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Party Discipline and Pork Barrel Politics

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  • Gene M. Grossman
  • Elhanan Helpman

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 %u201Cparty discipline%u201D 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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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11396.

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Date of creation: Jun 2005
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11396

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  1. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," NBER Working Papers 6329, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  3. Roberto Perotti & Massimo V. Rostagno & Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2001. "Electoral System and Public Spending," IMF Working Papers 01/22, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Persson, Torsten & Roland , Gérard & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Comparative Politics and Public Finance," Seminar Papers 633, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  5. Alessro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, . "The Provision of Public Goods Under Alternative Electoral Incentives," Penn CARESS Working Papers b96440ba0bfa06ca550ac40aa, Penn Economics Department.
  6. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 2005. "A Protectionist Bias in Majoritarian Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 5238, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. David Austen-Smith, 2000. "Redistributing Income under Proportional Representation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1235-1269, December.
  8. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
  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.
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Cited by:
  1. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 2005. "A Protectionist Bias in Majoritarian Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 5238, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Allan Drazen & Marcela Eslava, 2006. "Pork Barrel Cycles," NBER Working Papers 12190, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Klaas J. Beniers, 2005. "Party Governance and the Selection of Parliamentarians," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-080/1, Tinbergen Institute.

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