Drago, Francesco Galbiati, Roberto Sobbrio, Francesco
CESifo Working Paper 6826
We study voters’ response to public policies. We exploit a natural experiment arising from the Italian 2006 collective pardon that created idiosyncratic incentives to recidivate across released individuals and municipalities. We show that municipalities where resident pardoned individuals had a higher incentive to recidivate experienced a higher recidivism rate. Moreover, in these municipalities: i) newspapers were more likely to report crime news involving pardoned individuals; ii) voters held worse beliefs on the incumbent national government’s ability to control crime and iii) with respect to the previous elections, the incumbent national government experienced a worse electoral performance in the April 2008 elections relative to the opposition coalition. Our findings indicate that voters keep politicians accountable by conditioning their vote on the observed effects of their policies.
accountability retrospective voting natural experiment crime recidivism media