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The Impact of Individual Wealth on Posterior Political Power

Rossi, Martin (2021): The Impact of Individual Wealth on Posterior Political Power.

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Abstract

I exploit a unique historical event to explore the causal relationship between individual wealth and posterior political power. Shortly after the foundation of Buenos Aires, plots of land in the outskirts of the city were randomly assigned to all heads of household that participated in the expedition. Using this random allocation of land as a source of exogenous variation on individuals’ wealth, I find that wealth causes political power. I also explore possible mechanisms and find support for the hypothesis that wealth signals (or improves) ability.

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