Zoom link: https://anu.zoom.us/j/95674924059
Around the world, populists have won elections on the strength of crowd-pleasing, but norm-defying, policy proposals. Although effective at mobilizing support at election time, these policies are often difficult to implement in practice because populists lack allies throughout the political system. Examining President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal “War on Drugs” in the Philippines, we find that mayors excluded from existing establishment patronage networks filled this critical implementation gap for the Duterte administration. Employing regression discontinuity and difference-in-differences approaches, we demonstrate that outsider mayors received 40 percent lower public works appropriations, and, in turn, executed Duterte’s drug war much more aggressively. Outsider-led municipalities had 40 percent more anti-drug incidents and 60 percent more extra-judicial killings by police. The results illustrate an important trade-off between patronage politics and corruption (politics-as-usual), and violent democratic backsliding.
About the presenter:
Renard Sexton studies conflict and development with a focus on local level violence and interventions intended to curb violence. His research covers insurgency, terrorism, social conflict around natural resources, and police crackdowns; he has regional expertise in Afghanistan, Southeast Asia and Andean Latin America. His research has been published in top scholarly journals, including the American Political Science Review and American Journal of Political Science. His policy pieces and commentary have been published by The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, International Crisis Group, Foreign Policy and other outlets. Before joining Emory, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University and Economics of Conflict fellow at the International Crisis Group.