Drought-Reliefs and Partisanship

Open Access       

Authors: Federico Boffa, Francisco Cavalcanti, Christian Fons-Rosen and Amedeo Piolatto

Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, May, 2023

We combine a model of symmetric information with selfish and office-motivated politicians and an Regression Discontinuity Design analysis based on close municipal elections to study partisan bias in the allocation of drought aid relief in Brazil. We identify a novel pattern of distributive politics whereby partisan bias materializes only before municipal elections, while it disappears before presidential elections. Furthermore, before mayoral elections, it fades for extreme (high or low) aridity levels while persisting for moderate levels. Our empirical results show that in this case alignment increases the probability of receiving aid relief by a factor of two (equivalent to 18.1 percentage points).

This paper originally appeared as Barcelona School of Economics Working Paper 1337