Electoral Accountability and Corruption: Evidence from the Audits of Local Governments

40 Pages Posted: 3 May 2009 Last revised: 8 May 2009

See all articles by Claudio Ferraz

Claudio Ferraz

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics; Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA)

Frederico Finan

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: April 2009

Abstract

Political institutions can affect corruption. We use audit reports from an anti-corruption program in Brazil to construct new measures of political corruption in local governments and test whether electoral accountability affects the corruption practices of incumbent politicians. We find significantly less corruption in municipalities where mayors can get reelected. Mayors with re-election incentives misappropriate 27 percent fewer resources than mayors without re-election incentives. These effects are more pronounced among municipalities with less access to information and where the likelihood of judicial punishment is lower. Overall our findings suggest that electoral rules that enhance political accountability play a crucial role in constraining politician's corrupt behavior.

Suggested Citation

Ferraz, Claudio and Finan, Frederico, Electoral Accountability and Corruption: Evidence from the Audits of Local Governments (April 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w14937, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1397935

Claudio Ferraz (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA) ( email )

Av. Presidente Antonio Carlos 51
16 andar, Castelo
RJ 20020-010 Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
+55 21 3804-8000 (Phone)
+55 21 2240-1920 (Fax)

Frederico Finan

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
70
Abstract Views
947
rank
361,581
PlumX Metrics