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American Economic Journal: Economic Policy: Vol. 3 No. 2 (May 2011)

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Manipulation of Social Program Eligibility

Article Citation

Camacho, Adriana, and Emily Conover. 2011. "Manipulation of Social Program Eligibility." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 3(2): 41-65.

DOI: 10.1257/pol.3.2.41

Abstract

We document how manipulation of a targeting system for social welfare programs evolves over time. First, there was strategic behavior of some local politicians in the timing of the household interviews around local elections. Then, there was corrupt behavior with the sudden emergence of a sharp discontinuity in the score density, exactly at the eligibility threshold, which coincided with the release of the score algorithm to local officials. The discontinuity at the threshold is larger where mayoral elections are more competitive. While cultural forces are surely relevant for corruption, our results also highlight the importance of information and incentives. (JEL D72, I32, I38, O15, O17).

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Authors

Camacho, Adriana (U Los Andes)
Conover, Emily (Hamilton College)

JEL Classifications

D72: Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
I32: Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
I38: Welfare and Poverty: Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
O15: Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
O17: Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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