The Center for the Study of Political Economy is happy to announce that Garth Patterson '07, Tyler Barrus '07, and Dashle Kelley '08 have been selected as Center Fellows. Mr. Patterson plans to answer the question of whether British rule was beneficial to the development of India; Mr. Barrus explores why people allow themselves to be ruled by tyrants, while Mr. Kelley studies the effect of a liberalization of the corn and soybean markets on output in Iowa.
Mr. Patterson's project, "Under the Lion's Paw," investigates British imperial policy as it relates to the political and economic development of India from 1757 to 1948. On the political side, Mr. Patterson will employ Samuel Huntington's five goals: economic growth, economic equity, stability, democracy, and autonomy as measures of political success. On the economic front, he will examine the emergence of legal, financial, and political institutions and their effects upon technological innovation, capital accumulation, the development of human capital and GDP. This project is of particular importance today as the British imperial experience is the epitome of nation building and could yield important lessons for policy makers.
Mr. Barrus' project focuses on Venezuela and its current leader Hugo Chávez. To understand how demagogues rise to power, Mr. Barrus will study ancient texts to find a pattern between personal and national characteristics and the ability to of the tyrant to utilize the situation to become the demagogue. After understanding how this was accomplished in the ancient world, Mr. Barrus will then apply what he has found to Hugo Chávez to see if the same were true for him.
Mr. Kelley's project is motivated by personal experience as several members of his family have worked in the agricultural industry. Increased productivity has led to more output being offered for lower prices. Market forces would lead some farmers to exit the agricultural industry; however, in an effort to keep farmers farming, the government often offers subsidies. On the political side, lawmakers have an incentive to please their constituents by protecting them from market forces. Yet this poses another issue: If farmers expect aid, they will adjust their actions to continue to receive aid and not reduce their dependence on the aid.