Social Capital and Political Accountability
In this paper, we empirically investigate a channel through which social capital may improve economic wellbeing and the functioning of institutions: political accountability. The main idea is that voters who share norms of generalized morality demand higher standards of behavior on their elected representavtives, are more willing to bear the cost of acquiring information, and are more likely to base their vote on criteria of social welfare rather than (narrow) personal interest. We take this conjecture to the data using information on the Italian members of Parliament in the postwar period (1948-2001). The empirical evidence shows that the electoral punishment of political misbehavior is considerably larger in electoral districts with high social capital, where social capital is measured by blood donation, and political misbehavior refers to receiving a request of criminal prosecution or shirking in parliamentary activity. Accordingly, episodes of political misbehavior are less frequent in electoral districts with high social capital.
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- Ferraz, Claudio & Finan, Frederico S., 2007.
"Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil’s Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes,"
IZA Discussion Papers
2836, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- 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.
- Alberto Alesina & Paola Giuliano, 2013.
NBER Working Papers
18966, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Stefano Gagliarducci & Tommaso Nannicini & Paolo Naticchioni, 2007. "Electoral Rules And Politicians' Behavior: A Micro Test," Working Papers wp2007_0716, CEMFI.
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