NOVAFRICA Seminar: Cronyism in State Violence: Evidence from Labor Repression During Argentina’s Last Dictatorship

On Friday, February 9th, at 2.30pm the NOVAFRICA Center welcomes Shanker Satyanath, from New York University, to present his work.

Shanker Satyanath (New York University)

We study whether crony governance can extend beyond economic policy to the targeting of state violence against citizens. We do so with a micro-analysis of state repression by the Argentine military junta that took power in March 24, 1976. Specifically, we examine the logic driving the choice of firm level union representatives who were subjected to violence following the coup. Using an original dataset assembled and digitized by us, we find that political, business and social connections to the regime are associated with a doubling of violence against firm level union representatives. This is the case even after controlling for a battery of firms’ characteristics that capture alternative explanations for the targeting of violence. The effect is pronounced in privately owned (as opposed to state-owned) firms, suggesting that the correlation is driven by cronyism for financial gain rather than ideology or information transmission. We show that connected firms benefited from violence against union representatives by subsequently having less strikes and a higher market valuation. Our findings highlight the pervasiveness of ties to the government, even in cases where one of the main stated goals of the regime is to curb cronyism.

Please see the paper here.

Find more information about this seminar here.

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