Working Papers

The Reversal of the Mission: The Influence of Religious Leaders on Sociopolitical Attitudes  

[Latest Draft] [SSRN] [2023 Wicksell Prize, European Public Choice Society]

This paper explores how religious leaders influence their communities' religious and political attitudes. To do this, I build a novel dataset containing the universe of Catholic priests appointed to their parishes in rural Spain between 2000 and 2019. I leverage the quasi-natural experiment by which foreign priests are allocated to parishes and use a staggered difference-in-differences design to identify their influence on their communities. I show that foreign-born priests, whom I find more devoted to their cause, are effective at revitalizing local religiosity, measured by an increase in Catholic marriages and fertility. They also influence local political opinions towards Catholic-aligned positions. However, such extra influence prevents parishioners from challenging the old status quo, measured by the higher maintenance of dictatorial honors, limiting social progress. These findings highlight that religious leaders have a considerable impact on sociopolitical attitudes.

Reverse Revolving Doors:  The Influence of Interest Groups on Legislative Voting, with Josep Amer-Mestre

[Latest Draft] [SSRN] [Coverage: Promarket]

This paper investigates to which extent legislators with a background in an interest group (i.e., reverse revolvers) influence their peers' voting behavior. To answer this question, we collect novel data containing the universe of votes cast at the European Parliament between 2004 and 2019 and characterize legislators by their former working experience. We leverage a natural experiment by which seats at the European Parliament are assigned alphabetically to provide a causal estimation. We find that seating beside a reverse revolver when the motion is relevant to her interest group increases the co-voting probability by 2.4%, attendance by 1.3%, and decreases abstention by 9%. We find no influence on non-relevant ballots. These effects are driven by budget-related motions and female legislators. Our results suggest that revolving doors affect the political process even when working in reverse.

Time Constraints and the Quality of Physician Care

[Latest Draft] [HEDG Working Paper]

This paper studies how time constraints affect the quality of physician care. Insufficient examination time may hamper physicians' care and diagnostic provision, leaving physicians more inclined to over-prescribe medication. I test this prediction using high-frequency data from a Spanish outpatient department and leverage on-the-day cancellations as random time shocks. I find that longer visits lead to better care, measured by providing more detailed diagnoses, higher testing intensity, and lower drug prescriptions. These effects are driven by junior physicians, who use this extra time to compensate for their more overloaded shifts.

Work in Progress

Why do Authoritarian Successor Parties Succeed?: How Francoist Legacies in the Spanish Catholic Church Boosted Regime Successor Party Performance, with Viivi Jarvi and Guadalupe Tuñón

[Draft available upon request]

This paper investigates the influence of civil society organizations on the trajectories of political parties after democratic transition. In particular, we study variation in the electoral success of authoritarian successor parties—parties with roots in a past authoritarian regime—in post-Franco Spain. While the existing literature has cited clientelistic ties to the electorate or to key economic or local elites to explain successor party success, we suggest that ties to religious organizations are also crucial. Underscoring the role of the Catholic Church, we show that the presence of Franco-appointed bishops boosts successor party performance. We leverage exogenous variation in the timing of post-transition bishop retirement to estimate the effects of the length of municipalities’ exposure to Francoist bishops on electoral outcomes. We find that longer exposure to Francoist bishops increases vote shares for successor parties in the democratic period. This effect seems to be amplified by the local presence of religious movements created during the dictatorship to strengthen commitment to the National-Catholicism that lay at the core of Franco’s ideological project. This paper brings to the fore a new set of institutions—religious ones—in the transmission of authoritarian legacies into democracy; highlights the long-term ramifications of autocratic ideological state-building on democratic electoral politics; and contributes to the literature on religion’s influence on politics.