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Social Capital and Political Accountability

Author

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

Abstract

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)

Suggested Citation

  • Tommaso Nannicini & Andrea Stella & Guido Tabellini & Ugo Troiano, 2013. "Social Capital and Political Accountability," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 222-250, May.
  • 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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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stefano Gagliarducci & Tommaso Nannicini & Paolo Naticchioni, 2011. "Electoral Rules and Politicians' Behavior: A Micro Test," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 144-174, August.
    2. Alesina, Alberto & Giuliano, Paola, 2014. "Family Ties," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 4, pages 177-215, Elsevier.
    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, March.
    4. Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc, 2007. "Social Attitudes and Economic Development : an Epidemiological Approach," Sciences Po publications 6403, Sciences Po.
    5. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini & Francesco Trebbi, 2003. "Electoral Rules and Corruption," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 958-989, June.
    6. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2008. "Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil's Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 703-745.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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