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Local Electoral Incentives and Decentralized Program Performance

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  • Alain de Janvry
  • Frederico Finan
  • Elisabeth Sadoulet

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 percent 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 get re-elected. These mayors adopted program implementation practices that were not only more transparent but also associated with better program outcomes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16635.

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Date of creation: Dec 2010
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Publication status: published as Alain de Janvry & Frederico Finan & Elisabeth Sadoulet, 2012. "Local Electoral Incentives and Decentralized Program Performance," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 672-685, August.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16635

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  1. John A List & Daniel M Sturm, 2006. "How Elections Matter: Theory and Evidence from Environmental Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1249-1281, November.
  2. Bardhan, Pranab & Mookherjee, Dilip, 2006. "Pro-poor targeting and accountability of local governments in West Bengal," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 303-327, April.
  3. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2008. "Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil's Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 123(2), pages 703-745, 05.
  4. Galasso, Emanuela & Ravallion, Martin, 2005. "Decentralized targeting of an antipoverty program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 705-727, April.
  5. David Card & Daniel Sullivan, 1987. "Measuring the Effect of Subsidized Training Programs on Movements In andOut of Employment," NBER Working Papers 2173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Marco Manacorda & Edward Miguel & Andrea Vigorito, 2009. "Government Transfers and Political Support," CEP Discussion Papers dp0912, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. Sundadam, R.K. & Banks, J., 1991. "Adverse Selection and Moral hazard in a Repeated Elections Models," RCER Working Papers 283, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  8. Steven D. Levitt & James M. Snyder, Jr., 1995. "The Impact of Federal Spending on House Election Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 5002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Seabright, Paul, 1996. "Accountability and decentralisation in government: An incomplete contracts model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 61-89, January.
  10. 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.
  11. Faguet, Jean-Paul, 2001. "Does decentralization increase responsiveness to local needs? - evidence from Bolivia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2516, The World Bank.
  12. Ravallion, Martin, 2007. "How relevant is targeting to the success of an antipoverty program ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 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. Brollo, Fernanda & Nannicini, Tommaso, 2011. "Tying Your Enemy’s Hands in Close Races: The Politics of Federal Transfers in Brazil," IZA Discussion Papers 5698, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  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. Yang Yao & Nancy Qia & Monica Martinez Bravo & Gerard Padro i Miquel, 2011. "Do Local Elections in Non-Democracies Increase Accountability? Evidence from Rural China," Working Papers id:3931, eSocialSciences.
  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. Alderman, Harold & Yemtsov, Ruslan, 2013. "How can safety nets contribute to economic growth ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6437, The World Bank.
  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 6587, The World Bank.

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