Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Devashish Mitra

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Nejat Anbarci

Third Advisor's Name

Ali Cem Karayalcin

Date of Defense



This dissertation provides an analytical framework to study the political economy of policy reform in the Dominican Republic during the nineties. Based on a country study, I develop two theoretical models that replicate the mechanisms of policy approval in developing countries with weak democracies. The first model considers a pro-reform President who submits a tariff bill to an anti-reform Congress dominated by the opposition party. In between, two opposing lobbies try to get their favored policy approved. Lobbies act as Stackelberg leaders vis a vis a weak President. The behavior of the Congress is determined exogenously while the lobbies act strategically pursuing the approval of the reform bill and indirectly affecting the President's decision. I show that in such a setting external agents like the Press play an important role in the decision-making process of the political actors.

The second model presents a similar framework. However, the President, who is a Stackelberg leader, is allowed only two choices, total reform or status-quo. I show how a lobby reacts to an increase in its rival's or its own size. These reactions depend on the President's level of commitment to the reform. Finally, I discuss the effect of variations in the size of the lobbies on the President's choice. The model suitably explains real events that took place in the Dominican Republic in the mid-nineties.





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