Wedded to Prosperity? Informal Influence and Regional Favoritism

85 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2024

See all articles by Pietro Bomprezzi

Pietro Bomprezzi

Kiel Institute for the World Economy

Axel Dreher

Heidelberg University

Andreas Fuchs

Kiel Institute for the World Economy; University of Goettingen (Göttingen) - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration

Teresa Hailer

Heidelberg University

Andreas Kammerlander

University of Freiburg

Lennart C. Kaplan

University of Goettingen (Göttingen)

Silvia Marchesi

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Department of Economics, Management and Statistics (DEMS); Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Center for European Studies (CefES); University of Milan - Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano (LdA)

Tania Masi

University “G. d’Annunzio” Chieti Pescara

Charlotte Robert

Heidelberg University

Kerstin Unfried

Bernhard-Nocht-Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM)

Date Written: 2024

Abstract

We investigate the informal influence of political leaders’ spouses on the subnational allocation of foreign aid. Building new worldwide datasets on personal characteristics of political leaders and their spouses as well as on geocoded development aid projects (including new data on 19 Western donors), we examine whether those regions within recipient countries that include the birthplace of leaders’ spouses attract more aid during their partners’ time in office. Our findings for the 1990–2020 period suggest that regions including the birthplaces of political leaders’ spouses receive substantially more aid from European donors, the United States, and China. We find that more aid goes to spousal regions prior to elections and that developmental outcomes deteriorate rather than improve as a consequence. For Western aid but not for China, these results stand in some contrast to those for leader regions themselves. This suggests that aid from Western donors is directed from serving obvious political motives to promoting more hidden ones.

Keywords: informal influence, ODA, favouritism, birth regions, development, political economy

JEL Classification: D720, F350, O190, O470, P330, R110

Suggested Citation

Bomprezzi, Pietro and Dreher, Axel and Fuchs, Andreas and Fuchs, Andreas and Hailer, Teresa and Kammerlander, Andreas and Kaplan, Lennart C. and Marchesi, Silvia and Masi, Tania and Robert, Charlotte and Unfried, Kerstin, Wedded to Prosperity? Informal Influence and Regional Favoritism (2024). CESifo Working Paper No. 10969, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4748017 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4748017

Pietro Bomprezzi (Contact Author)

Kiel Institute for the World Economy ( email )

P.O. Box 4309
Kiel, Schleswig-Hosltein D-24100
Germany

Axel Dreher

Heidelberg University ( email )

Grabengasse 1
Heidelberg, 69117
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.axel-dreher.de

Andreas Fuchs

University of Goettingen (Göttingen) - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

Platz der Goettinger Sieben 3
Goettingen, 37073
Germany

Kiel Institute for the World Economy ( email )

Kiellinie 66
Kiel, Schleswig-Hosltein 24105
Germany

Teresa Hailer

Heidelberg University ( email )

Grabengasse 1
Heidelberg, 69117
Germany

Andreas Kammerlander

University of Freiburg ( email )

Fahnenbergplatz
Freiburg, D-79085
Germany

Lennart C. Kaplan

University of Goettingen (Göttingen) ( email )

Platz der Gottinger Sieben 3
Gottingen, D-37073
Germany

Silvia Marchesi

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Department of Economics, Management and Statistics (DEMS) ( email )

Piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo, 1
Milano, 20126
Italy
+39 02 64483057 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/ssilviamarchesi/home

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Center for European Studies (CefES)

University of Milan - Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano (LdA)

Via P. Amedeo 34
Milano, Mi 20122
Italy

Tania Masi

University “G. d’Annunzio” Chieti Pescara ( email )

Chieti
Italy

Charlotte Robert

Heidelberg University ( email )

Grabengasse 1
Heidelberg, 69117
Germany

Kerstin Unfried

Bernhard-Nocht-Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM) ( email )

Hamburg
Germany

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