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Social Capital and Political Accountability

  • Tommaso Nannicini
  • Andrea Stella
  • Guido Tabellini
  • Ugo Troiano

We investigate a channel through which social capital may improve economic well-being and the functioning of institutions: political accountability. The main idea is that voters who share values and beliefs that foster cooperation are more likely to vote based on criteria of social welfare rather than narrow personal interest. We frame this intuition into a simple model of political agency and take it to the data using information on the criminal prosecutions and absenteeism rates of Italian members of Parliament. Empirical evidence shows that the electoral punishment of these misbehaviors is considerably larger in districts with higher social capital. (JEL D72, I31, Z13)

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

Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 222-50

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:5:y:2013:i:2:p:222-50
Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.5.2.222
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  1. Gagliarducci, Stefano & Nannicini, Tommaso & Naticchioni, Paolo, 2008. "Electoral Rules and Politicians’ Behavior: A Micro Test," IZA Discussion Papers 3348, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Alesina, Alberto F & Giuliano, Paola, 2013. "Family Ties," CEPR Discussion Papers 9483, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Miriam A. Golden & Lucio Picci, 2005. "Proposal For A New Measure Of Corruption, Illustrated With Italian Data," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17, pages 37-75, 03.
  4. 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, vol. 123(2), pages 703-745, 05.
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