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Title:Essays in public policy and social outcomes in Brazil
Author(s):Schneider, Rodrigo Araujo
Director of Research:Thornton, Rebecca
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Thornton, Rebecca
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Bernhardt, Dan; Cheibub, José A; Bowers, Jake; McMillen, Daniel
Department / Program:Economics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Concealed carry
Gun Carrying Prohibition
Electronic Voting
Brazilian Public Policies
Voting Behavior
Public Finance
Abstract:This dissertation consists of three essays. The first essay looks at the impact of a Brazilian law that first prohibited concealed carry and then provided a referendum asking voters whether guns should also be banned in the country. It exploits the abrupt change that prohibited all citizens to carry guns to identify the effects of this law on crimes and to understand which part of society are more likely to benefit from gun control. Once this connection is established, I investigate whether the part of the society that benefitted the most from the concealed carry ban were also more likely to support the gun prohibition referendum. The second and third essays investigate the impact of the phased-in introduction to electronic voting in Brazil. In particular, the second essay looks at whether electronic voting, by eliminating the possibility of fraud after voting, impacted the usage of an alternative electoral malfeasance named voter buying (i.e., paying outsiders to transfer electoral registration into a given candidate’s district to increase votes for that candidate). It then examines whether clientelistic parties were hurt by the new voting system. The third and last essay investigates whether electronic voting, by de facto enfranchising poorer and less educated voters, also impacted public spending. Connecting all three essays is the fact that they all relate to Brazil and analyze the impact of public policies. Below are the title and individual abstracts for each of the three essays. Chapter 1: Crime and political effects of a concealed carry ban in Brazil This paper studies the effects of legislation in Brazil that banned the carrying of concealed weapons nationwide in 2003, and provided for a voter referendum 22 months later regarding whether to ban the sale of all firearms in Brazil. Using a regression discontinuity design, I find that in the wake of the law gun-related homicides decreased by 10.8 percent, with the reduction especially pronounced among young black males living in high-crime areas. Other crimes involving guns (robberies) also declined, while crimes that did not involve guns were unaffected. Enrollment in adult education courses disproportionately increased in areas that saw the biggest drop in gun-related crimes. Economic benefits are estimated to exceed $3 billion. Analysis of the subsequent voter referendum, which was defeated by a wide margin, shows higher voter turnout and stronger support for the complete weapons ban in the areas that had experienced the greatest decline in gun-related homicides. Chapter 2: Does voting technology affect clientelism? This paper studies the phased-in introduction of electronic voting systems in Brazil to examine whether the technological shift affected clientelism. The new technology undercut voter fraud that had previously been shown to take place with paper ballots after voting (i.e., adding votes to tabulation sheets after voting has ended). At the same time, the new technology increased the relative appeal of voter fraud via voter buying (i.e., paying outsiders to transfer electoral registration into a given candidate’s district to increase votes for that candidate). I find that municipalities using electronic rather than paper ballots experienced larger increases in the number of registered voters suggesting an increase in voter buying. Even though voter buying is a clientelistic strategy, electronic voting decreased support for clientelistic parties indicating that fraud after voting was a more effective electoral malfeasance, especially because voter buying requires compliance and I find that voting turnout was smaller in places using electronic voting. Chapter 3: Electronic voting and Social Spending: The impact of enfranchisement on municipal public spending in Brazil This article studies the effect of political participation on municipal level public spending. We use the gradual introduction to electronic voting in Brazil, which especially enfranchised poorer voters in the legislative elections, to identify the causal effect of voting on public spending. A theoretic, political economy model suggests that, by de facto enfranchising the poor, electronic voting increases social spending. We test this prediction empirically using as instrument the introduction to electronic voting, which affects voting enfranchisement without directly influencing public spending. We first apply a two-stage least square regression and then we validate our estimation using a difference-in-differences methodology. We find in our preferred specification that an increase of 1 percentage point in the valid vote to turnout ratio for state representatives increases health spending by 1.42%; education by 1%; public employment by 1.28%; total spending by 1.26%; total revenue by 1.07% and intergovernmental transfer by 1.11%.
Issue Date:2018-04-11
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Rodrigo Schneider
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-04
Date Deposited:2018-05

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