Political Economy

The objective of the Political Economy of Human Capital (PEHC) program is to leverage causal inference using observational, administrative and experimental data to study human capital issues at the intersection of political economy, public policy and development. 

Through collaborative research, the PEHC program aims to identify the extent to which political institutions alter the quality of local public goods – from the structure of the economy, to the distribution of property rights – and if so, how: considering the impact of political institutions on human capital, the capacity of elected leaders to govern and the quality of deliberative democracy and inter-group relations. The PEHC faculty research can be organized around two themes: representation and the quality of local government, and affirmative action and human capital.

Representation and Quality of Local Government

Political selection and governance institutions are especially important in low-income democracies, where weak institutions impose limited constraints on the in-office behavior of elected leaders. The research in this area studies how formal and informal political institutions affect the nature and effectiveness of political representation, especially of marginalized groups, the competence of elected leaders and the quality of local governance.

Affirmative Action and Human Capital

Affirmative action remains a popular policy tool to redress social and economic inequalities in many countries around the world. The research in this area seeks to better understand the impacts of affirmative action in various sectors of politics and society in advancing the cause of representation and closing economic, political and social inequalities.

Research Highlights

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