Romain Ferrali

Internal seminars

Romain Ferrali

Audits and Bureaucratic Corruption: Evidence from Brazilian Municipalities
Joint with
Galileu Kim, Julieta Peveri

MEGA Salle Carine Nourry

MEGA - Salle Carine Nourry

Maison de l'économie et de la gestion d'Aix
424 chemin du viaduc
13080 Aix-en-Provence

Thursday, April 18 2024| 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Nathalie Ferrière: nathalie.ferriere[at]
Federico Trionfetti: federico.trionfetti[at]


While previous studies have found that anti-corruption audits effectively discipline politicians, the extent to which they discipline bureaucrats is unclear. We provide a framework to analyze the impact of this popular policy instrument on bureaucratic careers and use it to evaluate a well-known, randomized audit program of Brazilian municipalities. We show that audits cause increases in career interruptions that are particularly pronounced for likely patronage hires and in municipalities displaying intermediate levels of corruption, suggesting that audits are relatively effective at punishing corrupt bureaucrats. Increased dismissals are concentrated among mayors who cannot run for reelection, suggesting that electoral accountability mechanisms shown to discipline politicians do not trickle down to bureaucrats; rather, mayors tend to clean their accounts before leaving office. Structural estimates indicate that the increased resignation rates observed after audits owe to reduced rent-seeking opportunities rather than increased risk of dismissal.