New Book: "Incentives to Pander: How Politicians Use Corporate Welfare for Political Gain" by Prof. Edmund Malesky and Prof. Nathan Jensen

May 30, 2018

Congratulations to Prof. Eddy Malesky on the publication of his newest book, Incentives to Pander: How Politicians Use Corporate Welfare for Political Gain. In this book, along with co-author Nathan M. Jensen of the University of Texas-Austin, Malesky uses rigorous data analysis to examine cases of politicians using their control over fiscal policy to create and maintain popular as well as corporate support. Often, this short-term gain leads to long-term challenges for affected communities. By critically examining the mechanisms that sustain these incentives, Jensen and Malesky provide valuable insight that can be used by voters to bring about policy changes.

The book is available at multiple outlets, including Cambridge University Press, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. Watch a brief video about the book on Vimeo or by scrolling down this page.

Edmund Malesky is a professor of political science at Duke University and a renowned specialist on Vietnam and Southeast Asia. He is a founder of the Southeast Asia Research Group (SEAREG) and serves on the organization's board of directors. His current research explores questions in three primary areas: authoritarian political institutions; the political influence of foreign and multinational corporations on a country's domestic polity; and the interaction of political institutions, private business associations, and formalization.

Nathan M. Jensen is a professor in the department of government at the University of Texas-Austin. His eclectic array of research interests include government economic development strategies, firm non-market strategies and business-government relations, the politics of oil and natural resources, political risk in emerging markets, trade policy, and international institutions.

What reviewers are saying:
"The puzzle of investment incentives like tax breaks and regulatory exemptions is that although they are generally inefficient, governments around the world - from Kansas to Vietnam - use them to attract investors. In this provocative and wide-ranging book, Jensen and Malesky show that politicians choose these policies because they reap political benefits from doing so. By identifying the political logic that drives inefficient policies, this book reveals how citizens may press for better policymaking." ―Thomas Pepinsky, Associate Professor, Department of Government, Cornell University

From the publisher: Policies targeting individual companies for economic development incentives, such as tax holidays and abatements, are generally seen as inefficient, economically costly, and distortionary. Despite this evidence, politicians still choose to use these policies to claim credit for attracting investment. Thus, while fiscal incentives are economically inefficient, they pose an effective pandering strategy for politicians. Using original surveys of voters in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom as well as data on incentive use by politicians in the US, Vietnam and Russia, this book provides compelling evidence for the use of fiscal incentives for political gain and shows how such pandering appears to be associated with growing economic inequality. As national and subnational governments surrender valuable tax revenue to attract businesses in the vain hope of long-term economic growth, they are left with fiscal shortfalls that have been filled through regressive sales taxes, police fines and penalties, and cuts to public education.

Incentives from Kindea Labs on Vimeo.