NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Gustavo Bobonis

Department of Economics
University of Toronto
150 St. George St., Room 304
Toronto, Ontario
M5S 3G7, Canada

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org

NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2017Vulnerability and Clientelism
with Paul Gertler, Marco Gonzalez-Navarro, Simeon Nichter: w23589
Political clientelism is often deemed to undermine democratic accountability and representation. This study argues that economic vulnerability causes citizens to participate in clientelism. We test this hypothesis with a randomized control trial that reduced household vulnerability through a development intervention: constructing residential water cisterns in drought-prone areas of Northeast Brazil. This exogenous reduction in vulnerability significantly decreased requests for private benefits from local politicians, especially by citizens likely to be involved in clientelist relationships. We also link program beneficiaries to granular voting outcomes, and show that this reduction in vulnerability decreased votes for incumbent mayors, who typically have more resources to engage in cliente...
December 2016Bombs and Babies: US Navy Bombing Activity and Infant Health in Vieques, Puerto Rico
with Mark Stabile, Leonardo Tovar: w22909
We study the relationship between in utero exposure to military exercises and children’s early-life health outcomes in a no-war zone. This allows us to document non-economic impacts of military activity on neonatal health outcomes. We combine monthly data on tonnage of ordnance in the context of naval exercises in Vieques, Puerto Rico, with the universe of births in Puerto Rico between 1990 and 2000; studying this setting is useful because these exercises have no negative consequences for local economic activity. We find that a one standard deviation increase in exposure to bombing activity leads to a three per thousand point (70 percent) increase in extremely premature births; a three to seven per thousand point – 34 to 77 percent – increase in the incidence of congenital anomalies; and a...
 
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