Identity, Patronage, and Redistribution: Economic Inequality in Bolivia under Evo Morales

33 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2016 Last revised: 3 Jun 2017

Daniel L. Hicks

University of Oklahoma - Department of Economics

Beatriz Maldonado

College of Charleston - Department of Economics; College of Charleston - International and Intercultural Studies Program

Brian Piper

Research and Planning Consultants

Alejandra Rios

Universidad Católica Boliviana San Pablo

Date Written: November 2, 2016

Abstract

This paper investigates the extent to which the election of Evo Morales and the MAS party is associated with a redistribution of economic resources in favor of indigenous populations in Bolivia. We employ household surveys over the period 2000-2013 and a difference-in-differences framework to study changes in the income distribution. While the analysis period has been one of rapid economic expansion for Bolivia, we show that indigenous groups exhibit significantly higher than average income and expenditure growth in the post-election period, closing roughly one-quarter of the income gap with non-indigenous households. These benefits appear to accrue for most indigenous populations and we find no robust evidence of a preferential impact on any one specific indigenous group. We corroborate these findings with placebo tests and with estimates of economic activity from satellite measures of night-time lighting paired with census maps of ethnic composition.

Keywords: Evo Morales, Income Distribution, Bolivia, Indigenous Identity, Measurement, Satellite Night Lights

JEL Classification: O12, O54, H40, E01

Suggested Citation

Hicks, Daniel L. and Maldonado, Beatriz and Piper, Brian and Rios, Alejandra, Identity, Patronage, and Redistribution: Economic Inequality in Bolivia under Evo Morales (November 2, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2863265 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2863265

Daniel Lee Hicks (Contact Author)

University of Oklahoma - Department of Economics ( email )

729 Elm Avenue
Norman, OK 73019-2103
United States

Beatriz Maldonado

College of Charleston - Department of Economics ( email )

66 George St.
Charleston, SC South Carolina 29424
United States

College of Charleston - International and Intercultural Studies Program ( email )

66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424
United States

Brian Piper

Research and Planning Consultants ( email )

6300 La Calma Suite 170
Austin, TX 78752
United States
512-371-8014 (Phone)

Alejandra Rios

Universidad Católica Boliviana San Pablo ( email )

Ave 14 de Septiembre 2
La Paz 4807
Bolivia

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