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Local Electoral Incentives and Decentralized Program Performance

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  • Alain de Janvry

    (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Frederico Finan

    (University of California, Berkeley, BREAD, IZA, and NBER)

  • Elisabeth Sadoulet

    (University of California, Berkeley)

Abstract

This paper analyzes how electoral incentives affected the performance of a major decentralized conditional cash transfer program intended on reducing school dropout rates among children of poor households in Brazil. We show that while this federal program successfully reduced school dropout by 8 percentage points, the program's impact was 36% larger in municipalities governed by mayors who faced reelection possibilities compared to those with lame-duck mayors. First-term mayors with good program performance were much more likely to be reelected. These mayors adopted program implementation practices that were not only more transparent but also associated with better program outcomes. © 2012 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 94 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 672-685

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:94:y:2012:i:3:p:672-685

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Related research

Keywords: decentralization; electoral incentives; conditional cash transfer; impact evaluation;

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References

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  1. List, John & Sturm, Daniel M, 2004. "How Elections Matter: Theory and Evidence from Environmental Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 4489, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Sundadam, R.K. & Banks, J., 1991. "Adverse Selection and Moral hazard in a Repeated Elections Models," RCER Working Papers, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER) 283, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  3. Levitt, Steven D & Snyder, James M, Jr, 1997. "The Impact of Federal Spending on House Election Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 30-53, February.
  4. Galasso, Emanuela & Ravallion, Martin, 2005. "Decentralized targeting of an antipoverty program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 705-727, April.
  5. Marco Manacorda & Edward Miguel & Andrea Vigorito, 2009. "Government transfers and political support," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library 28519, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee, 2006. "Pro-Poor Targeting and Accountability of Local Governments in West Bengal," Working Papers id:773, eSocialSciences.
  7. Ferraz, Claudio & Finan, Frederico S., 2007. "Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil’s Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 2836, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Seabright, Paul, 1994. "Accountability and Decentralization in Government: An Incomplete Contracts Model," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 889, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. FranÁois Bourguignon & Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Phillippe G. Leite, 2003. "Conditional Cash Transfers, Schooling, and Child Labor: Micro-Simulating Brazil's Bolsa Escola Program," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, World Bank Group, vol. 17(2), pages 229-254, December.
  10. Faguet, Jean-Paul, 2001. "Does decentralization increase responsiveness to local needs? - evidence from Bolivia," Policy Research Working Paper Series, The World Bank 2516, The World Bank.
  11. Card, David & Sullivan, Daniel G, 1988. "Measuring the Effect of Subsidized Training Programs on Movements in and out of Employment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 56(3), pages 497-530, May.
  12. Ravallion, Martin, 2007. "How relevant is targeting to the success of an antipoverty program ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series, The World Bank 4385, The World Bank.
  13. Ferraz, Claudio & Finan, Frederico S., 2007. "Electoral Accountability and Corruption in Local Governments: Evidence from Audit Reports," IZA Discussion Papers 2843, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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Cited by:
  1. Fernanda Brollo & Tommaso Nannicini, 2010. "Tying Your Enemy’s Hands in Close Races: The Politics of Federal Transfers in Brazil," Working Papers, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University 358, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  2. Paul Redmond & John Regan, 2013. "Incumbency Advantage in Irish Elections: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth n241-13.pdf, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
  3. Alderman, Harold & Yemtsov, Ruslan, 2013. "How can safety nets contribute to economic growth ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series, The World Bank 6437, The World Bank.
  4. Martinez-Bravo, Monica & Padró i Miquel, Gerard & Qian, Nancy & Yao, Yang, 2011. "Do Local Elections in Non-Democracies Increase Accountability? Evidence from Rural China," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 8368, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Kosec, Katrina, 2014. "Relying on the private sector: The income distribution and public investments in the poor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 320-342.
  6. Yanez-Pagans, Monica & Machicado, Carlos Gustavo, 2012. "Bureaucratic Delay, Local-Level Monitoring, and Delivery of Small Infrastructure Projects: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Bolivia," IZA Discussion Papers 6687, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Elbers, Chris & Gunning, Jan Willem, 2013. "Evaluation of development programs : randomized controlled trials or regressions ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series, The World Bank 6587, The World Bank.

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