Davide Luca





Under review


The big-city bias in access to finance: evidence from firms' perception in almost 100 countries, with N. Lee (London School of Economics).


There is mounting evidence in the developed world to suggest that there is geographical variation in access to finance. At the same time, there is a growing interest in the advantages of major cities in emerging economies in providing better access to services. Yet there is little evidence on spatial variation in access to finance in the developing world. In this paper, we address this gap. We propose that one important function of big cities is to provide better credit markets, but that – as countries develop – this ‘big city bias’ is likely to decline. We test these hypotheses using data on over 80,000 firms in 97 countries and provide new evidence that firms in large cities – with more than 1 million inhabitants – are less likely to perceive access to capital as a constraint. However, this big city bias in credit markets declines as countries develop.


Paving the way: growing political hegemony and the strategic redistribution of Turkey's public transport investment, with A. Rodríguez-Pose (London School of Economics).


Existing studies of distributive politics primarily focus on how alternative electoral systems lead to different strategic allocative patterns. Yet, even with the same electoral rule, incumbents may decide to alter their targeting strategies according to changing political objectives. The current paper focuses on proportional representation (PR) systems, and asks whether the patterns of strategic redistribution change when governments enjoy increasing electoral success and aim to achieve political hegemony. While in PR systems with strong parties governments have incentives to preferentially target core constituencies and punish foes’, we suggest that increases in incumbents’ popularity and hold on power may lead to a broadening in the territorial targeting of public goods as a ‘hegemony-building’ strategy. We employ a multi-method research strategy combining data on Turkey’s public transport investment for 2003-2013 with fieldwork involving in-depth interviews, and provide robust results in support of our hypothesis.


Work in progress


Deconsolidating democracy: the politics of Turkey's social spending under AKP rule, with M. Cammett (Harvard University), E. Sergenti (World Bank).


This paper explores patterns of central government spending on a range of social and economic sectors in Turkey from 2004 through 2014, when the ruling Islamic party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP), gained and consolidated its hold on power. We aim to contribute to research on distributive politics by assessing a variety of hypotheses about the nature of patronage politics in Turkey. We examine the degree to which the AK Party shifted its outreach strategy over time in response to electoral performance, cross-sectoral variation in patronage and developmental efforts, and geographic variation in social and economic expenditures in response to electoral performance.


Achieving growth through the ballotbox: the politics of Turkey's local economic development.


A growing consensus agrees on how one of the key prerequisites for sustained economic growth is the existence of inclusive institutions preventing narrow political groups to monopolise public resources and economic power. In spite of such burgeoning interest on the politics of economic growth, the research specifically exploring the political economy of marginalized localities and regions and the impact of political articulations on subnational economic development has been significantly scarcer. The current project proposal aims at filling this gap. It asks: in countries lacking inclusive political institutions and where businesses are more reliant on state intervention, can votes for the national incumbent party ‘buy’ preferential policy treatment and faster economic growth, at the expenses of marginalized areas? The project aims to test such question on the 81 provinces of Turkey over 2004-2014. Preliminary 2SLS results suggest that voting for the incumbent AK Party can lead to up to 2 percentage points of faster per-capita yearly GDP growth rate. 


Building New Turkey: the 'electoral value' of housing and infrastructure construction under AKP rule, with A. Filiztekin (Özyeğin University).


Stronger together? Assessing the causal impact of inter-municipal authorities on the efficiency of public administrations in peripheral areas.