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Jel Classification:H76 

Clientelistic Politics and Pro-Poor Targeting: Rules versus Discretionary Budgets

Past research has provided evidence of clientelistic politics in delivery of program benefits by local governments (gram panchayats (GPs)), and manipulation of GP program budgets by legislators and elected officials at upper tiers in West Bengal, India. Using household panel survey data spanning 1998-2008, we examine the consequences of clientelism for distributive equity. We find that targeting of anti-poverty programs was progressive both within and across GPs, and is explained by greater 'vote responsiveness' of poor households to receipt of welfare benefits. Across-GP allocations were ...
Staff Report , Paper 624

Working Paper
Black Mayors and Crime

Local elections are often contested on the grounds of public safety, but do elected officials have any power to curb crime? Black mayors have particular interest in the issue because Black communities are victimized by high levels of crime and fragile police community relations. Using data on elections of first-time Black mayors, I find that police forces add more Black officers, a finding that is especially true for mayors with executive authority. Officers arrest 48 fewer potential Black offenders per 10,000 Black residents for crimes where they have the ability to exercise discretion, a ...
Working Papers , Paper 23-27

Online Appendix for: How Do Voters Respond to Welfare vis-à-vis Public Good Programs? An Empirical Test for Clientelism

This appendix accompanies Staff Report 605: How Do Voters Respond to Welfare vis-à-vis Public Good Programs? An Empirical Test for Clientelism.
Staff Report , Paper 638

Discussion Paper
Sheltering in Place? A Closer Look at Pandemic Rental Instability in Six Southeastern States

From a federal policy standpoint, the plan to stabilize renter households through the COVID-19 pandemic hinged on two actions: the implementation of a nationwide eviction moratorium and the disbursement of emergency rental assistance. This plan relied on four key expectations. First, a federal eviction moratorium was expected to prevent the displacement of renters during the pandemic. Second, it was anticipated that rental relief funds needed to quickly reach households in need to offset growing arrearages. Third, it was assumed that working members of renter households would resume their ...
FRB Atlanta Community and Economic Development Discussion Paper , Paper 2

How Do Voters Respond to Welfare vis-à-vis Public Good Programs? An Empirical Test for Clientelism

This paper examines allocation of benefits under local government programs in West Bengal, India to isolate patterns consistent with political clientelism. Using household survey data, we find that voters respond positively to private welfare benefits but not to local public good programs, while reporting having benefited from both. Consistent with the voting patterns, shocks to electoral competition induced by exogenous redistricting of villages resulted in upper-tier governments manipulating allocations across local governments only for welfare programs. Through the lens of a hierarchical ...
Staff Report , Paper 605


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