Theses Doctoral

Empirical Essays on the Political Economy of Public Finance and Social Policy

Hemker, Johannes Zacharias

This dissertation comprises three empirical essays in political economy. The first essay analyzes the implementation of a French social program by subnational governments following a decentralization reform. Using program implementation data, it shows that local political environments strongly influence implementation decisions after decentralization, and that decentralization results in an overall tightening of benefits. The second essay reports the results of a conjoint field experiment involving German welfare offices. Using random assignment of cues about ethnicity and other characteristics in requests to welfare offices, it is shown that putative non-German applicants receive replies at the same rate as putative Germans, but are disadvantaged in terms of the substantive quality of responses. This suggests that minority populations do experience discrimination when attempting to access social benefits. Finally, the third essay uses micro-level voter file data from Illinois to measure whether property tax limitations reduce participation in local elections. In contrast with prior research, results from panel regressions with matching adjustments suggest that tax limitations do not affect political participation negatively. Together, these essays contribute to our understanding of public finance and social policy in contexts characterized by multi-level governance.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Political Science
Thesis Advisors
Phillips, Justin H.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
March 23, 2016