Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Successful Social Programs over Local Political Cycles

Pan, Yao and You, Jing (2020): Successful Social Programs over Local Political Cycles.

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We identify the effect of the relative timing of program introduction to local elections on service delivery. Exploring randomized provision of a credit program in China and variations in local political cycles, we find villages introducing the program before elections experience higher take-up rates, better targeting of the poor, and improved welfare, all of which are achieved without compromising the program’s financial sustainability. Examining implementation phase-by-phase shows better-designed program practices and greater efforts made by local politicians are plausible contributors to enhanced program impacts. These findings are consistent with incentives to implement well rather than buying votes under election pressure.

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