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Democracy, public expenditures, and the poor

Author

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  • Keefer, Philip
  • Khemani, Stuti

Abstract

Countries vary systematically with respect to the incentives of politicians to provide broad public goods, and to reduce poverty. Even in developing countries that are democracies, politicians often have incentives to divert resources to political rents, and to private transfers that benefit a few citizens at the expense of many. These distortions can be traced to imperfections in political markets, that are greater in some countries than in others. The authors review the theory, and evidence on the impact of incomplete information of voters, the lack of credibility of political promises, and social polarization on political incentives. They argue that the effects of these imperfections are large, but that their implications are insufficiently integrated into the design of policy reforms aimed at improving the provision of public goods, and reducing poverty.

Suggested Citation

  • Keefer, Philip & Khemani, Stuti, 2003. "Democracy, public expenditures, and the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3164, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3164
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Fiszbein, Ariel & Matsuda, Yasuhiko, 2012. "Matching reforms to institutional realities : a framework for assessing social service delivery reform strategies in developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6136, The World Bank.
    2. Sonia Bhalotra & Irma Clots-Figueras, 2014. "Health and the Political Agency of Women," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 164-197, May.
    3. Levy, Brial, 2010. "Development Trajectories: An Evolutionary Approach to Integrating Governance and Growth," World Bank - Economic Premise, The World Bank, issue 15, pages 1-7, May.
    4. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Khemani, Stuti & Walton, Michael, 2011. "Civil society, public action and accountability in Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5733, The World Bank.
    5. Julia Cagé, 2009. "Asymmetric information, rent extraction and aid efficiency," PSE Working Papers halshs-00575055, HAL.
    6. Gauri, Varun & Brinks, Daniel M., 2012. "Human rights as demands for communicative action," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5951, The World Bank.
    7. Batley, Richard & Mcloughlin, Claire, 2015. "The Politics of Public Services: A Service Characteristics Approach," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 275-285.
    8. 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.
    9. Sharma, Chanchal Kumar, 2011. "Multilevel Fiscal Governance in a Balanced Policy Environment," MPRA Paper 30282, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Pellicer, Miquel & Wegner, Eva, 2013. "Electoral Rules and Clientelistic Parties: A Regression Discontinuity Approach," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, pages 339-371.
    11. Singh, Nirvikar, 2007. "Fiscal Federalism and Decentralization in India," MPRA Paper 1447, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Mahmoud, Chowdhury Shameem & Wadood, Syed Naimul & Ahmed, Kazi Sabbir, 2008. "Addressing Regional Inequality Issues in Bangladesh Public Expenditure," MPRA Paper 14329, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Schaeffer, Michael & Yilmaz, Serdar, 2008. "Strengthening local government budgeting and accountability," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4767, The World Bank.
    14. Resnick, Danielle & Birner, Regina, 2006. "Does good governance contribute to pro-poor growth?: a review of the evidence from cross-country studies," DSGD discussion papers 30, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    15. Molly Bauer & Cesi Cruz & Benjamin Graham, 2012. "Democracies only: When do IMF agreements serve as a seal of approval?," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 33-58, March.
    16. Keefer, Philip & Khemani, Stuti, 2012. "Do informed citizens receive more...or pay more ? the impact of radio on the government distribution of public health benefits," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5952, The World Bank.
    17. Abhirup Sarkar, 2010. "On the political economy of a backward region," Indian Growth and Development Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 3(2), pages 122-137, September.
    18. Kosec, Katrina, 2011. "Politics and preschool : the political economy of investment in pre-primary education," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5647, The World Bank.
    19. Akramov, Kamiljon T. & Qureshi, Sarfraz & Birner, Regina & Khan, Bilal Hasan, 2008. "Decentralization, local government elections and voter turnout in Pakistan:," IFPRI discussion papers 754, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    20. Martin Ardanaz & Carlos Scartascini, 2011. "Why Don’t We Tax the Rich? Inequality, Legislative Malapportionment, and Personal Income Taxation around the World," Research Department Publications 4724, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    21. repec:unu:wpaper:wp2012-55 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Resnick, Danielle & Birner, Regina, 2005. "Does Good Governance Contribute to Pro-poor Growth?: A Conceptual Framework and Empirical Evidence from Cross-Country Studies," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Kiel 2005 5, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
    23. Horowitz, Leah & Palaniswamy, Nethra, 2010. "In pursuit of votes: The capture of the allocation of local public goods by the central state in Ghana," IFPRI discussion papers 1039, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    24. Kikeri, Sunita & Kenyon,Thomas & Palmade, Vincent, 2006. "Reforming the investment climate : lessons for practitioners," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3986, The World Bank.
    25. Srivastava, Vivek & Larizza, Marco, 2012. "Working with the grain for reforming the public service : a live example from Sierra Leone," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6152, The World Bank.

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