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On the Vote Purchasing Behavior of Incumbent Governments

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  • Dahlberg, M.
  • Johansson, E.

Abstract

A couple of months before the Swedish election in 1998, the incumbent government distributed 2.3 billion SEK to 42 out of 115 applying municipalities. This was the first wave of a four-year long grant program intended to support local investment programs aimed at an ecological sustainable development. This temporary grant program differs from traditional intergovernmental grants in several aspects, most importantly in the sovereign decision making power given to the incumbent central government. In this paper we investigate whether there were any tactical motives behind the distribution of these grants. We find support for the hypothesis that the incumbent government used the grant program under study in order to win votes. In particular, we find strong support for the Lindbeck-Weibull/Dixit-Londregan model in which parties distribute transfers to regions where there are many swing voters. This result is statistically as well as economically significant. We do however not find any support for the model that predicts that the incumbent government transfer money to its own supporters.

Suggested Citation

  • Dahlberg, M. & Johansson, E., 1999. "On the Vote Purchasing Behavior of Incumbent Governments," Papers 1999:24, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:uppaal:1999:24
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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.
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    5. John Joseph Wallis, 1996. "What Determines the Allocation of National Government Grants to the States?," NBER Historical Working Papers 0090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Johansson, E., 1999. "Intergovernmental Grants As A Tactical Instrument: Some Empirical Evidence from Swedish Municipalities," Papers 1999:10, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
    7. Dixit, Avinash K & Londregan, John, 1994. "The Determinants of Success of Special Interests in Redistributive Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 1054, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. 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.
    9. Mel Bungey & Peter Kenyon & Philip J. Grossman, 1991. "Explaining intergovernmental grants: Australian evidence," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-14, Monash University, Department of Economics.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    ECONOMICS ; VOTING ; GOVERNMENT;
    All these keywords.

    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
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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