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The Political Resource Curse

  • Brollo, Fernanda


    (Universidad de Alicante)

  • Nannicini, Tommaso


    (Bocconi University)

  • Perotti, Roberto


    (Bocconi University)

  • Tabellini, Guido


    (Bocconi University)

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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4706.

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Length: 69 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: American Economic Review, 2013, 103 (5), 1759-1796
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4706
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