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Political and institutional checks on corruption: Explaining the performance of Brazilian Audit Institutions
Marcus André Melo et al.
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This article investigates the performance determinants of accountability institutions in new democracies. Current scholarship on accountability has identified a distinct mechanism through which the introduction of political competition may affect such institutions: the electoral connection or vertical accountability mechanism. This connection is not expected to be effective in new democracies, because political competition is found to be volatile and nonprogrammatic.
Another strand of the literature focuses on the effect of power alternation. Government turnover is expected to generate incentives for the creation and strengthening of autonomous institutions. By exploring a unique data set on 33 state audit institutions, the authors bring together these distinct claims and provide systematic empirical tests for them. They find a negative effect of volatility on their institutional activism and a positive (direct and indirect) influence of power alternation on their levels of autonomy and sanctioning patterns.