Institutions matter: essays on the determinants and consequences of socio-political institutions

  • Sharin McDowell

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This thesis seeks to contribute to the socio-political literature. It comprises of three individual chapters examining the determinants and consequences of different social-political institutional factors.
    Specifically, the first study combines game theoretical and empirical techniques to examine how bureaucrats favour other agents within their social group and the effects this will have on the level of corruption in the economy. To this end, I develop a simple model of allocation of time between economic activities and leisure (time spent building social network ties), to illustrate the underlying causal mechanism between social network and corruption. It shows that large social networks and low levels of economic activities provides the condition for high levels of corruption. However, the ability of the government to punish corruption through well-established laws and property rights enforcement acts as a deterrent to corruption. he second work also combines game theoretical and empirical techniques. It aims to clarify the relationship between the degree of competition and political influence of firms, paying particular attention to the level of government regulations that exist in the countries in which the firms operates. The interplay between economic and political institutions is vital to any analysis on understanding the workings of political influence. The third study is purely empirical. It examines the role of two types of business network, namely, political connections and business group affiliations on a firm’s performance. Evidence was provided on Chinese firms’ performance during the 2008 financial crisis.
    Date of Award28 Jun 2016
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Aston University
    SupervisorChris Jones (Supervisor), Jun Du (Supervisor) & Matthew Olczak (Supervisor)


    • social networks
    • corruption, market completion
    • political connection
    • performance

    Cite this