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Using the Error in Pre-Election Polls to Test for the Presence of Pork

Listed author(s):
  • McIntosh Craig

    ()

    (University of California, San Diego)

  • Allen Jacob

    ()

    (University of California, San Diego)

Registered author(s):

    Polls are used by politicians, voters, and businesspeople alike to form expectations over political outcomes. In an electoral system with pork' at the national level, local economic prospects will be a direct function of political support. Because every poll comes with its margin of error, we can exploit the error in sub-national polls to test for whether forward-looking investment in the economy adjusts to shocks in local political behavior. The covariance between the strength of this adjustment and local-level characteristics allows us to identify the locations in which strong pork' contracts exist. To illustrate the technique, we provide a theoretical foundation and an empirical exercise using data on Ugandan micro-entrepreneurs during the 2001 presidential election. We find evidence that investor behavior responds in a small but significant way to surprises in electoral support, and this responsiveness is strongest in core' electoral districts.

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    File URL: https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bejeap.2009.9.1/bejeap.2009.9.1.2014/bejeap.2009.9.1.2014.xml?format=INT
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    Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

    Volume (Year): 9 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 1 (March)
    Pages: 1-37

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    Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:9:y:2009:i:1:n:8
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    References listed on IDEAS
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    1. Erik Snowberg & Justin Wolfers & Eric Zitzewitz, 2006. "Partisan impacts on the economy: evidence from prediction markets and close elections," Working Paper Series 2006-08, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    2. Wiji Arulampalam & Sugato Dasgupta & Amrita Dhillon & Bhaskar Dutta, 2008. "Electoral goals and center-state transfers: A Theoretical model and empirical evidence from India," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 08-14, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
    3. Case, A., 1997. "Election Goals and Income Redistribution: Recent Evidence from Albania," Papers 177, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
    4. Hickey, Sam, 2005. "The politics of staying poor: exploring the political space for poverty reduction in Uganda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 995-1009, June.
    5. Fleck, Robert K, 1999. "The Value of the Vote: A Model and Test of the Effects of Turnout on Distributive Policy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(4), pages 609-623, October.
    6. Raymond Fisman, 2001. "Estimating the Value of Political Connections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1095-1102, September.
    7. Khemani, Stuti, 2003. "Partisan politics and intergovernmental transfers in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3016, The World Bank.
    8. Olivier Cadot & Lars-Hendrik Röller & Andreas Stephan, 2002. "Contribution to Productivity or Pork Barrel? The Two Faces of Infrastructure Investment," CIG Working Papers FS IV 02-09, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
    9. Asim Ijaz Khwaja & Atif Mian, 2005. "Do Lenders Favor Politically Connected Firms? Rent Provision in an Emerging Financial Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1371-1411.
    10. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
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