Does access to information enhance accountability?

This paper [PDF] 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. 

Ferraz, Claudio, and Frederico Finan. 2008. “Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil’s Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes.” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 123(2): 703–45.

2 thoughts on “Does access to information enhance accountability?

  1. Reblogged this on MIMA Space and commented:
    New report showing the contribution of increased information to accountability- but radio is the key! Information has now power unless it is accessible. A great read.

    • Thanks a lot Jess! It is really an awesome paper, and it deserves as much visibility as possible.

      Following the MIMA Space from now on.

      Cheers,

      Tiago

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