Role of political institutions and networks in agricultural policies : A quantitative assessment

The seminal papers of Persson and Tabellini have brought increasing interest in analyzing the effects of formal political institutions on economic policy choices. In contrast, the role of participatory policy processes in formulating efficient policies in developing countries has not been analyzed comprehensively yet. In both areas of research, systematic analyses are missing which aim at understanding the effect of formal and informal institutions on agricultural policy. Therefore, this thesis focuses on investigating the influence of formal and informal political institutions on agricultural policy choices. Electoral systems and forms of government are chosen as examples of formal institutions, political communication networks and legislative norms are considered as informal determinants of political decisions. In order to provide for a comprehensive analysis, theoretical hypotheses are derived from sound models of micro-political behavior and the empirical analyses use innovative econometric approaches. In summary, this cumulative thesis encompasses five contributions which show that formal and informal political institutions influence agricultural policy significantly. The first three contributions provide insights on the influence of constitutional rules on agricultural protection using time-series cross-section data on the national rate of assistance to agriculture, political institutions and standard polit-economic determinants of protectionism. The last two contributions focus on modeling participatory policy processes and determinants of political communication networks quantitatively. A network-based theoretical model of legislative decision-making and empirical data on agricultural policy positions and the communication network among influential actors in Malawi are used.


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