Arduino Tomasi

Arduino Tomasi

PhD Candidate

Department of Government

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Key Expertise
Political Economy and Formal Theory

About me

I am an applied formal theorist of developing countries, who uses game-theoretic models to further our understanding of the electoral consequences of policies and the economic distortions caused by political frictions. My research is motivated by the implementation of distributive policies that do not yield obvious electoral rewards to office-holders, and by the distortions caused by the capacity of economic elites to manipulate the information available to voters about incumbent politicians. As a researcher, I also thrive on connecting theory with empirics.

Research interests: Political Economy | Formal Theory | Causal Inference | Politics in Developing Countries

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Essays on the political economy of developing countries

Job market paper

Machiavellian Fair Play: Electoral Incentives to Implement Programmatic Transfers

If a welfare transfers policy is programmatic (it is non-partisan, transparent and persisting), is it irrelevant for politicians' electoral fortunes? I show that the answer is no with a political agency model where politicians' competence is uncertain to all. In my set-up, an incumbent politician can allocate a budget to public goods, which are informative about his competence, and programmatic transfers, which are not. When the incumbent increases the budget to public goods by reducing transfers, two effects arise: his performance in office today would reveal more information about his ability (an informativeness effect), and voters' anticipation of narrow transfers tomorrow would increase the salience of political selection (an stakes effect). I show that, from the incumbent's viewpoint, these two effects move in opposing directions and, consequently, the strategic allocation of the budget weakly helps him to advance his electoral fortunes —with the stakes effect broadly dominating the informativeness effect in equilibrium. Finally, I explain how existing studies on the effects of programmatic transfers are unlikely to be able to measure its electoral impact.

Selected publications

  • Machiavellian Fair Play: Electoral Incentives to Implement Programmatic Transfers
  • Merchants of Reputation: Privatization Under Elites' Outside Lobbying

Teaching record

London School of Economics

  • GV225: Public Choice and Politics. For B.Sc., 2018/19 and 2019/20. Course convenors: Valentino Larcinese, Rafael Hortala-Vallve and Torun Dewan.
  • EC260: The Political Economy of Public Policy. LSE Summer School 2019. Course convenors: Torun Dewan and Valentino Larcinese.
  • MY452: Applied Regression Analysis. For M.Sc., and Ph.D. 2019/20. Course convenor: Daniele Fanelli.
  • MY464/451: Introduction to Quantitative Analysis. For M.Sc., and Ph.D. 2018/19 and 2019/20. Course convenors: Ben Lauderdale and Jonathan Jackson.

King's College London

  • Intermediate Microeconomics. For B.Sc. 2019/2020. Course convenor: Simona Grassi.