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Incumbent Effects and Partisan Alignment in Local Elections: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis Using Italian Data

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  • Emanuele Bracco
  • Francesco Porcelli
  • Michela Redoano

Abstract

This paper provides a simple model to explain effect of political alignment between different tiers of government on policy choices and election outcomes. We derive precise predictions that, as long as voters attribute most of the credit for providing public goods to the local government: (i) aligned municipalities receive more grants, set lower taxes and provide more public goods, (ii) the probability that the local incumbent is re-elected is higher in aligned municipalities compared to not aligned ones. Our empirical strategy to identify the alignment effects is built upon the fact that being or not aligned changes discontinuously at 50% of the vote share of local parties. This allows us to use sharp regression discontinuity design. Our theoretical predictions are largely confirmed using a new dataset on Italian public finance and electoral data at the central and local level.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2013/wp-cesifo-2013-01/cesifo1_wp4061.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4061.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4061

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Keywords: fiscal federalism; political competition; accountability;

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References

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  1. Solé-Ollé, Albert & Sorribas-Navarro, Pilar, 2008. "The effects of partisan alignment on the allocation of intergovernmental transfers. Differences-in-differences estimates for Spain," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(12), pages 2302-2319, December.
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  3. Alberto Porto & Pablo Sanguinetti, 2001. "Political Determinants of Intergovernmental Grants: Evidence From Argentina," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(3), pages 237-256, November.
  4. Fernanda Brollo & Tommaso Nannicini, 2010. "Tying Your Enemy’s Hands in Close Races: The Politics of Federal Transfers in Brazil," Working Papers 358, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
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  6. Per Pettersson-Lidbom, 2008. "Do Parties Matter for Economic Outcomes? A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(5), pages 1037-1056, 09.
  7. Dixit, Avinash & Londregan, John, 1998. "Fiscal federalism and redistributive politics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 153-180, May.
  8. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
  9. Case, Anne, 2001. "Election goals and income redistribution: Recent evidence from Albania," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 405-423, March.
  10. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
  11. Emanuele Bracco & Alberto Brugnoli, 2012. "Runoff vs. plurality," Working Papers 23767067, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
  12. Johansson, Eva, 1999. "Intergovernmental Grants as a Tactical Instrument: Some Empirical Evidence from Swedish Municipalities," Working Paper Series 1999:10, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  13. Arulampalam, Wiji & Dasgupta, Sugato & Dhillon, Amrita & Dutta, Bhaskar, 2008. "Electoral Goals and Center-State Transfers: A Theoretical Model and Empirical Evidence from India," IZA Discussion Papers 3376, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Marika Cioffi & Giovanna Messina & Pietro Tommasino, 2012. "Parties, institutions and political budget cycles at the municipal level," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 885, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  15. Fernando Ferreira & Joseph Gyourko, 2009. "Do Political Parties Matter? Evidence from U.S. Cities-super-," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(1), pages 399-422, February.
  16. David S. Lee, 2001. "The Electoral Advantage to Incumbency and Voters' Valuation of Politicians' Experience: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis of Elections to the U.S..," NBER Working Papers 8441, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Marco Migueis, 2013. "The Effect of Political Alignment on Transfers to Portuguese Municipalities," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(1), pages 110-133, 03.
  18. Lindbeck, Assar & Weibull, Jorgen W., 1993. "A model of political equilibrium in a representative democracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 195-209, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Emanuele Bracco & Alberto Brugnoli, 2012. "Runoff vs. plurality," Working Papers 23767067, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.

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