The Interplay between Legislature Size and Welfare: Evidence from Brazil

What is the effect of legislature size on human development? While the effect might be positive in countries where institutions work well, adding politicians can be harmful in countries plagued by corruption, clientelism, and other institutional inefficiencies. Using evidence from population discontinuities for city council size in Brazil, preliminary results indicate that additional legislators improve education and health care outcomes, and lower requests for conditional cash transfers. By investigating the mechanism that drives the results, we find that larger legislatures tend to empower the mayors, making it easier for them to implement their agendas.

 

Faculty: Umberto Mignozzetti 

 
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