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Local Public Choice in Representative Democracy: Which Theory Best Explains the Data ?


  • Benoît Le Maux

    () (CREM - Centre de recherche en économie et management - UNICAEN - Université de Caen Normandie - NU - Normandie Université - UR1 - Université de Rennes 1 - UNIV-RENNES - Université de Rennes - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)


This Ph.D. thesis tests the power of the median voter model against the respective strength of alternative models based on partisan politicians, bureaucracy, interest group and budgetary incrementalism theories. To execute this comparison, the four principal per capita operating expenditures of the French departments are used as dependent variables: (i) social assistance, (ii) economic services, (iii) maintenance of the road network and (iv) secondary schools. The overall conclusion made is that the median voter model is not the best model for explaining local governments' behavior. While the income and tax share of the median voter have together a significant impact on public expenditures, numerous econometric tests suggest that other factors significantly influence the French departments' policies. In other words, we cannot be entirely optimistic about the workings of local representative democracies.

Suggested Citation

  • Benoît Le Maux, 2009. "Local Public Choice in Representative Democracy: Which Theory Best Explains the Data ?," Post-Print halshs-00125753, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00125753
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    Cited by:

    1. Benoît Le Maux, 2009. "Governmental behavior in representative democracy: a synthesis of the theoretical literature," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 141(3), pages 447-465, December.
    2. Johanna Choumert & Laure Cormier, 2011. "The provision of urban parks: an empirical test of spatial spillovers in an urban area using geographic information systems," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 47(2), pages 437-450, October.
    3. Johanna Choumert & Walid Oueslati & Julien Salanié, 2008. "The effects of spatial spillovers on the provision of urban environmental amenities," Post-Print hal-00729739, HAL.
    4. Guy Gilbert & Alain Guengant & Benoît Le Maux & Yvon Rocaboy, 2012. "Une étude économétrique de la dépense publique locale: Le cas des départements français," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201203, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.


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