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Local politics and economic geography

  • Berliant, Marcus
  • Tabuchi, Takatoshi

We consider information aggregation in national and local elections when voters are mobile and might sort themselves into local districts. Using a standard model of private information for voters in elections in combination with a New Economic Geography model, agglomeration occurs for economic reasons whereas voter stratification occurs due to political preferences. We compare a national election, where full information equivalence is attained, with local elections in a three-district model. We show that full information equivalence holds at a stable equilibrium in only one of the three districts when transportation cost is low. The important comparative static is that full information equivalence is a casualty of free trade. When trade is more costly, people tend to agglomerate for economic reasons, resulting in full information equivalence in the political sector. Under free trade, people sort themselves into districts, most of which are polarized, resulting in no full information equivalence in these districts. We examine the implications of the model using data on corruption in the legislature of the state of Alabama and in the Japanese Diet.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 39596.

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Date of creation: 21 Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:39596
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  1. Castanheira, Micael, 2002. "Why Vote for Losers?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3404, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Maarten Bosker & Steven Brakman & Harry Garretsen & Marc Schramm, 2010. "Adding geography to the new economic geography: bridging the gap between theory and empirics," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(6), pages 793-823, November.
  3. Couch, Jim F & Atkinson, Keith E & Shughart, William F, II, 1992. " Ethics Laws and the Outside Earnings of Politicians: The Case of Alabama's "Legislator-Educators."," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 73(2), pages 135-45, March.
  4. Donald R. Davis, 1997. "The Home Market, Trade, and Industrial Structure," NBER Working Papers 6076, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Takanori Ago & Ikumo Isono & Takatoshi Tabuchi, 2006. "Locational disadvantage of the hub," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 819-848, December.
  6. Ernst Maug & Bilge Yilmaz, 2002. "Two-Class Voting: A Mechanism for Conflict Resolution?," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 391749000000000536, www.najecon.org.
  7. Takatoshi Tabuchi & Dao-Zhi Zeng, 2000. "Stability of Spatial Equilibrium," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-79, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  8. Ernst Maug & Bilge Yilmaz, 2002. "Two-Class Voting: A Mechanism for Conflict Resolution?," Levine's Working Paper Archive 391749000000000536, David K. Levine.
  9. Epple, Dennis & Platt, Glenn J., 1998. "Equilibrium and Local Redistribution in an Urban Economy when Households Differ in both Preferences and Incomes," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 23-51, January.
  10. Ernst Maug & Bilge Yilmaz, 2002. "Two-Class Voting: A Mechanism for Conflict Resolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1448-1471, December.
  11. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1997. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections With Private Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1560, David K. Levine.
  12. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-99, June.
  13. Maarten Bosker & Steven Brakman & Harry Garretsen & Marc Schramm, 2007. "Adding Geography to the New Economic Geography," CESifo Working Paper Series 2038, CESifo Group Munich.
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