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Women, Corruption and Politics
- Ugo Troiano Department of Economics, Harvard University
Does gender affect the quality of public policies? Yes, it does. In this paper we provide evidence according to which the quality of public policies is affected by the gender of the politician, using a powerful institutional feature of Brazilian municipalities. We use two different proxies for the quality of public policies. The first measure is the ability to attract discretionary transfers from the federal government. In the Brazilian institutional framework the effort of the municipal administration, and in particular of the mayor, is the main determinant of such transfers. The second measure is a variable reflecting administrative irregularities coded using the Brazilian audit reports. Using Regression Discontinuity (in the sample of mixed gender close elections) to rule out city specific unobserving confounders, we provide evidence that female mayors allure 35% more discretionary transfers and reduce the probability that the city experiences one or more episodes of corruption by 60%. The gender differential disappears in cities with a local radio station, suggesting that higher electoral accountability increases policy-convergence.
This is joint work with Fernanda Brollo (University of Alicante).