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Democracy, Public Expenditures, and the Poor: Understanding Political Incentives for Providing Public Services

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  • Philip Keefer

Abstract

The incentives of politicians to provide broad public goods and reduce poverty vary across countries. Even in democracies, politicians often have incentives to divert resources to political rents and private transfers that benefit a few citizens at the expense of many. These distortions can be traced to imperfections in political markets that are greater in some countries than in others. This article reviews the theory and evidence on the impact on political incentives of incomplete information for voters, the lack of credibility of political promises, and social polarization. The analysis has implications for policy and for reforms to improve public goods provision and reduce poverty. Copyright 2005, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Research Observer.

Volume (Year): 20 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 1-27

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbrobs:v:20:y:2005:i:1:p:1-27

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Cited by:
  1. Fagernäs, Sonja & Pelkonen, Panu, 2014. "Politics Before Pupils? Electoral Cycles and School Resources in India," IZA Discussion Papers 8366, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Abhirup Sarkar, 2010. "On the political economy of a backward region," Indian Growth and Development Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 3(2), pages 122-137, October.
  3. Temple, Jonathan R.W., 2010. "Aid and Conditionality," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
  4. Kosec, Katrina, 2014. "Relying on the private sector: The income distribution and public investments in the poor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 320-342.
  5. Mahmoud, Chowdhury Shameem & Wadood, Syed Naimul & Ahmed, Kazi Sabbir, 2008. "Addressing Regional Inequality Issues in Bangladesh Public Expenditure," MPRA Paper 14329, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Björkman, Martina & Reinikka, Ritva & Svensson, Jakob, 2006. "Local Accountability," Seminar Papers 749, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  7. Brian Levy, 2010. "Development Trajectories : An Evolutionary Approach to Integrating Governance and Growth," World Bank Other Operational Studies 10188, The World Bank.
  8. Keefer, Philip & Neumayer, Eric & Plumper, Thomas, 2010. "Earthquake propensity and the politics of mortality prevention," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5182, The World Bank.
  9. Ravallion, Martin & van de Walle, Dominique & Dutta, Puja & Murgai, Rinku, 2013. "Testing information constraints on India's largest antipoverty program," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6598, The World Bank.
  10. Wasseem Mina, 2014. "But Most of All We Love Each Other: Does Social Cohesion Pay off? Evidence from FDI Flows to Middle Income Countries," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1424, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  11. Kikeri, Sunita & Kenyon,Thomas & Palmade, Vincent, 2006. "Reforming the investment climate : lessons for practitioners," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3986, The World Bank.
  12. Gauri, Varun & Brinks, Daniel M., 2012. "Human rights as demands for communicative action," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5951, The World Bank.
  13. Crost, Benjamin & Kambhampati, Uma S., 2010. "Political Market Characteristics and the Provision of Educational Infrastructure in North India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 195-204, February.
  14. Kolstad, Ivar & Wiig, Arne, 2009. "Is Transparency the Key to Reducing Corruption in Resource-Rich Countries?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 521-532, March.
  15. Cockx, Lara & Francken, Nathalie, 2014. "Extending the concept of the resource curse : Natural resources and public spending on health," IOB Working Papers 2014.01, Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy and Management (IOB).
  16. Joanis, Marcelin, 2014. "Shared accountability and partial decentralization in local public good provision," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 28-37.

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