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Social Capital and Political Accountability

Author

Listed:
  • Tommaso Nannicini

    (Bocconi University, IGIER & IZA)

  • Andrea Stella

    (Harvard University)

  • Guido Tabellini

    (Bocconi University, IGIER, CEPR & CIFAR)

  • Ugo Troiano

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Tommaso Nannicini & Andrea Stella & Guido Tabellini & Ugo Troiano, 2010. "Social Capital and Political Accountability," Working Papers 2010.58, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2010.58
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc, 2007. "Social Attitudes and Economic Development : an Epidemiological Approach," Working Papers hal-01066088, HAL.
    2. Stefano Gagliarducci & Tommaso Nannicini & Paolo Naticchioni, 2011. "Electoral Rules and Politicians' Behavior: A Micro Test," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 144-174, August.
    3. Alesina, Alberto & Giuliano, Paola, 2014. "Family Ties," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 4, pages 177-215 Elsevier.
    4. 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.
    5. 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, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social Capital; Culture; Political Agency;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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