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Reelection Incentives and Political Corruption: Evidence from Brazilian Audit Reports

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  • Finan, Frederico
  • Ferraz, Claudio

Abstract

As part of a recent anti-corruption campaign, the Brazilian government began to audit the municipal expenditure of federally-transferred funds. Using these audit reports, we construct a unique data set of political corruption to test whether reelection incentives affect the level of corruption in a municipality. Consistent with a political economy agency model, we find that mayors who are in their second and final term are significantly more corrupt than first-term mayors. In particular, second-term mayors on average divert, R$188,431.4 more than first-term mayors, which is approximately 4 percent of the total amount transferred to municipalities. We also find much more pronounced effects among municipalities where the costs of rent-extraction are lower, and the density of pivotal voters is higher. Our results also illustrate an important trade-off: second-term mayors, while more corrupt, provide a higher level of public goods. As Brazil and other countries continue their decentralization process, our findings promote the need for a better understanding of how local institutions can help reduce the incentives for corruption.

Suggested Citation

  • Finan, Frederico & Ferraz, Claudio, 2005. "Reelection Incentives and Political Corruption: Evidence from Brazilian Audit Reports," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19544, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea05:19544
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    Cited by:

    1. Jennifer Hunt, 2007. "Bribery in Health Care in Peru and Uganda," NBER Working Papers 13034, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Filipe R. Campante & Davin Chor & Quoc-Anh Do, 2009. "Instability And The Incentives For Corruption," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(1), pages 42-92, March.
    3. Javier Rivas, 2016. "Private agenda and re-election incentives," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 46(4), pages 899-915, April.
    4. Davin Chor & Do Quoc-Anh & Filipe R Campante, 2008. "Instability and Incentives for Corruption," Macroeconomics Working Papers 22070, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    5. Raphael Almeida Videira & Enlinson Mattos, 2011. "Ciclospolíticos Eleitorais E Interação Espacial De Políticas Fiscais:Evidências Empíricas Para Os Gastos Com Investimentos, Saúde E Educaçãonos Municípios Brasileiros," Anais do XXXVIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 38th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 043, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].

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    Keywords

    Political Economy;

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