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Department of Economics, Stockholm University Research Papers in Economics, Department of Economics, Stockholm University

No 2011:22:
The Dual Policy in the Dual Economy - The Political Economy of Urban Bias in Dictatorial Regimes

Abdulaziz Shifa ()

Abstract: One of the most common policy obstacles in the global effort against poverty is what is termed as “urban bias” where rural residents, who constitute majority of the poor in the world, face systematic bias against their economic interests by their own governments. This paper develops a simple political economy model of urban bias in dictatorial regimes. Equilibrium outcomes relating policy outcomes with economic structure, political power, and other behavioral and structural variables are analyzed. The model shows that anti-agricultural biases can emerge in primarily agrarian societies even if there is no bias in political power between urban and rural citizens. Evidence from recent World Bank country level panel data on biases against/for agriculture provides support for the model’s prediction.

Keywords: Urban bias; rural poverty; dictatorship; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: D72; O17; O20; P48; R00; (follow links to similar papers)

24 pages, May 15, 2011

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