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On the Vote Purchasing Behavior of Incumbent Governments

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  • Dahlberg, Matz

    ()
    (Department of Economics)

  • Johansson, Eva

    ()
    (Department of Economics)

Abstract

A couple of months before the Swedish election in 1998, the incumbent government distributed 2.3 billion SEK to 42 out of 115 applying municipalities. This was the first wave of a four-year long grant program intended to support local investment programs aimed at an ecological sustainable development. This temporary grant program differs from traditional intergovernmental grants in several aspects, most importantly in the sovereign decision making power given to the incumbent central government. In this paper we investigate whether there were any tactical motives behind the distribution of these grants. We find support for the hypothesis that the incumbent government used the grant program under study in order to win votes. In particular, we find strong support for the Lindbeck-Weibull/Dixit-Londregan model in which parties distribute transfers to regions where there are many swing voters. This result is statistically as well as economically significant. We do however not find any support for the model that predicts that the incumbent government transfer money to its own supporters.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 1999:24.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 15 Dec 1999
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in American Political Science Review, 2002, pages 27-40.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:1999_024

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Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
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Web page: http://www.nek.uu.se/
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Keywords: Political economy; Intergovernmental grants; Vote purchasing;

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  1. John Joseph Wallis, 1996. "What Determines the Allocation of National Government Grants to the States?," NBER Historical Working Papers 0090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Worthington, Andrew C & Dollery, Brian E, 1998. " The Political Determination of Intergovernmental Grants in Australia," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 94(3-4), pages 299-315, March.
  3. Dixit, Avinash K & Londregan, John, 1994. "The Determinants of Success of Special Interests in Redistributive Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 1054, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Levitt, Steven D & Snyder, James M, Jr, 1997. "The Impact of Federal Spending on House Election Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 30-53, February.
  5. Philip J. Grossman, 1987. "A Political Theory of Inter-Governmental Grants," School of Economics Working Papers 1987-06, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
  6. Johansson, E., 1999. "Intergovernmental Grants As A Tactical Instrument: Some Empirical Evidence from Swedish Municipalities," Papers 1999:10, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  7. 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.
  8. Reading, Don C., 1973. "New Deal Activity and the States, 1933 to 1939," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(04), pages 792-810, December.
  9. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  10. Avinash Dixit & John Londregan, 1998. "Ideology, Tactics, And Efficiency In Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 497-529, May.
  11. Mel Bungey & Peter Kenyon & Philip J. Grossman, 1991. "Explaining intergovernmental grants: Australian evidence," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series archive-14, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  12. Wright, Gavin, 1974. "The Political Economy of New Deal Spending: An Econometric Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 56(1), pages 30-38, February.
  13. Lin, Tsai-Fen & Schmidt, Peter, 1984. "A Test of the Tobit Specification against an Alternative Suggested by Cragg," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(1), pages 174-77, February.
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