Argentina: Does Electoral Accountability Make a Difference?

picture by Andrea Jara S on Flickr

Does Electoral Accountability Make a Difference? Direct Elections, Career Ambition, and Legislative Performance in the Argentine Senate

By Juan Pablo Micozzi

The Journal of Politics, Vol. 75, No. 1, January 2013

Studies analyzing the American Congress demonstrate that senators’ attention towards voters substantially increased after the 17 th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which replaced their indirect appointment with direct election. Even though this finding seems useful for theoretical generalizations, expectations become unclear as concerns about career perspectives differ. Should politicians with non-static ambition shift their attention towards voters if they do not expect reelection? Making use of a quasi-experimental setting, I analyze the impact of the shift from indirect to direct election to select the members of the Argentine Senate. I develop an argument for why, in spite of the lack of systematic pursuit of reelection, elected senators have incentives to be more oriented towards voters. Through the analysis of about 55,000 bills, I evaluate senatorial behavior under both sources of legitimacy. The findings support the idea that audience costs make a difference in behavior, regardless of short-term career expectations.

Read full paper here.

High-Frequency Data Using Mobile Phones: Incentives and Accountability

Great research note  [PDF] by Croke et al. (2012). Here’s the abstract:

As mobile phone ownership rates have risen dramatically in Africa, there has been increased interest in using mobile telephones as a data collection platform. This note draws on two largely successful pilot projects in Tanzania and South Sudan that used mobile phones for high-frequency data collection. Data were collected on a wide range of topics and in a manner that was cost-effective, flexible, and rapid. Once households were included in the survey, they tended to stick with it: respondent fatigue has not been a major issue. While attrition and nonresponse have been challenges in the Tanzania survey, these were due to design flaws in that particular survey, challenges that can be avoided in future similar projects. Ensuring use of the data to demand better service delivery and policy decisions turned out to be as challenging as collecting the high-quality data. Experiences in Tanzania suggest that good data can be translated into public accountability, but also demonstrate that just putting data out in the public domain is not enough. This note discusses lessons learned and offers suggestions for future applications of mobile phone surveys in developing countries, such as those planned for the World Bank’s “Listening to Africa” initiative.

Of particular interest to me is the fact that part of the design used financial incentives as a means to reduce nonresponse and attrition rates. In the technology and development world there has been lots of talk about “incentives to participate”, where the practical shortcut is often the provision of financial incentives. In Tanzania, for instance, the authors report that “respondents who successfully completed an interview were rewarded with an amount varying from $2 to $4”, not a negligible sum in the Tanzanian context.

Interestingly, in the working paper [PDF] from which this note is drawn, a footnote sheds some light on how effective these rewards were:

Remarkably in both Sudan and Tanzania the amount of the reward did not have a discernable impact on response rates.

But these findings are not as surprising as they may seem. Indeed, there is a good deal of evidence from behavioural economics pointing out that financial incentives might not work as well as traditional economics (and economists) would predict.

And a noteworthy excerpt on the limits of transparency and the role of existing institutions and actors:

One lesson is that  providing citizens with relevant, timely, and accurate data  about the actions of politicians, policy makers, and public service providers is not sufficient. For the data to have impact, they need to be accessible and disseminated widely, and in ways that allow them to be utilized by already existing institutions and actors.

This is an interesting point, although I am not sure to what extent existing institutions are enough. In the field of technology and governance, I believe that it has become quite clear that very little is achieved when technological solutions are not coupled with institutional innovations.

But that’s another story. In any case, a great read, and the type of effort that is badly needed in this space.

My Reading Suggestions (Part One)

Fundação Biblioteca Nacional

Tom Steinberg asked me for a list of my favorite recent reads. So here’s the first part of a rather disorganized list of readings and other resources, with sporadic comments on why I like some of them. The list is heterogeneous in terms of subject, method and quality. In my opinion, the common denominator among the different resources is their relevance for those working at the intersection of participation and technology.


There is definitely a lot of bad reading out there about collective intelligence.   Indeed, many of the discussions and papers out there are nothing more than half-baked re-readings of ideas and concepts well established in the field of epistemic democracy. But there are a few exceptions. Acquainting myself with Hélène’s awesome work in the domain was one of the highlights for me in 2012. Here’s a sample:

Landemore, Hélène E., Democratic Reason: The Mechanisms of Collective Intelligence in Politics (April 1, 2011). COLLECTIVE WISDOM: PRINCIPLES AND MECHANISMS, Hélène Landemore and Jon Elster, eds., Cambridge University Press, Spring 2012.

You can find more of Hélène’s work here

Also, if you are interested in high-level talks and discussions about collective intelligence, the videos of conferences below are some of the best things out there:

Collective Intelligence Conference (Video)

College de France – Collective Intelligence (Video) 

Epistemic Democracy Conference (Video) 


Miller, J & Page, S 2004, ‘The Standing Ovation Problem’, COMPLEXITY, vol. 9, no. 5, pp. 8-16.

Bond, R. M., C. J. Fariss, J. J. Jones, A. D. I. Kramer, C. Marlow, J. E. Settle, and J. H. Fowler.  2012. “A 61-Million-Person Experiment in Social Influence and Political Mobilization.”  Nature 489: 295–298.

S. Gonzalez-Bailon, J. Borge-Holthoefer, A. Rivero, and Y. Moreno. The Dynamics of Protest Recruitment through an Online Network. Nature, December 2011.

Margetts, Helen Zerlina, John, Peter, Reissfelder, Stephane and Hale, Scott A., Social Influence and Collective Action: An Experiment Investigating the Effects of Visibility and Social Information Moderated by Personality (April 18, 2012).  

Hale, Scott A. and Margetts, Helen Zerlina, Understanding the Mechanics of Online Collective Action Using ‘Big Data’ (March 22, 2012).


David Lazer is the co-author of two of these papers. If you don’t know it already, Stuart Shulman’s work is definitely worth checking out. Thamy Pogrebinschi is probably one of the people to look out for in the coming years in the field of participatory democracy.

Lazer, David, Sokhey, Anand E., Neblo, Michael A. and Esterling, Kevin M., Deliberative Ripples: The Network Effects of Political Events (August 10, 2010).

Neblo, Michael A., Esterling, Kevin M., Kennedy, Ryan, Lazer, David and Sokhey, Anand E., Who Wants to Deliberate – and Why? (September 15, 2009). HKS Working Paper No. RWP09-027.

Stuart W. Shulman, 2009. “The case against mass e–mails: Perverse incentives and low quality public participation in U.S. federal rulemaking,” Policy & Internet, volume 1, number 1, article 2.

Pogrebinschi, Thamy, The Squared Circle of Participatory Democracy: Scaling-up Deliberation to the National Level (2012). APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper. 


Largely unknown even among the most enthusiastic participation advocates, there is a growing body of literature in the field of tax morale that links citizen engagement to reduced tax evasion: one of the best cases for the ROI of Open Government.  Below is one of the best papers in the field.

Frey, Bruno S., and Lars P. Feld (2002) “Deterrence and Morale in Taxation: An Empirical Analysis.” CESifo Working Paper no. 760, August 2002

You can find more references about tax morale here. Alex Howard gives a good account of how this might be happening in the DR Congo, helped by mobile phones (a project I’m part of).

And if the subject is the ROI of open government, here’s a paper that links participatory budgeting to reduced infant mortality (and there’s more to be published on that front soon).


If I were to make any predictions for 2013, I would say we will start to see a growing number of studies using randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to assess the validity of claims for transparency and participation. Indeed, some donors in the open government space have already started to ask for RCT evaluations as a project component. Here are a couple of examples of how good studies on the subject would look (IMHO):

Olken, B. 2010. Direct Democracy and Local Public Goods: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia. American Political Science Review, 104, pp 243-267

Zhang, K. 2012. “Increasing Citizen Demand for Good Government in Kenya”. Stanford University. 

Of course, scholars, practitioners and donors should take claims about the awesomeness of RCTs with a good grain of salt (and pepper):

Deaton, A. 2008. Instruments of development? Randomization in the tropics, and the hunt for the keys to development. Princeton University mimeo.

Cartwright, N. 2007. “Are RCTs the gold standard?” Biosocieties, 2, 11–20.


Rothschild, David and Justin Wolfers. 2011. “Forecasting Elections: Voter Intentions versus Expectations.” Working paper, University of Pennsylvania.

Gomez, Brad T., Thomas G. Hansford, and George A. Krause. 2007. “The Republicans Should Pray for Rain: Weather, Turnout, and Voting in U.S. Presidential Elections.” Journal of Politics 69 (August): 649–63.

This is just the first part of a longer list. I hope to finish a second part soon, focusing – among other things – on the (uneasy) intersection of behavioural economics and participatory democracy.

Happy reading.

13 New Articles on Participatory Budgeting

A band inaugurates a public work selected through participatory budgeting in Brazil (picture by Prefeitura de Olinda on Flickr).

The new issue of the Journal of Public Deliberation (Volume 8, Issue 2 – 2012) presents 13 new articles on participatory budgeting. Edited by Janette Hartz-Karpz (Curtin University) and Brian Wampler (Boise State University) “This special issue of the Journal of Public Deliberation brings together leading scholars expand our conceptual tools to understand why PB programs are being adopted, how governments are adapting the rules and principles to meet different policy and political goals, and the impact of PB on civil society, state reform, and social well-being.”

Below links to the articles:

Transnational Models of Citizen Participation: The Case of Participatory Budgeting
Yves Sintomer, Carsten Herzberg, Anja Röcke, and Giovanni Allegretti

Corruption and the Limits of Electoral Accountability

Picture by watchsmart on flickr.

Interesting new paper looking at electoral accountability in 74 countries

Corruption and Accountability: “Throwing the Bums Out” Does Not Work.

By Crisp, Potter, Olivella and Mishler (November 2012)


Many theories of democracy stress the concept of accountability. Voters reward or punish elected ocials by extending or ending their political careers. Seeking the long-term reward of reelection, officials avoid the short-term benefits of corruption that would put them at risk of early electoral defeat. This good behavior, in turn, leads to voter loyalty and reelection. Previous studies of electoral volatility and political corruption, however, have not tested this reciprocal relationship with an appropriate empirical model. In this paper, we employ a bivariate normal model to assess the effects of malfeasance on voter loyalty and, conversely, of voter defection on subsequent malfeasance. We test these relationships on data drawn from 249 elections across 74 countries. Our results show that malfeasance does indeed provoke voter defection, but that electoral volatility is not followed by lower levels of perceived corruption. We discuss the importance of these novel results for the emerging literature on clarity of responsibility.

Some excerpts from the conclusion (highlights are mine):

According to the standard theory, voters hold elected ocials accountable for their performance in oce by voting out of office anyone suspected of corrupt behavior. This presumably purges government of the worst officials, reminds continuing representatives of the voters’ power, and signals to newly elected officials that they ought to behave more virtuously than their predecessors. The empirical evidence we have reported is reassuring of the standard model in only one respect. It clearly shows that voters respond appropriately to perceived corruption by throwing legislators out of office. Nevertheless, the observation that increasing volatility does not reduce perceived corruption undermines a central assumption of retrospective accountability theory: namely, that the replacement of corrupt officials creates a virtuous cycle where corruption and volatility are mutually reinforcing and spiral ever lower in tandem with one another.

The absence of any impact of volatility on perceived corruption means either that legislators do not alter their behavior in the short run in response to the signal provided by vote volatility, or that politicians do respond, but their change in behavior is not immediately perceived by voters who continue to punish newly elected legislators for the sins of their predecessors. Distinguishing between these possibilities, empirically, requires data on actual legislative corruption, which is not available. Nevertheless, weighing the two scenarios, in our estimation the second seems more plausible. In our data set, voter perceptions of legislative corruption appear highly viscous in that they do not vary much over time. Corruption is covert and hard for voters to recognize. When they do perceive corruption, voters respond appropriately by throwing the bums out of oce. But because corruption is covert, it is equally dicult for voters to know if newly elected legislators are really better behaved or whether the corruption of new members simply has not yet been exposed.

In the absence of visible evidence to the contrary, voters have no reason to update their perceptions and treat the new legislators any differently than the old ones. Rather than creating a virtuous cycle, this creates instead a low-level equilibrium trap. Voter perceptions of corruption give rise to higher levels of volatility, but because higher volatility has no systematic impact on subsequent perceptions of corruption, continuing perceptions of corruption are likely to sustain those higher levels of volatility, thereby threatening the re-election prospects of newly elected legislators regardless of their behavior. Our inability to find an effect of vote volatility on corruption by distinguishing quality democracies from low-grade ones (with an interaction with the country’s Polity score) lends support to the idea that the failure of punishment to alter (perceptions of) corruption is not limited to some subset of delegative, authoritarian, or otherwised adjective-laden set of democracies.

Putting these findings in the broader context of the open government agenda, I can’t help but wonder about the limits of transparency in the absence of additional accountability mechanisms.

Read the full paper here [PDF].

Institute for Local Government’s Public Engagement Program





The Institute for Local Government’s Public Engagement program offers resources and support to help local officials and their communities design and carry out effective and inclusive public engagement activities. Topics include:

Public Engagement Basics

Broadening Participation

Difficult Situations in Public Engagement

Public Engagement Topic Areas

Measuring Success

Online Public Engagement & Technology

Sustaining Public Engagement

Myths and realities about effective civil society participation, transparency and accountability

picture by Video Volunteers(VV) on flickr

picture by Video Volunteers(VV) on flickr

By María González de Asis  & Barak D. Hoffman

Participatory development is a growing focus of donor development policies. Over the past decade, the World Bank alone has allocated approximately $75 billion for these types of initiatives (Mansuri and Rao 2011) and other development partners are also allocating large sums of money in this area. Interest in participatory development derives in part from understanding that poor development outcomes often result from bad governance and lack of citizen empowerment. Participatory development seeks to remedy these weaknesses by having people take an active role in community development and by creating demand for good governance (DFGG). The World Bank defines DFGG as the capacity of “citizens to hold the state accountable and make it responsive to their needs” (World Bank 2011: 3). Participatory development seeks to reduce poverty directly through engaging citizens in the design and implementation of development projects, and indirectly through encouraging improved governance at the national and local level.A large body of research exists on the outcomes of participatory development projects. Their impact is mixed. In general, programs appear more successful at developing citizen awareness and empowerment than at influencing development outcomes, either directly or indirectly. At the same time, we are gaining a better idea of what works and what does not, and how to design more effective strategies. This paper provides an overview of the theory, practice, and outcome of donor efforts to support participatory development.

Read the full paper here [PDF].

Accountability of Local and State Governments in India: an Overview of Recent Research

Picture by Bryce Edwards on Flickr.

Picture by Bryce Edwards on Flickr.

By Dilip Mookherjee (2012)

The lecture is organized as follows. The next section will start by discussing the notion of accountability, followed by an introduction to the Downsian theory of electoral competition. This serves as a convenient departure point for classifying di erent sources of accountability failures in actual political systems. Subsequent sections deal with each of these in turn: limited voter participation and awareness; ideology, honesty and competence of political parties and electoral candidates; capture by elites; clientelism and vote-buying. Each section starts by explaining the relevant departure from the Downsian framework, and then reviews available empirical evidence in the Indian context for each of these possible distortions’,besides effects of related policy interventions. The fi nal section summarizes the lessons learnt, and the fresh questions that they raise.

Read full paper here [PDF].

The Benefits of Citizen Engagement: a (Brief) Review of the Evidence

Picture by neotint on flickr.

(I am working on a brief literature review on the benefits of participation, focusing on its different types of impact. Most of it (but not entirely) relates to participatory budgeting. Below are a few of the sections covered and a rough draft. Ideas and suggestions for topic coverage and literature (preferably peer-reviewed) are more than welcome.)


As shown in a cross-national analysis by Torgler & Schneider (2009), citizens are more willing to pay taxes when they perceive that their preferences are properly taken into account by public institutions. Along these lines, the existing evidence suggests the existence of a causal relationship between citizen participation processes and levels of tax compliance. For instance, studies show that Swiss cantons with higher levels of democratic participation present lower tax evasion rates, even when controlling for other factors. This effect is particularly strong when it comes to direct citizen participation in budgetary decisions, i.e. fiscal referendum (Frey & Feld 2002, Frey et al. 2004, Torgler 2005). In the Latin American context, a number of authors have observed a similar relationship with regard to participatory budgeting processes. In the municipality of Porto Alegre (BR) for instance, Schneider and Baquero (2006) show that the adoption of PB led to a substantive increase in tax revenues. In a similar vein, a comparative study of 25 municipalities in Latin America and Europe finds a significant reduction in levels of tax delinquency after the adoption of PB (Cabannes 2004: 36). In another study Zamboni (2007) compares the performance of similar Brazilian municipalities with and without PB processes: even when controlling for other factors, the study finds a significant relationship between the existence of PB and the reduction of tax evasion.

Some evidence suggests that participation may be even more effective at curbing tax evasion than traditional deterrence measures, such as fines and controls. At odds with conventional economic reasoning, the literature in the field of “tax morale” suggests that citizen participation actually comes across as a better remedy for tax evasion than commonly adopted deterrence policies (e.g. Torgler 2005, Feld & Frey 2007, Feld & Torgler 2007) .


According to a study by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) on the PB process in Rio Grande do Sul state, “PB has promoted a redistributive development model while improving budgetary planning and efficiency” (Schneider & Goldfrank 2002, p. iii). From an efficiency point of view, the study observes that the PB process improved governmental capacity to allocate funds across governmental divisions (e.g. secretariats) to enact planned projects. For instance, with the implementation of PB, the rate of completion of budgeted education projects increased from an average of 62.5% to 82.5% (Schneider & Goldfrank 2002) . The implementation of PB also increased the planning capacity of the state, leading to a budget that better forecast the revenue receipts, with the government actually spending amounts systematically closer to the planned expenses (Schneider & Goldfrank 2002).

Another study on the municipality of Porto Alegre shows that prior to the implementation of the PB process, no more than two percent of the municipal budget was dedicated to investment, with most of the budget allocated to personnel expenses. Five years later, the combination of increased tax revenues and efficiency gains – engendered by the PB process – led to a tenfold increase in the percentage of investments (Baiocchi 2003). Finally, as shown by Zamboni’s (2007) quantitative study, even when controlling for other factors, municipalities that adopt PB processes are better managed and present less financial irregularities (e.g. corruption) than those without PB.

The elements highlighted above lead to another question regarding the extent to which citizen engagement leads to more targeted and evidence-based allocation of resources. The literature dealing with citizen participation primarily approaches this issue by considering the extent to which participatory processes lead to an inversion of priorities and to increased social justice. In this respect, the available evidence suggests that participatory budgeting leads to significant shifts in priorities and policies, towards expenditures that directly benefit poor sections of society (Avritzer 1999, Navarro 2001, Blore et al. 2004). In a similar vein, quantitative analysis by Baiocchi et al. (2006) finds that participatory budgeting is strongly associated with a reduction in extreme poverty and increased access to basic services. More recently, a World Bank report demonstrated that participatory budgeting bears a statistically significant impact on a number of social indicators. Amongst others, the authors of the report find that PB is positively and strongly associated with improvements in poverty rates and water services (World Bank 2008).


The relationship between participatory budgeting and increased trust and legitimacy draws from a well-established body of literature dealing with issues of citizen participation, social capital and trust in government. It is widely known that citizen engagement leads to increased levels of trust in institutions: this holds true even when controlling for other factors (Brehm & Rahn 1997, Keele 2007, Tampubolon 2010) . Indeed, in some cases, one of the strongest effects of participatory processes is precisely that of increased trust in institutions (Altschuller & Corrales 2009).

The understanding that PB reduces implementation hurdles draws both from broader literature dealing with policy implementation and from the specific experience of PB itself. In a more general perspective, the evidence from experimental settings suggests that decisions made democratically lead to better cooperative models, mitigating problems of free-riding and facilitating subsequent policy implementation (Ertan et al. 2009, Dal Bó et al. 2010). Beyond experiments in controlled environments, the case for increased participation in decision-making processes – as a means to reduce implementation drawbacks – has been made in fields as diverse as those of economic reforms (Frieden 1991), agriculture policies (Bardhan 2000) and workplace decisions (Black & Lynch 2001). For PB the evidence is by no means different: as the outcome of an inclusive decision-making process, the implementation of PB decisions has been documented as less subject to elite capture and clientelist exchanges (Wampler 2001). The literature has also demonstrated the substantive popular support enjoyed by public works and services selected through the PB process, with local communities often collaborating with supplementary personnel, financial and material resources in order to increase the resources available for the implementation of PB projects (Cabannes 2004).

Altschuller, D., Corrales, J. (2009) “The Spillover Effects of Participation in Development Projects: Evidence from Honduras and Guatemala.” Working paper, CCEUP.

Avritzer, L. (1999) “Public Deliberation at the Local Level: Participatory Budgeting in Brazil.” Paper delivered at the Experiments for Deliberative Democracy Conference, Wisconsin January, 2000

Baiocchi, G. (2003) “Radicals in Power: The Workers Party and Experiments in Urban Democracy in Brazil.” London: Zed.

Baiocchi, G.; Heller, P.; Chaudhuri, S. and Kunrath Silva, M. (2006) “Evaluating Empowerment: Participatory Budgeting in Brazilian Municipalities”, in R. Alsop, M. Frost Bertelsen and J. Holland (eds), Empowerment in Practice: From Analysis to Implementation, Washington: World Bank

Bardhan, P. (2000) “Irrigation and Cooperation: An Empirical Analysis of 48 Irrigation Communities in South India.” Economic Development and Cultural Change, 48(4): 847–65.

Black, S., M. Lynch (2001) “How to Compete: The Impact of Workplace Practices and Information Technology on Productivity.” Review of Economics and Statistics, 83(3): 434–45.

Blore, I., Devas, N. and Staler (2004) “Municipalities and Finance: a sourcebook for Capacity Building.” Earthscan, London.

Brehm J, Rahn W. (1997) “Individual-level evidence for the causes and consequences of social capital.” American Journal of Political Science. Vol.41:999- 1023.

Cabannes, Y (2004) “Participatory budgeting: a significant contribution to participatory democracy”. Environment and Urbanization 16(1): 27-46

Dal Bó, P., A. Foster, and L. Putterman (2010) “Institutions and Behavior: Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Democracy” American Economic Review 100: 2205–2229

Ertan A., Talbot P., and L. Putterman (2009) “Who to Punish? Individual Decisions and Majority Rule in Mitigating the Free Rider Problem.” European Economic Review, 53(5): 495–511.

Feld, L. and Torgler, B. (2007) “Tax Morale After the Reunification of Germany: Results from a Quasi-Natural Experiment.” CESifo Working Paper No. 1921.

Feld, L.P., and B.S. Frey (2007) “Tax Compliance as the Result of a Psychological Tax Contract: The Role of Incentives and Responsive Regulation”, Law and Policy 29: 102–20.

Frieden, Jeffry (1991) “Debt, Development, and Democracy: Modern Political Economy and Latin America, 1965-1985.” Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Frey, Bruno S., Matthias Benz, and Alois Stutzer (2004) “Introducing Procedural Utility: Not Only What, but Also How Matters.” Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, 160(3): 377–401.

Frey, Bruno S., and Lars P. Feld (2002) “Deterrence and Morale in Taxation: An Empirical Analysis.” CESifo Working Paper no. 760, August 2002.

Gaventa, J. & Barret, G. (2010) “So what difference does it make? Mapping the outcomes of citizen engagement”. IDS Working Paper, 347, 1-74.

Goldfrank, Benjamin (2006) “Lessons from Latin American Experience in Participatory Budgeting.” Paper presented at the Latin American Studies Association Meeting. San Juan, Puerto Rico, March 2006.

Keele,L. (2007) “Social Capital and the Dynamics of Trust in Government”,American Journal of Political Science,Vol.51,No.2:241-257.

Navarro, Z. (2001) “Decentralization, Participation and Social Control of Public Resources: “Participatory Budgeting” In Porto Alegre (Brazil).” Development, 41(3), 68–71

Schneider, A. and B. Goldfrank. (2002) ‘Budgets and ballots in Brazil: participatory budgeting from the city to the state’, IDS Working Paper 149. Brighton: IDS.

Schneider, A. and M. Baquero (2006) “Get What You Want, Give What You Can: Embedded Public Finance in Porto Alegre.” Brighton: Institute of Development Studies.

Tampubolon, G. (2010) “Civic engagement and trust in Britain 2003-2004.” ISC Working Paper 2010-14, Manchester University.

Torgler, B. (2005) “Tax morale and Direct Democracy.” European Journal of Political Economy 21, pp. 525 – 531.

Torgler, B. and F. Schneider (2009) “The impact of tax morale and institutional quality on the shadow economy.” Journal of Economic Psychology, 30(2). pp. 228-245.

Varma, K. N., & Doob, A. N. (1998) “Deterring economic crimes: the case of tax evasion”. Canadian Journal of Criminology, 40, 165–184.

Wampler, B (2004) “Expanding Accountability Through Participatory Institutions: Mayors, Citizens, and Budgeting in Three Brazilian Municipalities,” Latin AmericanPolitics & Society, 46:2.

World Bank Report (2008). “Brazil: toward a more inclusive and effective participatory budget in Porto Alegre.” Report No. 40144-BR.

Zamboni, Yves. 2007. “Participatory Budgeting and Local Governance: An evidence based evaluation of participatory budgeting experiences in Brazil.” Working Paper, Bristol University.

Has Democratization Reduced Infant Mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa?

picture by Teseum on flickr.

Masayuki Kudamatsu (2006)

Does democracy help babies survive in sub-Saharan Africa? By using retrospective fertility surveys conducted in 28 African countries, I compare the survival of infants born to the same mother before and after democratization to identify the effect of democracy. In measuring democracy, I adopt a theoretically motivated definition of democracy: universal suffrage and contested elections for executive office. I find that infant mortality falls by 1.8 percentage points, 18 percent of the sample mean, after democratization. The size of the reduction is larger for babies born to mothers from disadvantaged groups. I also find that the replacement of a chief executive by democratization is the driving force behind these results. Additional evidence suggests that improvements in public health service delivery, not an increase in affluence, are the key mechanism in which democratization has reduced infant mortality.

Download [PDF] here.