Buying Votes vs. Supplying Public Services: Political Incentives to Under-Invest in Pro-Poor Policies

38 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Stuti Khemani

Stuti Khemani

World Bank; World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Date Written: January 1, 2013

Abstract

This paper uses unique survey data to provide, for the first time in the literature, direct evidence that vote buying in poor economies is associated with lower provision of public services that disproportionately benefit the poor. Various features of the data and the institutional context allow the interpretation of this correlation as the equilibrium policy consequence of clientelist politics, ruling out alternate explanations (such as, for example, poverty driving both vote buying and health outcomes). The data come from the Philippines, a country context that allows for measuring vote buying during elections and services delivered by the administrative unit controlled by winners of those elections. The data reveal a significant, robust negative correlation between vote buying and the delivery of primary health services. In places where households report more vote buying, government records show that municipalities invest less in basic health services for mothers and children; and, quite strikingly, as a summary measure of weak service delivery performance, a higher percentage of children are severely under-weight.

Keywords: Health Monitoring & Evaluation, Housing & Human Habitats, Public Sector Corruption & Anticorruption Measures, Municipal Financial Management, Health Systems Development & Reform

Suggested Citation

Khemani, Stuti, Buying Votes vs. Supplying Public Services: Political Incentives to Under-Invest in Pro-Poor Policies (January 1, 2013). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6339. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2208343

Stuti Khemani (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/skhemani

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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