Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Night-time brilliance lights up political patronage

Date:
July 9, 2014
Source:
Monash University
Summary:
In some countries, a region that can lay claim to being the birthplace of a country's political leader is likely to get preferential treatment -- bias that shines out when the intensity of night lights is compared with that in other regions. Using information on the birthplaces of political leaders in 126 countries, and satellite data on night-time light intensity from 38,427 subnational regions from 1992-2009, researchers established a strong relationship between light intensity and regional GDP.

In some countries, a region that can lay claim to being the birthplace of a country's political leader is likely to get preferential treatment -- bias that shines out when the intensity of night lights is compared with that in other regions.

This new approach to pinpointing regional favoritism has been developed by researchers from Monash University and the University of St Gallen. Using information on the birthplaces of political leaders in 126 countries, and satellite data on night-time light intensity from 38,427 subnational regions from 1992-2009, they established a strong relationship between light intensity and regional GDP.

Dr Paul Raschky from the Monash Centre for Development Economics and Sustainability said previous research had confirmed the connection between economic activity and light generated at night. But relating night-time light intensity to information about the birthplaces of politicians gave new insights into what determines regional favoritism.

"Our results suggest that being the leader's birthplace increases night-time light intensity and regional GDP by around four and one per cent respectively," Dr Raschky said.

Thelarge sample of countries in the study included both democracies and autocracies.

Zaire's former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko provided an extreme example of the phenomenon, Dr Raschky said. Mobutu had bank accounts and properties all over the world, but spent his money most lavishly in his remote hometown of Gbadolite.

"Mobutu built a huge palace complex costing millions of dollars, luxury guesthouses, an airport capable of handling Concords, and had the country's best supply of water, electricity and medical services," Dr Raschky said.

"The satellite imagery over the Gbadolite region clearly showed the rise of Mobutu, starting off with very little night-time light intensity through to extremely high levels during his reign, then easing off once he was no longer in power."

Similar effects were noted elsewhere, with any benefits gained by favored regions unlikely to be sustained beyond a change in government. Inevitably, such favoritism was most common in countries with weak political institutions and poorly educated citizens.

"Sound political institutions and education are socially desirable and help keep political leaders accountable," Dr Raschky said.

"We demonstrate their importance in constraining regional favoritism. The enforcement of term limits also seems to be a crucial aspect."

The researchers also looked at the effect of regional favoritism on the distribution of foreign aid and oil rents.

"Our findings suggest that donor agencies need to be very cautious when supporting countries with authoritarian leaders because such leaders mainly use foreign aid to the benefit of themselves, their family and clan members, and others living in their stronghold," Dr Raschky said.

He hopes his new approach will aid future research on regional favoritism and the political economy of regional development.

The research has been published in Quarterly Journal of Economics.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Monash University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R. Hodler, P. A. Raschky. Regional Favoritism. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2014; 129 (2): 995 DOI: 10.1093/qje/qju004

Cite This Page:

Monash University. "Night-time brilliance lights up political patronage." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140709105006.htm>.
Monash University. (2014, July 9). Night-time brilliance lights up political patronage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140709105006.htm
Monash University. "Night-time brilliance lights up political patronage." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140709105006.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) A new company allows customers to make copies of keys by simply uploading a couple of photos. But could it also be great for thieves? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A SpaceX Rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, carrying a custom-built 3-D printer into space. NASA envisions astronauts one day using the printer to make their own spare parts. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Inside London's Massive Sewer Tunnel Project

Inside London's Massive Sewer Tunnel Project

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Billions of dollars are being spent on a massive super sewer to take away London's vast output of waste, which is endangering the River Thames. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Accompanied by drumbeats, wearing costumes and carrying signs, thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Manhattan and other cities around the world on Sunday to urge policy makers to take action on climate change. (Sept. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins