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Electoral Manipulation via Expenditure Composition: Theory and Evidence

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  • Allan Drazen
  • Marcela Eslava

Abstract

We present a model of the Political Budget Cycle in which voters and politicians have preferences for different types of government spending. Incumbents try to influence voters by changing the composition of government spending, rather than overall spending or revenues. Rational voters may support an incumbent who targets them with spending before the election even though such spending may be due to opportunistic manipulation, because it can also reflect sincere preference of the incumbent for types of spending voters favor. Classifying expenditures into those which are targeted to voters and those that are not, we provide evidence supporting our model in data on local public finances for all Colombian municipalities. Our findings indicate both a pre-electoral increase in targeted expenditures, combined with a contraction of other types of expenditure, and a voter response to targeting.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11085.

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Date of creation: Jan 2005
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11085

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  1. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
  2. Akhmed Akhmedov & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2004. "Opportunistic Political Cycles: Test in a Young Democracy Setting," Economics Working Papers 0047, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  3. Ronald Kneebone & Kenneth McKenzie, 2001. "Electoral and Partisan Cycles in Fiscal Policy: An Examination of Canadian Provinces," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 8(5), pages 753-774, November.
  4. 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.
  5. Gonzalez, Maria de los Angeles, 2002. "Do Changes in Democracy Affect the Political Budget Cycle? Evidence from Mexico," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(2), pages 204-24, June.
  6. Rogoff, Kenneth & Sibert, Anne, 1988. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 1-16, January.
  7. Marcela Eslava, 2005. "Political Budget Cycles Or Voters As Fiscal Conservatives? Evidence From Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 003343, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  8. Shi, Min & Svensson, Jakob, 2002. "Conditional Political Budget Cycles," CEPR Discussion Papers 3352, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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