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The Political Resource Curse


  • Fernanda Brollo
  • Tommaso Nannicini
  • Roberto Perotti
  • Guido Tabellini


The paper studies the effect of additional government revenues on political corruption and on the quality of politicians, both with theory and data. The theory is based on a version of the career concerns model of political agency with endogenous entry of political candidates. The evidence refers to municipalities in Brazil, where federal transfers to municipal governments change exogenously according to given population thresholds. We exploit a regression discontinuity design to test the implications of the theory and identify the causal effect of larger federal transfers on political corruption and the observed features of political candidates at the municipal level. In accordance with the predictions of the theory, we find that larger transfers increase political corruption and reduce the quality of candidates for mayor.

Suggested Citation

  • Fernanda Brollo & Tommaso Nannicini & Roberto Perotti & Guido Tabellini, 2009. "The Political Resource Curse," Working Papers 356, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:356

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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