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Party Discipline and Pork-Barrel Politics

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  • Grossman, Gene
  • Helpman, Elhanan

Abstract

Polities differ in the extent to which political parties can pre-commit to carry out promised policy actions if they take power. Commitment problems may arise due to a divergence between the ex ante incentives facing national parties that seek to capture control of the legislature and the ex post incentives facing individual legislators, whose interests may be more parochial. We study how differences in "party discipline" shape fiscal policy choices. In particular, we examine the determinants of national spending on local public goods in a three-stage game of campaign rhetoric, voting, and legislative decision-making. We find that the rhetoric and reality of pork-barrel spending, and also the efficiency of the spending regime, bear a non-monotonic relationship to the degree of party discipline.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5233.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5233

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Keywords: electoral competition; party politics; political economy; public goods;

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References

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  1. Persson, Torsten & Roland, Gérard & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Comparative Politics and Public Finance," CEPR Discussion Papers 1737, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," Papers 630, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  3. Osborne, Martin J & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96, February.
  4. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  5. Nicola Persico & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2001. "The Provision of Public Goods under Alternative Electoral Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 225-239, March.
  6. Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan, 2004. "A Protectionist Bias in Majoritarian Politics," Papers 12-21-2004, Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy.
  7. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114, February.
  8. David Austen-Smith, 2000. "Redistributing Income under Proportional Representation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1235-1269, December.
  9. Roger B. Myerson, 1992. "Incentives to Cultivate Favored Minorities under Alternative Electoral Systems," Discussion Papers 1000, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  10. Roberto Perotti & Massimo V. Rostagno & Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2001. "Electoral System and Public Spending," IMF Working Papers 01/22, International Monetary Fund.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Allan Drazen & Marcela Eslava, 2006. "Pork Barrel Cycles," NBER Working Papers 12190, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan, 2004. "A Protectionist Bias in Majoritarian Politics," Papers 12-21-2004, Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy.
  3. repec:dgr:uvatin:2005080 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Marco Portmann & David Stadelmann & Reiner Eichenberger, 2012. "District magnitude and representation of the majority’s preferences: Evidence from popular and parliamentary votes," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(3), pages 585-610, June.
  5. Klaas J. Beniers, 2005. "Party Governance and the Selection of Parliamentarians," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-080/1, Tinbergen Institute.

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