Isolated Capital Cities, Accountability and Corruption: Evidence from US States

58 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2012

See all articles by Filipe R. Campante

Filipe R. Campante

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Quoc-Anh Do

Sciences Po - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 15, 2012

Abstract

We show that isolated capital cities are robustly associated with greater levels of corruption across US states. In particular, this is the case when we use the variation induced by the exogenous location of a state’s centroid to instrument for the concentration of population around the capital city. We then show that different mechanisms for holding state politicians accountable are also affected by the spatial distribution of population: newspapers provide greater coverage of state politics when their audiences are more concentrated around the capital, and voter turnout in state elections is greater in places that are closer to the capital. Consistent with lower accountability, there is also evidence that there is more money in state-level political campaigns in those states with isolated capitals. We find that the role of media accountability helps explain the connection between isolated capitals and corruption. In addition, we provide some evidence that this pattern is also associated with lower levels of public good spending and outcomes.

Keywords: Corruption, Accountability, Population Concentration, Capital Cities, US State Politics, Media, Turnout, Campaign Contributions, Public Good Provision

JEL Classification: D72, D73, L82, R12, R50

Suggested Citation

Campante, Filipe R. and Do, Quoc-Anh, Isolated Capital Cities, Accountability and Corruption: Evidence from US States (May 15, 2012). HKS Working Paper No. RWP12-016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2188588 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2188588

Filipe R. Campante (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-384-7958 (Phone)

Quoc-Anh Do

Sciences Po - Department of Economics ( email )

28 rue des Saints-Pères
Paris, 75007
France

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

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