Do formula-based intergovernmental transfer mechanisms eliminate politically motivated targeting? Evidence from Ghana
Various countries have adopted formulas for determining intergovernmental transfers as a strategy to limit the role of political considerations in resource allocation. In this paper, we investigate a formula-based system of allocating resources from a central government to local governments to determine whether the political characteristics of recipient areas have any bearing on their allocation. Specifically, we study the sharing of resources of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) in Ghana amongst the country's district governments over the period 1994 to 2005. We find evidence that the mechanism does not eliminate politically motivated targeting of the grants. Per capita DACF grants were higher in districts where vote margins in the previous presidential election were lower, suggesting that swing districts were targeted. We find evidence that DACF formula indicators and their weighting were chosen and amended to produce politically desired patterns of transfers.
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