Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil's Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes

51 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2007  

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: June 2007

Abstract

This paper examines whether access to information enhances political accountability. Based upon the results of Brazil's recent anti-corruption program that randomly audits municipal expenditures of federally-transferred funds, it estimates the effects of the disclosure of local government corruption practices upon the re-election success of incumbent mayors. Comparing municipalities audited before and after the elections, we show that the audit policy reduced the incumbent's likelihood of re-election by approximately 20 percent, and was more pronounced in municipalities with radio stations. These findings highlight the value of information and the role of the media in reducing informational asymmetries in the political process.

Keywords: corruption, political agency, transparency, information

JEL Classification: D72, D78, H41, O17

Suggested Citation

Ferraz, Claudio and Finan, Frederico, Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil's Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes (June 2007). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2836. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=997867

Claudio Ferraz

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 (Contact Author)

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

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