Pablo Querubin, Village Social Network Structures and Electoral Competition

Pablo Querubin of New York University’s Department of Politics
Assistant Professor, NYU Department of Politics

Tuesday, February 27th
12:00 – 1:30
Gibson S296
Co-sponsored with the Global Development Seminar


A broad literature in political science and economic studies how social structure shapes political competition and the incentives of politicians to provide public goods. Examples include studies on the role of ethnic and religious fragmentation. However, in some societies, political cleavages and competition involve actors such as clans and extended families that are often hard to identify and study systematically.

In this paper, we use a 20 million person dataset, allowing us to reconstruct intermarriage networks for over 15,000 villages in 709 municipalities in the Philippines. We use a community detection algorithm to identify the set of major extended families in every village. Using census data, we then show that public goods provision is higher in relatively more fragmented villages; that is, in villages featuring several rather than a handful of competing families. We then argue that this correlation is partly explained by higher electoral/political competition and a more even distribution of political influence in fragmented villages. In more fragmented villages, win margins are lower, a larger number of individuals run for public office and voters mention a larger set of politically influential individuals in their community.