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Manipulation of Social Program Eligibility

  • Adriana Camacho
  • Emily Conover

We document how manipulation of a targeting system for social welfare programs evolves over time. First, there was strategic behavior of some local politicians in the timing of the household interviews around local elections. Then, there was corrupt behavior with the sudden emergence of a sharp discontinuity in the score density, exactly at the eligibility threshold, which coincided with the release of the score algorithm to local officials. The discontinuity at the threshold is larger where mayoral elections are more competitive. While cultural forces are surely relevant for corruption, our results also highlight the importance of information and incentives. (JEL D72, I32, I38, O15, O17).

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 41-65

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:3:y:2011:i:2:p:41-65
Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.3.2.41
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  1. Emmanuel Saez, 1999. "Do Taxpayers Bunch at Kink Points?," NBER Working Papers 7366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Olken, Benjamin A., 2006. "Corruption and the costs of redistribution: Micro evidence from Indonesia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 853-870, May.
  3. Brian A. Jacob & Steven D. Levitt, 2003. "Rotten Apples: An Investigation Of The Prevalence And Predictors Of Teacher Cheating," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 843-877, August.
  4. Abigail Barr & Danila Serra, 2008. "Corruption and culture: An Experimental Analysis," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2008-23, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Drazen, Allan & Eslava, Marcela, 2010. "Electoral manipulation via voter-friendly spending: Theory and evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 39-52, May.
  6. Raymond Fisman & Edward Miguel, 2007. "Corruption, Norms, and Legal Enforcement: Evidence from Diplomatic Parking Tickets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 1020-1048, December.
  7. Pranab Bardhan, 1997. "Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1320-1346, September.
  8. Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Point Shaving: Corruption in NCAA Basketball," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 279-283, May.
  9. Leora Friedberg, 1999. "The Labor Supply Effects of the Social Security Earnings Test," NBER Working Papers 7200, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
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