"Not so Disruptive after All: How Workplace Digitalization Affects Political Preferences", Working Paper 1063, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics. With Thomas Kürer and Nikolas Schöll New digital technologies are transforming workplaces, with unequal economic consequences depending on workers' skills. Does digitalization also cause divergence in political preferences? Using an innovative empirical approach combining individual-level panel data from the United Kingdom with a time-varying industry-level measure of digitalization, we first show that digitalization was economically beneficial for a majority of the labor force between 1997-2015. High-skilled workers, the winners of digitalization, did particularly well. Economic trajectories are mirrored in political preferences: Among high-skilled workers, exposure to digitalization increased voter turnout, support for the Conservatives, and support for the incumbent. An instrumental variable analysis, placebo tests and multiple robustness checks add confidence to a causal interpretation of the results. The findings complement the dominant narrative of the "revenge of the left-behind": While digitalization undoubtedly produces losers, there is a large and often neglected group of winners who react to technological change by supporting the status quo.
"Educated Politicians: Effects on Performance and Fiscal Policy" With Marta Curto Highly educated citizens are dramatically over-represented among politicians. Is this bias desirable, troubling or irrelevant? Recent studies argue that highly educated politicians perform better in office, but others find no effects. We advance a third possibility which is that education affects the preferences and beliefs of politicians, and leads them to pursue different goals and fiscal policies. Our empirical analysis is based on a novel dataset with information about the education, age and gender of elected local politicians in Spain and detailed economic and fiscal data collected between 2003 and 2011. Applying a Regression Discontinuity design, we find that when parties with more educated politicians win the election, municipalities have higher unemployment rates and do not perform better in other respects. Further analyses reveal that educated politicians are more fiscally conservative, spend less in capital investment, and prioritize different spending areas. Our results are consistent with the interpretation that more educated politicians are more fiscally conservative rather than with the claim that education is a proxy of quality. To conclude, we discuss how the elitism in the educational composition of governments can undermine political representation. Draft available on request
Gendered language in Political Communication: A Machine Learning Approach With Javier Beltrán, Alba Huidobro, Lluís Padró and Enrique Romero Do male and female politicians communicate with the public in different ways? And does the public address politicians differently depending on their gender? This paper analyses gender biases in political communication between elected politicians and citizens using a large corpus of text. We collected over 800.000 tweets written by or addressed to members of the Spanish national and regional Parliaments between December 2017 and June 2018. We apply Lasso logistic regression models to examine if politicians from different genders speak and are addressed by the public using different language. We find extensive evidence of gender biased political communication consistent with gender stereotypes. Male politicians are disproportionately more likely to use words related to politics, ideology, and infrastructure, while female politicians use more emotional language and words related to gender and social affairs. We also find evidence of gendered communication from citizens to politicians. Male politicians are addressed with stronger insults, while words disproportionately addressed at female politicians include mentions to their physical aspect (pretty, cute) and infantilizing words. Our evidence suggests that politicians far from being role models of gender equality help reproduce gender inequality by communicating in stereotypical ways and also that citizens treat female politicians unequally. Draft available on request
Who Lies in Politics?: Evidence from a survey of Spanish mayors (with Katharina Anna Janezic) Voters value honesty in politicians, but studying if some politicians exhibit more dishonest behaviors such as lying than others is challenging. We include a novel measure of lying in a survey administered to more than 800 mayors of Spanish municipalities larger than 2000 inhabitants. We find that educated politicians with no unemployment experience lie less, but we do not find differences across genders. Using a regression discontinuity design which leverages variation in the maximum salaries allowed to mayors depending on population thresholds, we find that higher salaries help attract more honest politicians. Draft available on request
WORK IN PROGRESS This list covers projects at different stages, if you are interested in knowing more, please send me an email.
On political elites:
Unemployment Experiences of Political Elites and their Social Policy Preferences (with Alba Huidobro)
Family structure and women political representation: From historical legacies to rapid change (with Ana Tur-Prats and Dídac Queralt)
How citizens discipline politicians to conform to gender stereotypes: Twitter evidence (with Javier Beltran, Gaël Le Mens and Niko Schöll)
On the politics of technological change
Technological change, trade, and preferences for redistribution: Experimental evidence (with Alex Kuo, Pepe Fernández-Albertos and Dulce Manzano)
Digitalization and political change in Germany (with Thomas Kurer and Niko Schöll)
The political legacies of violence: Evidence from the Spanish Civil War (with Laia Balcells, Elena Costas, Catherine de Vries and Hector Solaz)