The paper “Electronic voting and public spending: the impact of de facto enfranchisement on federal budget amendments in Brazil” has been published in the Journal of Applied Economics.
The paper, coauthored with Rodrigo Schneider (Skidmore College) and Diloá Athias (Development Pathways), presents evidence that the increase in valid-vote-to-turnout in a municipality that resulted from the implementation of electronic vote in Brazil yielded an increase in the allocation of funds from the federal budget to the correponding municipality.
The article has open-access. Please read the entire paper here:
Please find below the abstract:
This article examines whether an increase in political participation biased toward low-income voters – and concentrated in legislative elections – impacts federal representatives’ allocation of resources from the federal budget to Brazilian municipalities. We use a regression discontinuity design that exploits the assignment of electronic voting to municipalities based on population size to identify the causal effect of enfranchisement on the allocation of federal public spending. We find that an increase of 1 percentage point in the valid-vote-to-turnout ratio for federal representatives in a municipality increases the allocation of funds from the federal budget by 3.3%, and that experienced politicians are more responsive to the enfranchisement of low-income voters.
(2020). Electronic voting and public spending: the impact of de facto enfranchisement on federal budget amendments in Brazil, Journal of Applied Economics 23(1): 299-315. DOI: 10.1080/15140326.2020.1748358
In 2019 another paper on the effect of electronic voting in Brazil was published in Economics of Governance. The article, also coauthored with Rodrigo Schneider (Skidmore College) and Diloá Athias (Development Pathways), find evidence that the increase in valid-vote-to-turnout ratio due to electronic voting for state representatives increased municipalities’ expenditures in health, education and public employment, among other fiscal effects.
The article’s title is: “Does enfranchisement affect fiscal policy? Theory and empirical evidence on Brazil” and it can be found here:
Please read below the abstract:
This paper studies the effect of political participation on public spending at the local level in Brazil. In particular, we look at the phased-in implementation of electronic voting in the late 1990s—which enfranchised poorer voters by decreasing the number of invalid votes—to identify the causal effect of political participation on public spending. We build a theoretical political economy model which allows voters to cast, not purposefully, an invalid vote, and show that when poorer voters’ likelihood of casting a valid vote increases, public social spending increases as well. We test this prediction empirically using a difference-in-differences model where municipalities using electronic voting constitute our treatment group. We find that an increase of 1 percentage point in the valid vote to turnout ratio for state representatives increases health spending by 1.8%; education by 1.4%; public employment by 1.25%; intergovernmental transfers by 1%; and local taxes by 2.6%.
Schneider, Rodrigo; Athias, Diloá; Bugarin, Mauricio (2019). Does enfranchisement affect fiscal policy? Theory and empirical evidence on Brazil. Economics of Governance 20(4): 389–412.