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Local Electoral Incentives and Decentralized Program Performance

Alain de Janvry (), Frederico Finan () and Elisabeth Sadoulet ()

The Review of Economics and Statistics, 2012, vol. 94, issue 3, 672-685

Abstract: This paper analyzes how electoral incentives affected the performance of a major decentralized conditional cash transfer program intended on reducing school dropout rates among children of poor households in Brazil. We show that while this federal program successfully reduced school dropout by 8 percentage points, the program's impact was 36% larger in municipalities governed by mayors who faced reelection possibilities compared to those with lame-duck mayors. First-term mayors with good program performance were much more likely to be reelected. These mayors adopted program implementation practices that were not only more transparent but also associated with better program outcomes. © 2012 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Keywords: decentralization; electoral incentives; conditional cash transfer; impact evaluation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D78 H43 I28 O15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012
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