IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Shared Mandates, Moral Hazard, and Political (Mis)alignment in a Decentralized Economy

Listed author(s):
  • Estache, Antonio
  • Garsous, Grégoire
  • Seroa da Motta, Ronaldo

This paper investigates the effects of political (mis)alignment on public service delivery when mandates are shared between state and local governments. We analyze local sewage treatment policies in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. The Brazilian Constitution divides the mandates related to the control of water pollution. It gives the mayors of municipalities the control of local sanitation services while the governor of the state of São Paulo is responsible for the quality of water bodies (watersheds and rivers). As a result, the state government and municipalities have conflicting objectives. The former is committed to water environmental protection while the latter do not internalize the externalities associated with dumping raw sewage that affect neighboring municipalities. In this paper, we argue that informal arrangements between state and local authorities play a key role in addressing this principal–agent problem or moral hazard issue. Given that constitutional debates have failed to set up a regulatory framework, the de facto solution is a more informal type of regulation anchored in the political leverage of the governor. In particular, the hierarchy within a political party allows the governor to provide aligned mayors with tailored incentives to improve local sanitation infrastructure. As a result, aligned municipalities should, on average, allocate more resources to sewage treatment. Relying on difference-in-differences estimations, we establish a causal relationship between political alignment and higher sewage treatment provision. We find that sewage treatment provision is between 18% and 46% higher in municipalities in which the mayor is aligned with the governor of the state of São Paulo.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305750X16000413
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

Volume (Year): 83 (2016)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 98-110

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:83:y:2016:i:c:p:98-110
DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2016.02.006
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. Hilary Sigman, 2002. "International Spillovers and Water Quality in Rivers: Do Countries Free Ride?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1152-1159, September.
  2. Sjahrir, Bambang Suharnoko & Kis-Katos, Krisztina & Schulze, Günther G., 2014. "Administrative Overspending in Indonesian Districts: The Role of Local Politics," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 166-183.
  3. Blomquist, William & Giansante, Consuelo & Bhat, Anjali & Kemper, Karin, 2005. "Institutional and policy analysis of river basin management: the Gudalquivir River Basin, Spain," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3526, The World Bank.
  4. Marcelin Joanis, 2011. "The road to power: partisan loyalty and the centralized provision of local infrastructure," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(1), pages 117-143, January.
  5. Brueckner, Jan K., 2009. "Partial fiscal decentralization," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 23-32, January.
  6. Solé-Ollé, Albert & Sorribas-Navarro, Pilar, 2008. "The effects of partisan alignment on the allocation of intergovernmental transfers. Differences-in-differences estimates for Spain," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(12), pages 2302-2319, December.
  7. Wilder, Margaret & Romero Lankao, Patricia, 2006. "Paradoxes of Decentralization: Water Reform and Social Implications in Mexico," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(11), pages 1977-1995, November.
  8. Marta Curto-Grau & Albert Solé-Ollé & Pilar Sorribas-Navarro, 2012. "Partisan targeting of inter-governmental transfers & state interference in local elections: evidence from Spain," Working Papers 2012/31, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  9. Enikolopov, Ruben & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2007. "Decentralization and political institutions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2261-2290, December.
  10. Batterbury, Simon P.J. & Fernando, Jude L., 2006. "Rescaling Governance and the Impacts of Political and Environmental Decentralization: An Introduction," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(11), pages 1851-1863, November.
  11. Mario Jametti & Marcelin Joanis, 2010. "Determinants of fiscal decentralization: political economy aspects," Working Papers 2010/7, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  12. Kalirajan, Kaliappa & Otsuka, Keijiro, 2012. "Fiscal Decentralization and Development Outcomes in India: An Exploratory Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1511-1521.
  13. Melissa Dell, 2015. "Trafficking Networks and the Mexican Drug War," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(6), pages 1738-1779, June.
  14. Weingast, Barry R., 2014. "Second Generation Fiscal Federalism: Political Aspects of Decentralization and Economic Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 14-25.
  15. Dilip Mookherjee, 2015. "Political Decentralization," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 231-249, August.
  16. Hilary Sigman, 2014. "Decentralization and Environmental Quality: An International Analysis of Water Pollution Levels and Variation," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 90(1), pages 114-130.
  17. Marcelin Joanis, 2008. "Intertwined Federalism: Accountability Problems under Partial Decentralization," Cahiers de recherche 08-22, Departement d'Economique de l'École de gestion à l'Université de Sherbrooke.
  18. Cremer, Jacques & Palfrey, Thomas R., 1996. "In or out?: Centralization by majority vote," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 43-60, January.
  19. Raúl A. Ponce-Rodríguez & Charles R. Hankla & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Eunice Heredia-Ortiz, 2012. "Rethinking the Political Economy of Decentralization: How Elections and Parties Shape the Provision of Local Public Goods," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1227, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  20. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2011. "Electoral Accountability and Corruption: Evidence from the Audits of Local Governments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1274-1311, June.
  21. Benny Geys & Jan Vermeir, 2014. "Party Cues In Elections Under Multilevel Governance: Theory And Evidence From Us States," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 1029-1058, August.
  22. Johnsson, Rosa Maria Formiga & Kemper, Karin, 2005. "Institutional and policy analysis of river basin management : the Alto-Tiete river basin, Sao Paulo, Brazil," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3650, The World Bank.
  23. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Giovanni Maggi, 2002. "Rigidity, Discretion, and the Costs of Writing Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 798-817, September.
  24. Faguet, Jean-Paul, 2014. "Decentralization and Governance," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 2-13.
  25. Bhat, Anjali & Ramu, Kikkeri & Kemper, Karin, 2005. "Institutional and policy analysis of river basin management: the Brantas river basin, East Java, Indonesia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3611, The World Bank.
  26. Koleman S. Strumpf & Felix Oberholzer-Gee, 2002. "Endogenous Policy Decentralization: Testing the Central Tenet of Economic Federalism," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 1-36, February.
  27. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2003. "Centralized versus decentralized provision of local public goods: a political economy approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2611-2637, December.
  28. Sigman, Hilary, 2005. "Transboundary spillovers and decentralization of environmental policies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 82-101, July.
  29. Joanis, Marcelin, 2014. "Shared accountability and partial decentralization in local public good provision," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 28-37.
  30. Arze del Granado, F. Javier & Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge & McNab, Robert M., 2012. "Decentralized Governance and Preferences for Public Goods," MPRA Paper 42459, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  31. repec:cup:apsrev:v:106:y:2012:i:04:p:742-761_00 is not listed on IDEAS
  32. Seroa da Motta, Ronaldo & Moreira, Ajax, 2006. "Efficiency and regulation in the sanitation sector in Brazil," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 185-195, September.
  33. Blomquist, William & Ballestero, Maureen & Bhat, Anjali & Kemper, Karin, 2005. "Institutional and policy analysis of river basin management: the tarcoles river basin, Costa Rica," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3612, The World Bank.
  34. Bednar,Jenna, 2009. "The Robust Federation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521703963, December.
  35. Bednar,Jenna, 2009. "The Robust Federation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521878999, December.
  36. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
  37. Johnsson, Rosa Maria Formiga & Kemper, Karin, 2005. "Institutional and policy analysis of river basin management : the Jaguaribe river basin, Ceara, Brazil," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3649, The World Bank.
  38. Jean Tirole, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts: Where Do We Stand?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 741-782, July.
  39. Per Pettersson-Lidbom, 2008. "Do Parties Matter for Economic Outcomes? A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(5), pages 1037-1056, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:83:y:2016:i:c:p:98-110. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.