Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program



English (en)

Date of Award

Spring 4-24-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Sebastian Galiani


“Essays on Political Economy” explores the connections between politics and economics in several different contexts. By politics, or more precisely the political game, I mean the social procedures through which collective decisions are made. By economics I mean the economic game once collective decisions have already been selected. Of particular interest are the preferences about collective decisions among agents induced by the economic game. Some of the political institutions for selecting public policies can be easily changed and, hence, should be treated themselves as endogenous collective decisions. Others are very robust. I will refer to the later group as the political structure of society. Similarly, parts of the rules of the economic game do not significantly depend on collective decisions. I will denote them, the economic structure of society. The underlying premise of the thesis is simple. Collective decisions are endogenous outcomes that depend on the form and intensity of social conflict. In turn, the economic and political structure of society shapes the form and intensity of social conflict. The main objective is to improve the understanding of the deep economic and political determinants of collective decisions. In political economy more than in any other field, it is arbitrary to draw a line between endogenous and exogenous variables. In an effort to minimize this issue, the essays of this thesis rely on formal game theoretic models. Thus, the distinction between endogenous and exogenous variables in each model is always clear and simple to detect. The equilibrium of the model connects the endogenous collective decisions with the exogenous economic and political structure. Sometimes I also go beyond the positive equilibrium-comparative statics analysis and I perform a normative cost-benefit analysis with respect to the exogenous political structure. For such cases, the political structure is interpreted as a long run norm such as a constitution, and the implicit assumption is that the norm is selected to maximize some welfare criteria.


Permanent URL:

Included in

Economics Commons