World Bank policy research working paper: vote buying and supply of public services in the Philippines

A recent World Bank study, Buying Votes vs Supplying Public Services: Political Incentives to Under-Invest in Pro-Poor Policies,

using unique survey data, provide, for the first time in the literature, direct evidence that vote buying in poor economies is associated with lower provision of public services that disproportionately benefit the poor. The data come from the Philippines, a country context that allows for measuring vote buying during elections and services delivered by the administrative unit controlled by winners of those elections.

The data reveal a significant, robust negative correlation between vote buying and the delivery of primary health services. In places where households report more vote buying, government records show that municipalities invest less in basic health services for mothers and children; and, quite strikingly, as a summary measure of weak service delivery performance, a higher percentage of children are severely under-weight.

Read the full paper here.

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