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Title Can Politicians Police Themselves? Natural Experimental Evidence from Brazil’s Audit Courts
Post date 11/01/2014
C1 Background and Explanation of Rationale

To improve government accountability, policymakers and reformers have advocated the creation of auditing institutions that can monitor and punish lawbreaking elected officials. Yet these institutions differ greatly in their willingness to punish corrupt politicians, which is often attributed to variation in audit institutions’ degree of independence from the political branches. In this analysis plan, we propose to test this hypothesis, by taking advantage of a natural experiment embedded in Brazil’s State Audit Courts to study how variation in the political insulation of independent auditors affects political accountability. To do so, we propose examining whether auditors appointed by the executive or the legislative branches punish lawbreaking politicians at lower rates than bureaucrats insulated from political influence. Additionally, we will examine whether appointed auditors exhibit partisan bias in their decisions and whether this bias decays with time. Inferences will have strong internal validity as assignment of auditors to cases occurs by random lottery.

C2 What are the hypotheses to be tested?

See accompanying analysis document for details

C3 How will these hypotheses be tested? *

See accompanying analysis document for details

C4 Country
C5 Scale (# of Units) not provided by authors
C6 Was a power analysis conducted prior to data collection? No
C7 Has this research received Insitutional Review Board (IRB) or ethics committee approval? No
C8 IRB Number not provided by authors
C9 Date of IRB Approval not provided by authors
C10 Will the intervention be implemented by the researcher or a third party? NA
C11 Did any of the research team receive remuneration from the implementing agency for taking part in this research? No
C12 If relevant, is there an advance agreement with the implementation group that all results can be published? No
C13 JEL Classification(s) not provided by authors