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The Allocation of Public Goods and National Elections in Ghana

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  • André, Pierre
  • Mesplé-Somps, Sandrine

Abstract

The body of literature on purely democratic countries can sometimes fail to explain the behavior of government in semi-democratic African countries. Empirical and theoretical political economic papers find that public funds target ruling party supporters and swing districts. Our results, however, suggest that the opposite was true of Ghana. We observe that pro-government districts received less public investment when the NDC was in power. We posit that this finding is partially driven by the government's will to curry favor with opposition politicians. Indeed, in addition to pursuing its electoral objectives, the government of an emerging democracy may fear political instability and keep the lid on potential unrest by bargaining with opposition leaders. Our analysis also shows that, when controlling for votes and other covariates (including wealth, urbanization and density), public goods allocation is not driven by ethnic group targeting either.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 29873.

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Date of creation: Jan 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:29873

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Keywords: Public goods; elections; ethnic; Africa; Ghana;

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  1. Case, A., 1997. "Election Goals and Income Redistribution: Recent Evidence from Albania," Papers 177, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  2. Azam, Jean-Paul, 2003. "The Paradox of Power Reconsidered: A Theory of Political Regimes in Africa," IDEI Working Papers 233, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised 2005.
  3. Steven D. Levitt & James M. Snyder, Jr., 1995. "The Impact of Federal Spending on House Election Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 5002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Akramov, Kamiljon T. & Asante, Felix Ankomah, 2008. "Decentralization and local public services in Ghana: Do geography and ethnic diversity matter?," GSSP working papers 16, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  5. World Bank, 2008. "Ghana - Public Expenditures Review : Rural Water and Sanitation Sector," World Bank Other Operational Studies 7977, The World Bank.
  6. Banerjee, Abhijit & Somanathan, Rohini, 2007. "The political economy of public goods: Some evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 287-314, March.
  7. Marcelin Joanis, 2009. "The Road to Power: Partisan Loyalty and the Centralized Provision of Local Infrastructure," CIRANO Working Papers 2009s-46, CIRANO.
  8. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
  9. Banful, Afua Branoah, 2011. "Do formula-based intergovernmental transfer mechanisms eliminate politically motivated targeting? Evidence from Ghana," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 380-390, November.
  10. Shawn Cole, 2009. "Fixing Market Failures or Fixing Elections? Agricultural Credit in India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 219-50, January.
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