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The effects of party competition on budget outcomes: Empirical evidence from local governments in Spain

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  • Albert Solé-Ollé

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Abstract

This paper investigates the link between local budget outcomes and the intensity of party competition, measured as the margin of victory obtained by the incumbent in the previous local election (i.e. the difference between the vote share and 50%). Two competing hypotheses are tested in the paper. On the one hand, the Leviathan government hypothesis suggests that the lower the intensity of party competition is, the greater is the increase in the size of the local public sector, irrespective of the ideology of the party in power. On the other hand, the Partisan government hypothesis suggests that the incumbent will find it easier to advance its platform when intensity of competition is low (i.e., parties on the left/right will increase/decrease the size of the local public sector when the intensity of the challenge from the opposition is low). These hypotheses are tested with information on spending, own revenues and deficit for more than 500 Spanish local governments over 8 years (1992–1999), and information on the results of two local electoral contests (1991 and 1995). The evidence favors the Partisan hypothesis over the Leviathan one. We found that, for left-wing governments, spending, taxes and deficits increased as the electoral margin increases; whereas, for right-wing governments, a greater margin of victory led to reductions in all these variables. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

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  • Albert Solé-Ollé, 2006. "The effects of party competition on budget outcomes: Empirical evidence from local governments in Spain," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 126(1), pages 145-176, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:126:y:2006:i:1:p:145-176 DOI: 10.1007/s11127-006-2456-9
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    Cited by:

    1. Solé-Ollé, Albert & Sorribas-Navarro, Pilar, 2008. "The effects of partisan alignment on the allocation of intergovernmental transfers. Differences-in-differences estimates for Spain," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 2302-2319.
    2. Saibal Ghosh, 2010. "Does Political Competition Matter for Economic Performance? Evidence from Sub-national Data," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 58, pages 1030-1048, December.
    3. Giardina, Emilio & Cavalieri, Marina & Guccio, Calogero & Mazza, Isidoro, 2009. "Federalism, Party Competition and Budget Outcome: Empirical Findings on Regional Health Expenditure in Italy," MPRA Paper 16437, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Albert Sole-Olle & Pilar Sorribas-Navarro, 2008. "Does partisan alignment affect the electoral reward of intergovernmental transfers?," Working Papers in Economics 206, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
    5. Albert Solé-Ollé & Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal, 2007. "Economic and political determinants of urban expansion: Exploring the local connection," Working Papers 2007/5, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    6. Hernández, Aday & Jiménez, Juan Luis, 2014. "Does high-speed rail generate spillovers on local budgets?," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 211-219.
    7. Albert Solé-Ollé, 2013. "Inter-regional redistribution through infrastructure investment: tactical or programmatic?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(1), pages 229-252, July.
    8. Mogues, Tewodaj & Benin, Samuel, 2012. "Do External Grants to District Governments Discourage Own Revenue Generation? A Look at Local Public Finance Dynamics in Ghana," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 1054-1067.
    9. J. Ferris & Soo-Bin Park & Stanley Winer, 2008. "Studying the role of political competition in the evolution of government size over long horizons," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 137(1), pages 369-401, October.
    10. Linda Gonçalves Veiga & Francisco José Veiga, 2014. "Determinants of Portuguese local governments’ indebtedness," NIPE Working Papers 16/2014, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
    11. Dirk Foremny & Jordi Jofre-Monseny & Albert Solé-Ollé, 2015. "‘Hold that ghost’: using notches to identify manipulation of population-based grants," Working Papers 2015/39, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    12. J. Stephen Ferris, 2010. "Fiscal Policy from a Public Choice Perspective," Carleton Economic Papers 10-10, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
    13. André Corrêa d’Almeida & Paulo Reis Mourão, "undated". "The Irrelevance of Political Parties’ Differences for Public Finances - Evidence from Public Deficit and Debt in Portugal (1974 – 2012) Abstract: This paper attempts to empirically test whether inter-," NIPE Working Papers 11/2015, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
    14. Raffaella SANTOLINI, 2007. "An Empitical Analysis of Political and Informative Trends on Municipalities of an Italian Region," Working Papers 294, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
    15. Núria Bosch & Albert Solé-Ollé, 2007. "Yardstick competition and the political costs of raising taxes: An empirical analysis of Spanish municipalities," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(1), pages 71-92, February.
    16. B. Buylen & J. Christiaens, 2013. "Politics by numbers? An exploration of councillors’ apparent use of financial information during the budget discussion in Flemish municipal councils," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 13/841, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    17. Áron Kiss, 2009. "Coalition politics and accountability," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 139(3), pages 413-428, June.
    18. Sanoh, Aly, 2015. "Rainfall Shocks, Local Revenues, and Intergovernmental Transfer in Mali," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 359-370.
    19. J. Stephen Ferris, 2007. "Is the Bank of Canada any more or less independent than the Fed? – revised version: Electoral Politics and Monetary Policy: Does the Bank of Canada Contribute to a Political Business Cycle?," Carleton Economic Papers 07-02, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 08 Jan 2008.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects

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