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How do policy-makers actually solve problems?Evidence from the French local public sector

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  • 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)

Abstract

This article examines how policy‐makers solve problems within local representative democracies. It will be argued that politicians cannot undertake an exhaustive search of all possible policy choices; instead, they might use an incremental strategy such as the hill‐climbing heuristic. These possibilities will be formalized using the median voter model as an analytical framework. The corresponding models will then be estimated over a set of French jurisdictions (the départements). The empirical results lend support to the hill‐climbing model, given that: (1) for social welfare and secondary school expenditures, the influence of the past is significant; (2) a pure model of incrementalism, without any exogenous variables, is not appropriate for explaining the behavior of departmental council members; and (3) the impact of the past is more significant and stronger when expenditure levels are higher.
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Suggested Citation

  • Benoît Le Maux, 2009. "How do policy-makers actually solve problems?Evidence from the French local public sector," Post-Print halshs-00418377, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00418377
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00418377
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    References listed on IDEAS

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