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Ignorance is bliss: voter education and alignment in distributive politics

Federico Boffa, Francisco Cavalcanti () and Amedeo Piolatto

No 2021/07, Working Papers from Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB)

Abstract: Central politicians channel resources to sub-national entities for political gains. We show formally that the central politicians' allocation decision has two drivers: political alignment (between central and local politicians) and the level of local political accountability. However, drivers count one at a time: alignment matters before local elections, while local political accountability matters before central elections. We then perform a test of our model using Brazilian data, which corroborates our results. Furthermore, we show and explain why political accountability becomes a curse: better educated districts receive fewer transfers in equilibrium.

Keywords: Federalism; Distributive Politics; Partisan Alignment; Voters' Knowledge; Political Accountability; Brazil (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 H11 H7 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 50 pages
Date: 2021
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