Journal Articles

Work in Progress

Working for Democracy. Poll Officers and the Turnout Gender Gap (with Toni Rodon). Draft

The turnout gender gap in periods of early democratization has been a matter of scholarly interest for years. In the wake of female enfranchisement, why is that women participated at lower rates in the elections than men? Against the backdrop of existing explanations, we suggest that being exposed to the functioning of elections can facilitate the closing of the gender turnout gap. Learning how elections work represents a political socialization experience that can counteract previous biases. Using the context of the Spanish Second Republic as a unique case-study (1931-1936), we test this argument by exploiting a lottery that assigned some citizens—men and women—to act as polling officers in 1933, the year in which women were first allowed to vote and serve as election officials. By building and exploiting a panel with individual-and contextual-level information, we show that women randomly selected in 1933 to act as polling officers were as likely to participate in the subsequent election than men. The analysis suggests that this mainly occurred because randomly selected women were more reactive to mobilization strategies by parties and trade unions. Our findings are important as they highlight the potential benefits of exposure to election engineering among groups less engaged with democracy.

Working Paper available under request

Democratization is Calling: The Political Consequences of Telephone Networks (with Francesc Amat). Draft

New communication technologies have important economic and political consequences. The availability of a new communication technology can become a weapon in hands of elites to obtain larger shares of political power ―either through coercion or mobilization but also a powerful resource for new challenger parties. In this paper we explore the political consequences of telephone network expansion in a semi-autocratic regime; we focus in Catalonia in the 1901-1923 period. We analyze the political consequences of a new public telephone network through a diff-in-diff identification strategy based on the timing and characteristics of telephones at the municipality-level. We also exploit distances to the existing private networks to exogeneize telephone extension and to test the robustness of our findings. Our main results show that new challenger parties directly benefited from the extension of telephone networks and reduced support rates for status quo elite parties. The heterogeneous effects of telephone extensions point out to a double dynamic of (i) elite replacement of status quo elites by new economic elites and (ii) voters' mobilization associated with telephone expansions among left-wing parties. Our findings contribute to better understanding the political consequences of new communication technologies in semi-autocratic contexts, where new political parties are as interested in advancing their position as to erode the influence capacity of entrenched status quo elites.

Working paper version here

Bank Failures and Elite Democratic Consent: An Exploration with Individual Panel Data (with Francesc Amat & Enrique Jorge-Sotelo).

Do economic shocks influence elite democratic attitudes and commitment? Elites play a crucial role in shaping democratization processes and their consent is oftentimes thought of as a necessary condition to consolidate democratic political institutions (Acemoglu & Robinson, 2006; Boix, 2003). Yet, this theory has never been tested at the micro-level with individual data. In this paper we exploit the failure of a large bank in Catalonia in 1931 to assess the impact in democratic support held by individuals exposed and unexposed to this financial shock. We use a novel individual-level database that assembles the amounts lost by each individual depositor of the bank, and then we match individuals to their electoral turnout behavior in different elections from individual voting roll calls. We specially focus on the last elections before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War to capture support for democracy because in this election elites were divided and part of the political parties boycotted the elections, hence making turnout a \textit{de facto} signal of support for democracy. This unique setting allows us to test whether economic interests are indeed influential on elites’ democratic consent at the individual-level. The individual panel structure of the data allows the inclusion of individual FEs and a difference-in-difference identification strategy that exploits individuals’ differential turnout rates across several elections. Preliminary results indicate that, as expected, individuals exposed to financial losses were less likely to turnout in the last elections before the Spanish Civil War. We interpret this differential abstention rates among individuals exposed to the bank collapse as evidence of a loss in democratic consent of these individuals. To explore further the mechanism, we plan to match the individual depositors lists and the individual voting roll calls with individual registers of political associations and clubs. We show that the differential abstention rates among depositors exposed to the bank collapse are driven by individual members of associations and clubs that explicitly supported the boycott of the last democratic elections. Overall, we provide the first ever individual-level evidence from the interwar period that shows that individual elites’ exposure to financial shocks during the 1930s caused the abandonment of individual democratic consent.

Paper available upon request

Intra-Elite Competition and Electoral Fraud

Work in Progress

Local Leaders at the Dusk of Autocracy (with Albert Falcó-Gimeno & Jordi Muñoz).

Work in Progress 



Reports & Published Working Papers

Briefing. Based on the DIPLOCAT Digital Talk (8 September 2020)
Report. Initial draft commissioned by ESADE

Consultancy Projects

Project commissioned by Entitats Catalanes d'Acció Social (ECAS) and Col·lectiu Indrets. 
Project commissioned by UTILO S.L. and Càtedra de Serveis Socials (UVic)
Project commissioned by ESADE and Departament de la Presidència (Generalitat de Catalunya).