The Curley Effect

40 Pages Posted: 9 May 2002

See all articles by Edward L. Glaeser

Edward L. Glaeser

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Andrei Shleifer

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2, 2002

Abstract

James Michael Curley, a four-time mayor of Boston, used wasteful redistribution to his poor Irish constituents and incendiary rhetoric to encourage richer citizens to emigrate from Boston, thereby shaping the electorate in his favor. Boston as a consequence stagnated, but Curley kept winning elections. We present a model of the Curley effect, in which inefficient redistributive policies are sought not by interest groups protecting their rents, but by incumbent politicians trying to shape the electorate through emigration of their opponents or reinforcement of class identities. The model sheds light on ethnic politics in the United States and abroad, as well as on class politics in many countries including Britain.

JEL Classification: D70, D72, H4

Suggested Citation

Glaeser, Edward L. and Shleifer, Andrei, The Curley Effect (May 2, 2002). Harvard Institute of Economic Research Paper No. 1956. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=310585 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.310585

Edward L. Glaeser

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Andrei Shleifer (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

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