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The political economy of infrastructure construction: The Spanish “Parliamentary Roads” (1880-1914)


  • Marta Curto-Grau

    () (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB)

  • Alfonso Herranz-Loncán

    () (Universitat de Barcelona)

  • Albert Solé-Ollé

    () (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB)


This paper examines the extent to which the public allocation of road investment was influenced by political and electoral goals during the Spanish Restoration (1874-1923). More precisely, we seek to identify those provinces that were favoured with higher road construction expenditure and whether tactical strategies adopted by the political parties varied over time to reflect increasing political competition. In so doing, this paper combines concepts from three strands of literature: legislative pork-barrel; clientelism and machine politics; and electoral competition. Our main empirical finding for a panel of Spain’s provinces suggests that constituencies electing a higher proportion of deputies from minority or opposition parties were initially punished through lower levels of road investment but that, by the end of the period, they were instead favoured with more resources than the rest. In addition, we also observe that senior deputies who had been ministers in previous administrations were more capable than other politicians of attracting resources to their constituencies

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  • Marta Curto-Grau & Alfonso Herranz-Loncán & Albert Solé-Ollé, 2010. "The political economy of infrastructure construction: The Spanish “Parliamentary Roads” (1880-1914)," Working Papers 2010/22, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  • Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:2010/10/doc2010-22

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    More about this item


    Road investment; distributive politics; electoral competition; vote buying;

    JEL classification:

    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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    1. Historical Economic Geography


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