NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Maurizio Mazzocco

Department of Economics
UC, Los Angeles
Bunche Hall 8377
Los Angeles, CA 90095

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of California at Los Angeles

NBER Working Papers and Publications

January 2016Electoral Incentives and the Allocation of Public Funds
with Frederico Finan: w21859
It is widely believed that politicians allocate public resources in ways to maximize political gains. But what is less clear is whether this comes at a cost to welfare; and if so, whether alternative electoral rules can help reduce these costs. In this paper, we address both of these questions by modeling and estimating politicians' decisions to allocate public funds. We use data from Brazil's federal legislature, which grants each federal legislator a budget to fund public projects in his state. We find that 26 percent of the public funds are distorted relative to a social planner's allocation. We then use the model to simulate several potential policies reforms to the electoral system, including adopting approval voting and implementing term limits. We find that an approval voting system...
 
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