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Research Topics

Government & Democracy


A Structural Model of Electoral Accountability
Drazen, Allan; Vlaicu, Razvan; Aruoba, S. Boragan
Discussion Papers - English - May, 2017

This paper proposes a structural approach to measuring the effects of electoral accountability. A political agency model with imperfect information is modeled in order to identify and quantify discipline and selection effects, using data on U.S. governors. It is found find that the possibility of reelection provides a significant incentive for incumbents to exert effort, that is, a disciplining effect. A positive but weaker selection effect is also found. According to the model, the widely-used two-term regime improves voter welfare by 4.2 percent compared to a one-term regime and better voter information about the effort of governors would further increase voter welfare by up to 0.5 percent.

Related JEL Codes:
D72 - Models of Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
D73 - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
H70 - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations: General


Do Rewards Work? Evidence from the Randomization of Public Works
Scartascini, Carlos; Castro, Edgar; Carrillo, Paul
Working Papers - English - Apr, 2017

This paper evaluates the effect of positive inducements on tax behavior by exploiting a natural experiment in which a municipality of Argentina randomly selected 400 individuals among more than 72,000 taxpayers who had complied with payment of their property tax. These individuals were publicly recognized and awarded the construction of a sidewalk. Results indicate that: i) being selected in the lottery and publicly recognized by the government has a positive but not persistent effect on future compliance; ii) receiving the sidewalk has a large positive and persistent effect; iii) high and persistent spillover effects exist: some neighbors of those who receive the reward comply more too, and these effects can be even larger than the direct effects; and iv) there is no financial motive effect; i.e., people do not pay their taxes just to participate in the lottery. Recognition serves only as a short-term incentive, but the provision of a durable and visible good has more persistent and broader effects. These findings provide evidence on features that make a positive inducement more successful, whether for tax compliance or other policy purposes.

Related JEL Codes:
C93 - Field Experiments
D62 - Externalities
H23 - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
H42 - Publicly Provided Private Goods


How Much Has the Game Changed? Revisiting Policymaking in Latin America a Decade Later
Jones, Mark P.
Working Papers - English - Jan, 2017

In the early 2000s the Inter-American Development Bank launched a visionary and influential research agenda that dramatically improved understanding of the policymaking process (PMP) in Latin America. It did so by detailing the role played by key actors in the PMP and how those actors interacted to produce public policy throughout the region in general, and, via the publication of a volume in English and an updated version in Spanish, in eight countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Venezuela) in particular. This paper reviews the degree to which these eight country-level analyses still accurately portray the actors and their role in the PMP today. It concludes that in a large majority of the countries the analysis is still broadly valid and accurately describes the political institutions and actors who are pivotal for the policymaking game, although in some areas the original analysis would benefit from revision and update.

Related JEL Codes:
D72 - Models of Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
D78 - Positive Analysis of Policy-Making and Implementation


What Capabilities Do the New Innovation and Structural Change Policies in Uruguay Require?
Bianchi, Carlos; Fuentes, Guillermo; Pittaluga, Lucia
Working Papers - Spanish - Nov, 2016

This paper analyzes three organizations that implement productive development policies in Uruguay: (i) the Dirección Nacional de Recursos Naturales Renovables (National Directorate of Renewable Natural Resources); (ii) sectoral councils; and (iii) the Agencia Nacional de Investigación e Innovación (National Agency of Research and Innovation). Selected cases show that during the past decade, there was a major effort to boost productive development policies in Uruguay and build capabilities for that purpose. The paper also takes note of the various institutional designs in organizations that work with productive development policies in that country. Nevertheless, one can conclude that the capacity-building process depends not on the type of organization but on other factors that make up the policy cycle—design, implementation, and consolidation—and getting a rough idea of the target population of that policy. The main challenges in terms of government capabilities in implementing productive development policies relate to building coalitions that better coordinate public action, particularly within the government itself but with the private sector as well.

Related JEL Codes:
H11 - Structure, Scope, and Performance of Government
O25 - Industrial Policy
O38 - Government Policy
Q28 - Government Policy


Vote Buying or Campaign Promises? Electoral Strategies When Party Credibility Is Limited
Hanusch, Marek; Keefer, Philip; Razvan, Vlaicu
Working Papers - English - Jul, 2016

What explains significant variation across countries in the use of vote buying instead of campaign promises to secure voter support? This paper explicitly models the tradeoff parties face between engaging in vote buying and making campaign promises, and explores the distributional consequences of this decision, in a setting where party credibility can vary. When parties are less credible they spend more on vote buying and target vote buying more heavily toward groups that do not believe campaign promises. When political credibility is sufficiently low, some voter groups are targeted only with vote buying and not with promises of post-electoral transfers. Stronger electoral competition reduces rent seeking but increases vote buying. Incumbents may have an advantage in undertaking vote buying; the paper finds that in a dynamic setting the prospect of a future incumbency advantage increases current vote buying.

Related JEL Codes:
D72 - Models of Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
H20 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue: General
H50 - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies: General
O10 - Economic Development: General


Results: 1 - 5 of 172

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