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Pork Barrel Cycles

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  • Allan Drazen
  • Marcela Eslava

Abstract

We present a model of political budget cycles in which incumbents influence voters by targeting government spending to specific groups of voters at the expense of other voters or other expenditures. Each voter faces a signal extraction problem: being targeted with expenditure before the election may reflect opportunistic manipulation, but may also reflect a sincere preference of the incumbent for the types of spending that voter prefers. We show the existence of a political equilibrium in which rational voters support an incumbent who targets them with spending before the election even though they know it may be electorally motivated. In equilibrium voters in the more "swing" regions are targeted at the expense of types of spending not favored by these voters. This will be true even if they know they live in swing regions. However, the responsiveness of these voters to electoral manipulation depends on whether they face some degree of uncertainty about the electoral importance of the group they are in. Use of targeted spending also implies voters can be influenced without election-year deficits, consistent with recent findings for established democracies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12190.

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Date of creation: May 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12190

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  1. Brender, Adi & Drazen, Allan, 2005. "Political budget cycles in new versus established democracies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1271-1295, October.
  2. Drazen, Allan & Eslava, Marcela, 2010. "Electoral manipulation via voter-friendly spending: Theory and evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 39-52, May.
  3. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 2005. "Party Discipline and Pork-Barrel Politics," Papers 08-10-2005, Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy.
  4. Persson, T. & Roland, G. & Tabellini, G., 1997. "Comparative Politics and Public Finance," Papers 633, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
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  7. David P. Baron & Daniel Diermeier, 2001. "Elections, Governments, And Parliaments In Proportional Representation Systems," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(3), pages 933-967, August.
  8. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti & José Tavares, 1998. "The Political Economy of Fiscal Adjustments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 197-266.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . ""An Economic Model of Representative Democracy''," CARESS Working Papres 95-02, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  12. Bonomo, Marco Antônio Cesar & Terra, Maria Cristina T., 2001. "Elections and Exchange Rate Policy Cycles," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 435, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  13. Khemani, Stuti, 2004. "Political cycles in a developing economy: effect of elections in the Indian States," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 125-154, February.
  14. 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.
  15. Shi, Min & Svensson, Jakob, 2006. "Political budget cycles: Do they differ across countries and why?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1367-1389, September.
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  17. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 1988. "Credibility and politics," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(2-3), pages 542-550, March.
  18. 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. Marcelin Joanis, 2008. "The Road to Power: Partisan Loyalty and the Centralized Provision of Local Infrastructure," Cahiers de recherche 08-15, Departement d'Economique de la Faculte d'administration à l'Universite de Sherbrooke.
  2. Fabio Alvim Klein, 2014. "Do Opportunistic And Partisan Fiscalcycles Come Together?," Anais do XL Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 40th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 060, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
  3. Alejandro Hoyos & Hugo R. Ñopo, 2010. "Evolution of Gender Gaps in Latin America at the Turn of the Twentieth Century: An Addendum to "New Century, Old Disparities"," IDB Publications 6792, Inter-American Development Bank.
  4. Jochimsen, Beate & Nuscheler, Robert, 2007. "The political economy of the German Länder deficits," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2007-06, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  5. Firpo, Sergio & Ponczek, Vladimir & Sanfelice, Viviane, 2014. "The Relationship between Federal Budget Amendments and Local Electoral Power," IZA Discussion Papers 7918, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Marcela Eslava & Oskar Nupia, 2010. "Political Fragmentation and Government Spending: Bringing Ideological Polarization into the Picture," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 006713, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  7. Jeroen Klomp & Jakob de Haan, 2013. "Conditional Election and Partisan Cycles in Government Support to the Agricultural Sector: An Empirical Analysis," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 95(4), pages 793-818.
  8. Allan Drazen & Adi Brender, 2007. "Electoral Economics in New Democracies: Affecting Attitudes About Democracy," 2007 Meeting Papers 530, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. C. Reynolds, 2014. "State politics, tuition, and the dynamics of a political budget cycle," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 46(4), pages 1241-1270, June.
  10. Benjamin E. Diokno, 2010. "Philippine fiscal behavior in recent history," Philippine Review of Economics, University of the Philippines School of Economics and Philippine Economic Society, vol. 47(1), pages 39-87, June.
  11. Jeroen Klomp & Jakob Haan, 2013. "Political budget cycles and election outcomes," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 157(1), pages 245-267, October.
  12. repec:cge:warwcg:84 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Drazen, Allan & Eslava, Marcela, 2010. "Electoral manipulation via voter-friendly spending: Theory and evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 39-52, May.
  14. Jakob Haan & Jeroen Klomp, 2013. "Conditional political budget cycles: a review of recent evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 157(3), pages 387-410, December.
  15. Marcela Eslava, 2011. "The Political Economy Of Fiscal Deficits: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(4), pages 645-673, 09.
  16. Christina Schneider, 2010. "Fighting with one hand tied behind the back: political budget cycles in the West German states," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 142(1), pages 125-150, January.
  17. Mauricio Olivera & Monica Pachon & Guillermo Perry, 2010. "The Political Economy of Fiscal Reform: The Case of Colombia, 1986-2006," Research Department Publications 4674, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.

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