In_equality Colloquium: "Underrepresentation of the Poor in Budgeting Decisions: How Far Does It Exist, and Can It Be Addressed?"

Tuesday, 11. June 2024
11:45 - 13:15

Y213 and Online

Cluster of Excellence "The Politics of Inequality"

Mazen Hassan

This event is part of an event series „In_equality Colloquium“.

Against the backdrop of global economic slowdown and rising inflation, economic inequality is likely to increase. Individuals on lower incomes, residing in authoritarian countries, are expected to be the most affected because their economic grievances are coupled with political underrepresentation of their demands. In this study – which focuses on Egypt – we ask two questions. First, whether legislators are more responsive to constituency demands if they come from a better-off region of their constituency – making grievances of poorer constituents politically underrepresented. To answer this question, we sent out messages containing the same public service demand to two randomly selected samples of legislators while varying the socio-economic status of the sender. The dependent variable is the percentage of legislators responding to the message in each treatment group. The second question examines whether providing expert data on unequal distribution of resources would sway legislators to take decisions to reduce inequity. Since a reliable poverty/inequality map does not exist in Egypt, we use Google maps data to geotag ‘point of interest’ (POI) of three institutions central in reducing structural inequality: schools, health care clinics/hospitals, and subsidized food outlets. At a second stage, we aim to provide a sample of legislators with an option to access the mapping data we produce. The dependent variables are (a) how far they would access the data sent to them, and (b) whether they would make use of such data in their interventions in parliament.

Mazen Hassan is Professor at the Political Science Department of the University of Cairo, Egypt. His research interests include electoral systems, party systems, democratic transitions, political economy, as well as lab, survey and field experiments explaining social behavior. In addition to numerous journal articles, he has co-authored two books on the Egyptian political system in the transitional period following the 2011 revolution. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Oxford, and a MA in Political Science from the University of Warwick.

Link for online participation