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Estimating the Impact of Gubernatorial Partisanship on Policy Settings and Economic Outcomes: A Regression Discontinuity Approach

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  • Andrew Leigh

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 posttax 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

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 556.

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Date of creation: Jun 2007
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Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:556

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Keywords: median voter theorem; partisanship; state government; taxation; expenditure; welfare; crime; growth;

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Cited by:
  1. 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).
  2. Leandro De Magalhães & Lucas Ferrero, 2012. "Separation of Powers and the Size of Government in the U.S. States Abstract: According to our model effective 'budgetary' separation of power occurs in the states with the line-item veto when the Gove," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 12/285, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  3. Masayoshi Hayashi, 2011. "The Effects of Medical Factors on Transfer Deficits in Public Assistance in Japan: A Quantile Regression Analysis," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-816, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Ryvkin, Dmitry, 2010. "Contests with private costs: Beyond two players," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 558-567, December.
  7. 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).
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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).

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