skip to content

Besley, Timothy

Works: 264 works in 862 publications in 1 language and 7,833 library holdings
Genres: Case studies  Conference papers and proceedings 
Roles: Author, Editor, Printer
Classifications: HB1, 338.9
Publication Timeline
Publications about Timothy Besley
Publications by Timothy Besley
Most widely held works about Timothy Besley
Most widely held works by Timothy Besley
Principled agents? : the political economy of good government by Timothy Besley( Book )
29 editions published between 2004 and 2009 in English and Undetermined and held by 397 libraries worldwide
"Mainstream policy economics now pays more attention to the delivery of policy outcomes and how incentives and institutional change shape the effectiveness of government. But should these issues be studied against a background of purely self-interested public servants? There is plenty of evidence that many citizens are publicly spirited. Can their motivation be harnessed in the public interest? These lectures review how economic thought on these issues has evolved."
Pillars of prosperity : the political economics of development clusters by Timothy Besley( Book )
18 editions published between 2011 and 2013 in English and held by 349 libraries worldwide
"Little else is required to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice; all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things." So wrote Adam Smith a quarter of a millennium ago. Using the tools of modern political economics and combining economic theory with a bird's-eye view of the data, this book reinterprets Smith's pillars of prosperity to explain the existence of development clusters--places that tend to combine effective state institutions, the absence of political violence, and high per-capita incomes. To achieve peace, the authors stress the avoidance of repressive government and civil conflict. Easy taxes, they argue, refers not to low taxes, but a tax system with widespread compliance that collects taxes at a reasonable cost from a broad base, like income. And a tolerable administration of justice is about legal infrastructure that can support the enforcement of contracts and property rights in line with the rule of law. The authors show that countries tend to enjoy all three pillars of prosperity when they have evolved cohesive political institutions that promote common interests, guaranteeing the provision of public goods. In line with much historical research, international conflict has also been an important force behind effective states by fostering common interests. The absence of common interests and/or cohesive political institutions can explain the existence of very different development clusters in fragile states that are plagued by poverty, violence, and weak state capacity. -- Book Description
Development challenges in the 1990s : leading policymakers speak from experience by Roberto Zagha( Book )
23 editions published in 2005 in English and held by 342 libraries worldwide
"Development Challenges in the 1990s: Leading Policymakers Speak from Experience brings together the insights and experiences of some of the world's leading policymakers and global thought leaders, individuals who have had substantial influence on the policy reforms and development strategies in their native countries. Sharing their unique perspectives, these "practitioners of development" explain the reasons for the uneven outcomes of the 1990s and, with the benefit of hindsight, draw relevant lessons for the future."--Jacket
Delivering on the promise of pro-poor growth : insights and lessons from country experiences by Timothy Besley( Book )
31 editions published between 2006 and 2012 in English and held by 307 libraries worldwide
Delivering on the Promise of Pro-Poor Growth contributes to the debate on how to accelerate poverty reduction by providing insights from eight countries that have been relatively successful in delivering pro-poor growth: Bangladesh, Brazil, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Tunisia, Uganda, and Vietnam. It integrates growth analytics with the microanalysis of household data to determine how country policies and conditions interact to reduce poverty and to spread the benefits of growth across different income groups. This title is a useful resource for policy makers, donor agencies, academics, think tanks, and government officials seeking a practical framework to improve country level diagnostics of growth-poverty linkages
Institutional microeconomics of development by Timothy Besley( Book )
13 editions published in 2010 in English and held by 288 libraries worldwide
"The narrative of development economics is now infused with discussions of institutions. Economists debate whether institutions-or other factors altogether (geography, culture, or religion)-are central to development. In this volume, leading scholars in development economics view institutions from a microeconomic perspective, offering both theoretical overviews and empirical analyses spanning three continents." "After substantial introductory chapters by Pranab Bardhan and Marcel Fafchamps, two scholars who have published important work on this topic, each of the remaining chapters examines a particular set of institutions in a unique setting. These chapters treat the effects of Angola's violent conflict on that country's development; institutional accountability in Uganda; the effect of Indonesia's ethnic diversity on the distribution of public goods; the impact of trade liberalization on India's investment climate; extended family networks in Mexico; and a microeconomic perspective on land rights in Ethiopia." "The chapters demonstrate the remarkable heterogeneity of institutions, government institutions, and families-as well as the empirical and methodological ingenuity of current research into this crucial topic." "Timothy Besley is Kuwait Professor of Economics and Political Science and Director of STICERD (Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines) at the London School of Economics. He is the author of Principled Agents? The Political Economy of Good Government. Rajshri Jayaraman is Assistant Professor at the European School of Management and Technology, Berlin."--Jacket
Centralized versus decentralized provision of local public goods : a political economy analysis by Timothy Besley( Book )
17 editions published between 1999 and 2000 in English and held by 97 libraries worldwide
This paper takes a fresh look at the trade-off between centralized and decentralized provision of local public goods. The point of departure is to model a centralized system as one in which public spending is financed by general taxation, but districts can receive different levels of local public goods. In a world of benevolent governments, the disadvantages of centralization stressed in the existing literature disappear, suggesting that the case for decentralization must be driven by political economy considerations. Our political economy analysis assumes that under decentralization public goods are selected by locally elected representatives, while under a centralized system policy choices are determined by a legislature consisting of elected representatives from each district. We then study the role of taste heterogeneity, spillovers and legislative behavior in determining the case for centralization
Elected versus appointed regulators : theory and evidence by Timothy Besley( Book )
17 editions published in 2000 in English and held by 89 libraries worldwide
This paper contrasts direct election with political appointment of regulators. When regulators are appointed, regulatory policy becomes bundled with other policy issues the appointing politicians are responsible for. Since regulatory issues are not salient for most voters, regulatory policy outcomes reflect the preferences of party elites and special interests. Direct election of regulators strengthens the power of voters by ensuring the salience of regulatory issues. Using panel data on regulatory outcomes from U.S. states, we find evidence in favor of the idea that elected states are more pro-consumer in their regulatory policies
Contemporary issues in development economics by International Economic Association( Book )
11 editions published between 2015 and 2016 in English and held by 88 libraries worldwide
"This IEA volume brings together a set of essays written by leading authors on themes relevant to the study of economic development. The book covers a range of topics many of which are relevant to policy issues. The contributors bring new insights from empirical research in a range of economies with chapters including discussions of the UN development agenda, fiscal policy in Latin America, poverty data in Africa and Jordan, and monetary policy in South Africa. Contemporary Issues in Development Economics is an essential read for researchers, scholars and policymakers interested in economic development in low- and middle-income countries. "--
Vertical externalities in tax setting : evidence from gasoline and cigarettes by Timothy Besley( Book )
16 editions published between 1997 and 1999 in English and held by 85 libraries worldwide
A common feature of federal systems is that tax bases are joint property. Consequently, state and federal tax setting decisions are interdependent. Our aim here is to put forward a rudimentary theoretical analysis of this phenomenon, and to use the theory as a framework for econometrically estimating the magnitude of the responses. We find that when the federal government increases taxes, there is a significant positive response of state taxes. For example, a 10-cent per gallon increase in the federal tax rate on gasoline leads to a 3.2-cent increase in the state tax rate
Sales taxes and prices : an empirical analysis by Timothy Besley( Book )
20 editions published between 1994 and 1998 in English and held by 84 libraries worldwide
Abstract: One of the most fundamental questions in public finance is who bears the burden of taxes -- the incidence of taxation.' Our understanding of incidence from an empirical standpoint is quite meager. Indeed, there seems to be little evidence even in the case that is theoretically the easiest -- partial equilibrium commodity taxes. Are taxes levied on commodities completely shifted into their prices, or does the incidence also fall on firms? How long does the shifting process take? In this paper we employ a unique data source to examine the incidence of sales taxes. The main idea is to take information on the prices of specific commodities in different U.S. cities and to examine the extent to which differences in tax rates and bases are reflected in prices, controlling for other factors (such as costs). We find a surprising variety of shifting patterns. For some commodities, the after-tax price increases by exactly the amount of the tax, a result consistent with the standard competitive model. However, taxes on other commodities are overshifted -- an increase in tax revenue of one dollar per unit increases the price by more than one dollar
Issue unbundling via citizens' initiatives by Timothy Besley( Book )
19 editions published between 2000 and 2001 in English and held by 79 libraries worldwide
The role of citizens' initiatives figures prominently in contemporary debates on constitutional change. A basic question is why are initiatives necessary in a representative democracy where candidates must already compete for the right to control policy? This paper offers one answer to this question. In a representative democracy, the bundling of issues together with the fact that citizens have only one vote, means that policy outcomes on specific issues may diverge far from what the majority of citizens want. In such circumstances, allowing citizens to put legislation directly on the ballot, permits the unbundling' of these issues, which forces a closer relationship between policy outcomes and popular preferences. To the extent that it is considered socially undesirable for outcomes on specific issues to stray too far from what the majority wants, this creates a role for citizens' initiatives
Unnatural experiments? : estimating the incidence of endogenous policies by Timothy Besley( Book )
13 editions published between 1994 and 2000 in English and held by 76 libraries worldwide
The US federal system provides great potential for estimating the effects of policy on behavior. There are numerous empirical studies that exploit variation in policies over space and time. In pursuing this line of enquiry, the issue of policy endogeneity is central. If state policy making is purposeful action, responsive to economic and political conditions within the state, then it may be necessary to identify and control for the forces that lead policies to change if one wishes to obtain unbiased estimates of a policy's incidence. The aim of this paper is to investigate how recognition of policy endogeneity affects attempts to analyze policy incidence. Throughout, we take a specific context -- workers' compensation benefits. We contrast the use of differences-in-differences estimation, where a comparison is made between a group affected by the policy change and a control group, with instrumental variables estimation when political variables are used as instruments. Although conclusions drawn must be confined to the example at hand, we believe that the analysis illustrates why it may be important to consider the implications of policy endogeneity more generally
The public choice critique of welfare economics : an exploration by Timothy Besley( Book )
9 editions published in 1999 in English and held by 67 libraries worldwide
Fiscal anarchy in the U.K. : modelling poll tax noncompliance by Timothy Besley( Book )
21 editions published between 1993 and 1996 in English and Undetermined and held by 65 libraries worldwide
The U.K.'s experience with the poll tax reminds us that even in an economy with a relatively well developed detection and legal system, one cannot take tax compliance for granted. The experience of the poll tax provides a unique opportunity to study many dimensions of tax compliance. We model nonpayment rates in a short panel of data on the 366 English local authorities. The transparent observability of individual and aggregate liabilities makes reliable measurement of rates of nonpayment possible. Moreover, these rates rose to unprecedented levels as well as exhibiting considerable variation across authorities. This, together with the variation in local taxes both between districts and over time, creates an ideal opportunity for empirical investigation. Our empirical specification allows us to investigate the determinants of compliance as a function of authority characteristics from census and other geographical data. Moreover, the analysis takes seriously the possibility of neighbourhood influences across authority boundaries. Our empirical results confirm the idea that higher taxes lead to larger compliance problems and that attempts to enforce compliance have a positive effect. Neighbourhood effects on non-compliance were less conspicuous, figuring significantly, if at all, only in the final year
Does electoral accountability affect economic policy choices? : evidence from gubernatorial term limits by Timothy Besley( Book )
13 editions published in 1993 in English and held by 59 libraries worldwide
Abstract: This paper uses data from U.S. states to investigate whether electoral accountability affects economic policy choices. We set up a model in which the possibility of being re-elected may curtail opportunistic behavior by incumbent governors. We find that facing a binding term limit affects choices on taxes, expenditures, state minimum wages and mandates on workers' compensation. Such effects are found also to vary with the party affiliation of the incumbent. The Democratic party also appears to suffer at the polls following the term of a lame-duck, Democratic incumbent
Political competition and economic performance : theory and evidence from the United States by Timothy Besley( Book )
15 editions published in 2005 in English and held by 51 libraries worldwide
One of the most cherished propositions in economics is that market competition by and large raises consumer welfare. But whether political competition has similarly virtuous consequences is far less discussed. This paper formulates a model to explain why political competition may enhance economic performance and uses the United States as a testing ground for the model's implications. It finds statistically robust evidence that political competition has quantitatively important effects on state income growth, state policies, and the quality of Governors
Incumbent behavior : vote seeking, tax setting and yardstick competition by Timothy Besley( Book )
12 editions published in 1992 in English and held by 48 libraries worldwide
This paper presents a theoretical and empirical investigation of tax competition when voters use the tax policy of neighboring jurisdictions as information to evaluate the performance of their incumbent politicians. We show that this has implications both for voter tolerance of high taxes and for the process of tax setting itself, Our empirical results, which use two different tax data sets, confirm the importance of neighbors' taxes both on the probability of incumbent reelection and on tax setting behavior
The origins of state capacity : property rights, taxation, and politics by Timothy Besley( Book )
13 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 34 libraries worldwide
Economists generally assume the existence of sufficient institutions to sustain a market economy and tax the citizens. However, this starting point cannot easily be taken for granted in many states, neither in history nor in the developing world of today. This paper develops a framework where "policy choices", regulation of markets and tax rates, are constrained by "economic institutions", which in turn reflect past investments in legal and fiscal state capacity. We study the economic and political determinants of these investments. The analysis shows that common interest public goods, such as fighting external wars, as well as political stability and inclusive political institutions, are conducive to building state capacity. Preliminary empirical evidence based on cross-country data find a number of correlations consistent with the theory
The incidence of civil war : theory and evidence by Timothy Besley( Book )
17 editions published between 2008 and 2009 in English and held by 28 libraries worldwide
This paper studies the incidence of civil war over time. We put forward a canonical model of civil war, which relates the incidence of conflict to circumstances, institutions and features of the underlying economy and polity. We use this model to derive testable predictions and to interpret the cross-sectional and times-series variations in civil conflict. Our most novel emprical finding is that higher world market prices of exported, as well as imported, commodities are strong and significant predictors of higher within-country incidence of civil war
State capacity, conflict and development by Timothy Besley( Book )
12 editions published in 2009 in English and held by 24 libraries worldwide
We report on an on-going project, which asks a number of questions relevant to the study of state capacity. What are the main economic and political determinants of the state's capacity to raise revenue and support private markets? How do risks of violent conflict affect the incentives to invest in state building? Does it matter whether conflicts are external or internal to the state? When are large states associated with higher income levels and growth rates than small states? What relations should we expect between resource rents, civil wars and economic development? The paper is organized into three main sections: 1. The origins of state capacity, 2. Sate capacity and the genius of taxation, and 3. State capacity and the strategy of conflict. Each of these begins with a specific motivation. A simple model is formulated to analyze the determinants of state capacity in the first section, and modified to address the new issues that arise in subsequent sections. The theoretical results are summarized in a number of propositions. We discuss the implications of the theory, comment on its relation to existing literature, and briefly mention some empiric applications
moreShow More Titles
fewerShow Fewer Titles
Alternative Names
Besley, T.
Besley, T. 1960-
Besley, T. (Timothy)
Besley, Tim.
Besley, Tim 1960-
Besley, Timothy J. 1960-
Besley, Timothy John
Besley, Timothy John 1960-
Tim Besley Brits econoom
Timothy Besley
Timothy Besley político, economista y profesor británico
English (338)
Close Window

Please sign in to WorldCat 

Don't have an account? You can easily create a free account.