Filipe R. Campante on the political economy consequences of China’s export slowdown
WIDER Seminar Series
Filipe R. Campante presents at the WIDER Seminar Series on 9 November. Kindly note that the seminar takes place on Tuesday at 17:00.
We study how adverse economic shocks influence political outcomes in authoritarian regimes in strong states, by examining the 2013-2015 export slowdown in China. We exploit detailed customs data and the variation they reveal about Chinese prefectures’ underlying exposure to the global trade slowdown, in order to implement a shift-share instrumental variables strategy. Prefectures that experienced a more severe export slowdown witnessed a significant increase in incidents of labor strikes. This was accompanied by a heightened emphasis in such prefectures on upholding domestic stability, as evidenced from: (i) textual analysis measures we constructed from official annual work reports using machine-learning algorithms; and (ii) data we gathered on local fiscal expenditures channelled towards public security uses and social spending. The central government was subsequently more likely to replace the party secretary in prefectures that saw a high level of “excess strikes”, above what could be predicted from the observed export slowdown, suggesting that local leaders were held to account on yardsticks related to political stability.
Link to the paper: https://www.nber.org/papers/w25925
About the speaker
Filipe R. Campante is Bloomberg Distinguished Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins University (SAIS and Department of Economics). He is interested in political economy, development economics, and urban/regional issues. His research looks at what constrains politicians and policy makers beyond formal checks and balances: cultural norms, institutions, media, political protest. In particular, it has focused on how these informal constraints are affected by the spatial distribution of people and economic activity, by access to information, by the evolution of cultural norms, and by the structure of the economy. He tries to answer these aggregate questions — what happens to countries or states or cities — with an applied microeconomic approach.
Campante’s work has appeared in leading academic journals such as the American Economic Review and the Quarterly Journal of Economics, among others. It has also received multiple mentions in outlets such as the New York Times, Science, NPR, Washington Post, The Economist, Los Angeles Times, Foreign Affairs, Politico, among others. Campante is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), and was Assistant and Associate Professor of Public Policy at Harvard (2007-18). Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he holds a PhD from Harvard University, an MA from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, and a BA from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, all in economics.
WIDER Seminar Series
The WIDER Seminar Series showcases the latest research on key topics in development economics. It provides a forum for senior and early-career researchers, both inhouse and external, to present recent and ongoing work related to UNU-WIDER’s current work programme.
In addition to providing a forum for both academic debate and training, the series presents an opportunity for policy makers and others interested in development to learn about the latest research methods and findings.
In autumn 2021, the Seminar Series events take place on Wednesdays from 16:00–17:00. All those interested are invited to register and attend via Zoom.