The Curley Effect

38 Pages Posted: 17 May 2002 Last revised: 18 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 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.

Suggested Citation

Glaeser, Edward L. and Shleifer, Andrei, The Curley Effect (May 2002). NBER Working Paper No. w8942. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=312655

Edward L. Glaeser (Contact Author)

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Andrei Shleifer

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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