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Estimating the impact of gubernatorial partisanship on policy settings and economic outcomes: A regression discontinuity approach

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  • Leigh, Andrew

Abstract

Using panel data from US states over the period 1941-2002, I measure the impact of gubernatorial partisanship on a wide range of different policy settings and economic outcomes. Across 32 measures, there are surprisingly few differences in policy settings, social outcomes and economic outcomes under Democrat and Republican Governors. In terms of policies, Democratic Governors tend to prefer slightly higher minimum wages. Under Republican Governors, incarceration rates are higher, while welfare caseloads are higher under Democratic Governors. In terms of social and economic outcomes, Democratic Governors tend to preside over higher median post-tax income, lower post-tax inequality, and lower unemployment rates. However, for 26 of the 32 dependent variables, gubernatorial partisanship does not have a statistically significant impact on policy outcomes and social welfare. I find no evidence of gubernatorial partisan differences in tax rates, welfare generosity, the number of government employees or their salaries, state revenue, incarceration rates, execution rates, pre-tax incomes and inequality, crime rates, suicide rates, and test scores. These results are robust to the use of regression discontinuity estimation, to take account of the possibility of reverse causality. Overall, it seems that Governors behave in a fairly non-ideological manner.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 24 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 256-268

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Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:24:y:2008:i:1:p:256-268

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505544

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  6. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2003. "Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: Divorce Laws and Family Distress," Research Papers 1828, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
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  10. Gilligan, Thomas W & Matsusaka, John G, 1995. "Deviations from Constituent Interests: The Role of Legislative Structure and Political Parties in the States," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(3), pages 383-401, July.
  11. Reed, W. Robert, 2006. "Democrats, republicans, and taxes: Evidence that political parties matter," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 725-750, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Meriläinen & Jaakko, 2013. "Do Single-Party and Coalition Governments Differ in their Economic Outcomes? Evidence from Finnish Municipalities," Working Papers 51, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
  2. Baskaran, Thushyanthan, 2012. "Ideology and fiscal policy: quasi-experimental evidence from the German States," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 144, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  3. Bargain, Olivier & Dolls, Mathias & Immervoll, Herwig & Neumann, Dirk & Peichl, Andreas & Pestel, Nico & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2014. "Tax policy and income inequality in the US, 1979-2007," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-001, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  4. Bargain, Olivier & Dolls, Mathias & Immervoll, Herwig & Neumann, Dirk & Peichl, Andreas & Pestel, Nico & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2013. "Partisan Tax Policy and Income Inequality in the U.S., 1979-2007," IZA Discussion Papers 7190, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Masayoshi Hayashi, 2011. "The effects of medical factors on transfer deficits in Public Assistance in Japan: a quantile regression analysis," International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 287-307, December.
  6. Uppal, Yogesh & Glazer, Amihai, 2011. "Legislative turnover, fiscal policy, and economic growth: evidence from U.S. state legislatures," MPRA Paper 34186, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Leandro De Magalhães & Lucas Ferrero, 2012. "Separation of Powers and the Size of Government in the U.S. States," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 12/285, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  8. Schild, Christopher-Johannes, 2013. "Do female mayors make a difference? Evidence from Bavaria," IWQW Discussion Paper Series 07/2013, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Institut für Wirtschaftspolitik und Quantitative Wirtschaftsforschung (IWQW).
  9. Ryvkin, Dmitry, 2010. "Contests with private costs: Beyond two players," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 558-567, December.
  10. Leandro M. de Magalhães, 2011. "Political Parties and the Tax Level in the American states: A Regression Discontinuity Design," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 11/622, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.

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