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Electoral manipulation via voter-friendly spending: Theory and evidence

  • Drazen, Allan
  • Eslava, Marcela

We present a model of the political budget cycle in which 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 may also reflect sincere preference of the incumbent for types of spending voters favor. Classifying expenditures into those which are likely 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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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 92 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
Pages: 39-52

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:92:y:2010:i:1:p:39-52
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/devec

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  1. 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.
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  9. 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.
  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. Kenneth Rogoff & Anne Sibert, 1986. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," NBER Working Papers 1838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. 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.
  14. Judson, Ruth A. & Owen, Ann L., 1999. "Estimating dynamic panel data models: a guide for macroeconomists," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 9-15, October.
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  16. Eslava, Marcela, 2006. "Ciclos políticos de la política fiscal con votantes opuestos al déficit. El caso colombiano," El Trimestre Económico, Fondo de Cultura Económica, vol. 0(290), pages 289-336, abril-jun.
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