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Local representation and strategic voting: evidence from electoral boundary reforms

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  • Tuukka Saarimaa

    () (Government Institute for Economic Research VATT)

  • Janne Tukiainen

    () (Government Institute for Economic Research VATT & Helsinki Center of Economic Research (HECER))

Abstract

We use Finnish local election voting data to analyze whether voters value local representation and act strategically to guarantee it. To identify such preferences and behavior, we exploit municipal mergers as natural experiments, which increase the number of candidates and parties available to voters and intensify political competition. Using difference-in-differences strategy, we find that voters in merged municipalities start to concentrate their votes to local candidates despite the larger choice set, whereas the vote distributions in the municipalities that did not merge remain the same. Moreover, the concentration effect is clearly larger in municipalities that are less likely to gain local representation in the post-merger councils. We also find that the effect increases both as the geographical distance and income heterogeneity between merging municipalities increases. We interpret these results as evidence of both preferences for local representation and strategic voting.

Suggested Citation

  • Tuukka Saarimaa & Janne Tukiainen, 2013. "Local representation and strategic voting: evidence from electoral boundary reforms," Working Papers 2013/32, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  • Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:2013/6/doc2013-32
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Saarimaa, Tuukka & Tukiainen, Janne, 2015. "Common pool problems in voluntary municipal mergers," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 140-152.
    2. Peter Bönisch & Benny Geys & Claus Michelsen, 2015. "David and Goliath in the Poll Booth: Group Size, Voting Power and Voter Turnout," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1491, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Blesse Sebastian & Rösel Felix, 2017. "Was bringen kommunale Gebietsreformen?: Kausale Evidenz zu Hoffnungen, Risiken und alternativen Instrumenten," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 18(4), pages 307-324, November.
    4. Hyytinen, Ari & Saarimaa, Tuukka & Tukiainen, Janne, 2014. "Electoral vulnerability and size of local governments: Evidence from voting on municipal mergers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 193-204.
    5. Harjunen, Oskari & Saarimaa, Tuukka & Tukiainen, Janne, 2017. "Political Representation and Effects of Municipal Mergers," Working Papers 98, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
    6. Sebastian Blesse & Felix Rösel, 2017. "Gebietsreformen: Hoffnungen, Risiken und Alternativen," ifo Working Paper Series 234, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Electoral boundary reform; local representation; municipality mergers; strategic voting;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • 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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