NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Local Electoral Incentives and Decentralized Program Performance

Alain de Janvry, Frederico Finan, Elisabeth Sadoulet

NBER Working Paper No. 16635
Issued in December 2010
NBER Program(s):   ED   POL

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 percent 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 get re-elected. These mayors adopted program implementation practices that were not only more transparent but also associated with better program outcomes.

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Published: Alain de Janvry & Frederico Finan & Elisabeth Sadoulet, 2012. "Local Electoral Incentives and Decentralized Program Performance," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 672-685, August.

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