Past Events

February 5, 2014

The retrospective theory of political accountability provides the most compelling account we have of the relationship between leaders and citizens in democratic political systems. But retrospective voting is harder than it looks. Achen and Bartels analyze the vagaries of retrospective voting and their implications for the effectiveness of democratic accountability, both in the abstract and in the specific case of economic voting in U.S. presidential elections. They find that American voters strongly reward or punish incumbent presidents for income gains or losses in the months immediately preceding an election, but forget or ignore most of the incumbent government’s economic performance.

February 3, 2014

We examine how commodity price shocks experienced by rural producers affect the drug trade in Mexico. Our analysis exploits exogenous movements in the Mexican maize price stemming from weather conditions in U.S. maize-growing regions, as well as export flows of other major maize producers. Using data on over 2200 municipios spanning 1990-2010, we show that lower prices differentially increased the cultivation of both marijuana and opium poppies in municipios more climatically suited to growing maize. This increase was accompanied by differentially lower rural wages, suggesting that households planted more drug crops in response to the decreased income generating potential of maize farming.

January 27, 2014

Drawing on both qualitative ethnographic fieldwork and experimental evidence from a survey using Facebook social networks, this paper examines collective action among first movers and their networks during the Arab Spring protests in Morocco. It finds that the regime’s
efforts to repress political dissidents encouraged participation in or support for new protests.

January 22, 2014

Individuals with higher incomes are more likely to identify as Republicans. Yet, in most settings it is dicult to distinguish the eect of income from closely related variables such as education, occupation and family background. I use changes in income brought about by winning a daily lottery game to isolate the effect of income on partisanship for over 1,900 registered voters.

January 17, 2014



Professor Levi's talk is drawn from the book co-authored with John Ahlquist and recently published by Princeton University Press.  Details about the book can be found here: .  There is no paper to circulate.