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Local institutions and public school spending under restricted suffrage: The case of post-unitary Italy

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  • Marchingiglio, Riccardo

Abstract

This paper studies the impact of legislative size on public spending on education, in a context of restricted suffrage. In 1860s Italy, male teachers were pivotal voters and were directly hired and fired by the local council. As a consequence, local legislators gained large political payoffs from public spending on education. Using a regression discontinuity design, I find that townships that were quasi-randomly assigned a larger council spent more on primary education by 6% of a standard deviation per additional councilman. Consistent with a pork-barrel mechanism, the legislative size effect on spending is driven by a surge in the appointment of male teachers, while female teachers, ineligible to vote, were not affected by legislative size. Higher school spending is associated with higher public education supply and a larger student population.

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  • Marchingiglio, Riccardo, 2021. "Local institutions and public school spending under restricted suffrage: The case of post-unitary Italy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 188(C), pages 1351-1373.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:188:y:2021:i:c:p:1351-1373
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2021.06.004
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