DP11126 One Mandarin Benefits the Whole Clan: Hometown Favoritism in an Authoritarian Regime

Author(s): Quoc-Anh Do, Kieu-Trang Nguyen, Anh Tran
Publication Date: February 2016
Keyword(s): authoritarian regime, distributive politics, favoritism, hometown, infrastructure, patronage, political connection
JEL(s): D72, H72, O12
Programme Areas: Public Economics, Development Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=11126

We study patronage politics in authoritarian Vietnam, using an exhaustive panel of 603 ranking officials from 2000 to 2010 to estimate their promotions' impact on infrastructure in their hometowns of patrilineal ancestry. Native officials' promotions lead to a broad range of hometown infrastructure improvement. Hometown favoritism is pervasive across all ranks, even among officials without budget authority, except among elected legislators. Favors are narrowly targeted towards small communes that have no political power, and are strengthened with bad local governance and strong local family values. The evidence suggests a likely motive of social preferences for hometown.