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Do Absolute Majorities Spend Less?: Evidence from Germany

  • Ronny Freier
  • Christian Odendahl
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    The number of parties in government is usually considered to increase spending. We show that this is not necessarily the case. Using a new method to detect close election outcomes in multi-party systems, we isolate truly exogenous variation in the type of government. With data from municipalities in the German state of Bavaria, we show in regression discontinuity-type estimations that absolute majorities spend more, not less, and increase the property tax rate. We also find weakly significant results for increases in debt. Politically, our results show that the mayor that heads an absolute majority of his own party gains the most, but the party itself does not.

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    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.407580.de/dp1239.pdf
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    Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 1239.

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    Length: 31 p.
    Date of creation: 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1239
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    1. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 2006. "Electoral Rules and Government Spending in Parliamentary Democracies," Levine's Working Paper Archive 321307000000000706, David K. Levine.
    2. Schaltegger, Christoph A. & Feld, Lars P., 2009. "Do large cabinets favor large governments? Evidence on the fiscal commons problem for Swiss Cantons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 35-47, February.
    3. Olle Folke, 2010. "Shades of brown and green: Party effects in proportional election systems," Working Papers 2010/25, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    4. Fernando Ferreira & Joseph Gyourko, 2009. "Do Political Parties Matter? Evidence from U.S. Cities-super-," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(1), pages 399-422, February.
    5. Cook, Thomas D., 2008. ""Waiting for Life to Arrive": A history of the regression-discontinuity design in Psychology, Statistics and Economics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 636-654, February.
    6. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
    7. Per Pettersson-Lidbom, 2001. "An Empirical Investigation of the Strategic Use of Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 570-583, June.
    8. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
    9. Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Technical Working Papers 0337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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