IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Turning a blind eye: a Regression Discontinuity Design Analysis of Party-Based Support for Corruption in Brazil


  • Louis Graham


While corruption has long been conceptualised using the Principal-Agent framework, recent academic literature has proposed that in many countries, corruption is used as a political tool by 'unprincipled principals'. Using data from a corruption audit programme in Brazil and an RDD design, I study whether a state governor and municipal mayor being of the same party increases corruption linked to the mayor. I find evidence that when the governor's party wins the municipal mayoral election, corruption declines by 60-80% of the mean corruption level, and by 100-120% for larger municipalities. This is consistent with a model in which governors use corruption to gain control over mayors through potential blackmail, and in which governors want to prevent their party being associated with corruption to protect their re-election chances. I find further evidence consistent with the first argument. Much weaker evidence is found consistent with the second.

Suggested Citation

  • Louis Graham, 2016. "Turning a blind eye: a Regression Discontinuity Design Analysis of Party-Based Support for Corruption in Brazil," CSAE Working Paper Series 2016-18, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2016-18

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Corruption; Political Networks; Regression Discontinuity Design;

    JEL classification:

    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2016-18. 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: (Julia Coffey). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.