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Does Partisan Alignment Affect the Electoral Reward of Intergovernmental Transfers?


  • Albert Solé-Ollé
  • Pilar Sorribas-Navarro


In this paper we test the hypothesis that intergovernmental grants allocated to co-partisans buy more political support than grants allocated to local governments controlled by opposition parties. We use a rich Spanish database containing information about the grants received by 617 municipalities during the period 1993-2003 from two different upper-tier governments (Regional and Upper-local), as well as data of municipal voting behaviour at three electoral contests held at the different layers of government during this period. Therefore, we are able to estimate two different vote equations, analysing the effects of grants given to aligned and unaligned municipalities on the vote share of the incumbent party/parties at the regional and local elections. We account for the endogeneity of grants by instrumenting them with the average amount of grants distributed by upper-layer governments. The results suggest that grants given to co-partisans buy some political support, but that grants given to opposition parties do not bring any votes, suggesting that the grantee reaps as much political credit from intergovernmental grants as the grantor.

Suggested Citation

  • Albert Solé-Ollé & Pilar Sorribas-Navarro, 2008. "Does Partisan Alignment Affect the Electoral Reward of Intergovernmental Transfers?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2335, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2335

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Grossman, Philip J, 1994. "A Political Theory of Intergovernmental Grants," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 78(3-4), pages 295-303, March.
    2. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
    3. Avinash Dixit & John Londregan, 1998. "Ideology, Tactics, and Efficiency in Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 497-529.
    4. 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.
    5. Levitt, Steven D & Snyder, James M, Jr, 1997. "The Impact of Federal Spending on House Election Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 30-53, February.
    6. repec:cup:apsrev:v:96:y:2002:i:01:p:27-40_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Dahlberg, Matz & Johansson, Eva, 1999. "On the Vote Purchasing Behavior of Incumbent Governments," Working Paper Series 1999:24, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    8. Case, Anne, 2001. "Election goals and income redistribution: Recent evidence from Albania," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 405-423, March.
    9. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Khemani, Stuti, 2003. "Partisan politics and intergovernmental transfers in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3016, The World Bank.
    11. Castells, Antoni & Sole-Olle, Albert, 2005. "The regional allocation of infrastructure investment: The role of equity, efficiency and political factors," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(5), pages 1165-1205, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Thushyanthan Baskaran & Zohal Hessami, 2014. "Political alignment and intergovernmental transfers in parliamentary systems: Evidence from Germany," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2014-17, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
    3. Padovano, Fabio, 2012. "The drivers of interregional policy choices: Evidence from Italy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 324-340.
    4. Oskar Nupia, 2011. "Anti-Poverty Programs and Presidential Election Outcomes: Familias en Acción in Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 008743, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    5. Maria Teresa Balaguer-Coll & María Isabel Brun-Martos & Anabel Forte & Emili Tortosa-Ausina, 2014. "Determinants of local governments'­ reelection: New evidence based on a Bayesian approach," Working Papers 2014/06, Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón (Spain).
    6. Steffen Osterloh, 2011. "Can Regional Transfers Buy Public Support? Evidence from EU Structural Policy," Working Papers 169, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
    7. repec:kap:pubcho:v:171:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-016-0398-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Stephan Litschig & Kevin Morrison, 2010. "Government spending and re-election: Quasi-experimental evidence from Brazilian municipalities," Economics Working Papers 1233, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jun 2012.
    9. Laura Bianchini & Federico Revelli, 2013. "Green Polities: Urban Environmental Performance and Government Popularity," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(1), pages 72-90, March.
    10. Thushyanthan Baskaran, 2013. "Do bailouts buy votes? Evidence from a panel of Hessian municipalities," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 257-278, August.
    11. Dettmer, Bianka & Sauer, Thomas, 2016. "Implementation of European cohesion policy at the sub-national level: Evidence from beneficiary data in Eastern Germany," Jena Contributions to Economic Research 2016/1, University of Applied Sciences Jena, Department of Business Administration.
    12. repec:spr:ecogov:v:18:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10101-017-0194-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Baskaran, Thushyanthan, 2014. "Bailouts and austerity," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 212, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    14. Balaguer-Coll, Maria Teresa & Brun-Martos, María Isabel & Forte, Anabel & Tortosa-Ausina, Emili, 2015. "Local governments' re-election and its determinants: New evidence based on a Bayesian approach," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 94-108.

    More about this item


    voting; parties; grants;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects


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