

Recently several countries have experienced a drop in popularity of national political parties, accompanied by the success of independent movements (e.g. Civic Lists in Italy). I exploit the success of Civic Lists in Italian municipalities and use th...
More
Recently several countries have experienced a drop in popularity of national political parties, accompanied by the success of independent movements (e.g. Civic Lists in Italy). I exploit the success of Civic Lists in Italian municipalities and use them as a comparison group for party-affiliated politicians, to test whether national parties affect fiscal discipline. In particular, using a Regression Discontinuity Design (RDD), I show that party-affiliated mayors are more fiscally responsible: they run lower deficits, accumulate less debt and reduce expenditures. The effect is significant only for municipalities not constrained by fiscal rules. This suggests that national parties act as a substitute for fiscal rules in constraining politicians. Besides that, I provide evidence that the discipline of party-affiliated politicians is linked to better career prospects: party-affiliated mayors have a higher probability of being re-elected and better chances of being promoted to higher levels of government. Finally, the results are not driven by political orientation, alignment with the central government, the presence of criminal organisations nor by unobserved political ability.
Close
May 2018

Manager or politician? The effect of local fiscal autonomy on political selection 

With

M. Bordignon and G. Turati

In a model of politics with different types of politicians, following a tax decentralisation reform, politicians with high administrative skills are elected in rich municipalities and politicians with high political skills are elected in poor municip...
More
In a model of politics with different types of politicians, following a tax decentralisation reform, politicians with high administrative skills are elected in rich municipalities and politicians with high political skills are elected in poor municipalities. As a result, voter welfare increases only, or mainly, in rich municipalities. These results provide a different rationale for the observed poor performance of local governments largely financed by grants. We test these predictions by exploiting the decentralisation reforms in Italy in the 90s. These reforms introduced the direct election of the mayor and new autonomous tax tools, that affected differently rich and poor municipalities because of the differences in their tax bases. Results support our predictions and are robust to several alternative stories.
Close
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Current teaching

Lecturer
University of Warwick, Department of Economics
Senior Tutor
University of Warwick, Department of Economics
Teaching Assistant
Warwick Business School
Teaching Assistant
University of Warwick, Department of Economics

Past teaching

Teaching Assistant
University of Warwick, Department of Economics
Teaching Assistant
University of Warwick, Department of Economics
2016-2017
Introduction to statistics and Stata
Teaching Assistant
Warwick Business School
2014-2016
Econometrics
Teaching Assistant
Warwick Economics Summer School

Office hours:

Advice and feedback hours: Monday 3-4pm; Tuesday 3-4pm

Office: S0.62, Social Science Building, Department of Economics, University of Warwick

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I recently obtained my PhD from the Department of Economics of the University of Warwick. From September 2018, I will be working at the Barcelona Institute of Economics (IEB, Universitat de Barcelona) as postdoctoral research fellow.

I am an applied economist, working on topics in the areas of political economy, public economics, economics of migration and applied econometrics.

I am affiliated to the Political Economy and Public Economics Warwick research group.

references

Mirko Draca – University of Warwick

Ben Lockwood – University of Warwick

Fernanda Brollo – University of Warwick

Jeremy Smith – University of Warwick