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The Road to Power: Partisan Loyalty and the Centralized Provision of Local Infrastructure

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  • Marcelin Joanis

    () (Université de Sherbrooke, GREDI and CIRANO)

Abstract

Because they yield durable and visible benefits to voters, public infrastructure expenditures are an attractive instrument for politicians to build enduring electoral support in their constituencies. Static models of special-interest politics typically predict that public spending should be targeted at swing voters, at the expense of voters who display strong partisan loyalty. Yet static theories are not well-suited to capture the implications of long-run relationships between political parties and their loyal supporters. To address this limitation, I set out a simple dynamic probabilistic voting model in which a government allocates a fixed budget across electoral districts that differ in their loyalty to the ruling party. The model predicts that the contemporaneous geographic pattern of spending depends on the way the government balances long-run ‘machine politics’ considerations with the more immediate concern to win over swing voters. To assess the empirical relevance of both forces, I analyze rich data on road spending from a panel of electoral districts in Québec. Empirical results exploiting the province’s linguistic fragmentation provide robust evidence that partisan loyalty is a key driver of the geographic allocation of spending, in contrast with the standard ‘swing voter’ view.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcelin Joanis, 2008. "The Road to Power: Partisan Loyalty and the Centralized Provision of Local Infrastructure," Cahiers de recherche 08-15, Departement d'Economique de l'École de gestion à l'Université de Sherbrooke.
  • Handle: RePEc:shr:wpaper:08-15
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    File URL: http://gredi.recherche.usherbrooke.ca/wpapers/GREDI-0815.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. C. Reynolds, 2014. "State politics, tuition, and the dynamics of a political budget cycle," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 46(4), pages 1241-1270, June.
    2. Per G. Fredriksson & Xenia Matschke & Jenny Minier, 2008. "For Sale: Trade Policy in Majoritarian Systems," Working papers 2008-20, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    3. Albert Solé Ollé, 2010. "The Determinants of the Regional Allocation of Infrastructure Investment in Spain," Chapters,in: The Political Economy of Inter-Regional Fiscal Flows, chapter 12 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Brice Fabre, 2017. "Political Colleagues Matter: The Impact of Multiple Office-Holding on Intergovernmental Grants," PSE Working Papers halshs-01596149, HAL.
    5. Mario Jametti & Marcelin Joanis, 2016. "Electoral Competition as a Determinant of Fiscal Decentralisation," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 37, pages 285-300, June.
    6. repec:dau:papers:123456789/12069 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Kumar Das, Pranab & Kar, Saibal & Kayal, Madhumanti, 2011. "Religious Minorities and Provision of Public Goods: Evidence from Rural West Bengal," IZA Discussion Papers 6154, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Pierre Andre & Sandrine Mesplé-Somps, 2010. "Politics and the geographic allocation of public funds in a semi-democracy. The case of Ghana, 1996 - 2004," PSE - G-MOND WORKING PAPERS halshs-00962698, HAL.
    9. Albert Solé-Ollé, 2013. "Inter-regional redistribution through infrastructure investment: tactical or programmatic?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(1), pages 229-252, July.
    10. Pierre André & Sandrine Mesplé-Somps, 2013. "Sitting on the fence: Pork-barrels and democratization under threat of conflict. The case of Ghana, 1996 - 2004," THEMA Working Papers 2013-24, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
    11. Kemmerling, Achim & Stephan, Andreas, 2015. "Comparative political economy of regional transport infrastructure investment in Europe," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 227-239.
    12. Estache, Antonio & Garsous, Grégoire & Seroa da Motta, Ronaldo, 2016. "Shared Mandates, Moral Hazard, and Political (Mis)alignment in a Decentralized Economy," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 98-110.
    13. Marco Gonzalez-Navarro & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2016. "Paving Streets for the Poor: Experimental Analysis of Infrastructure Effects," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(2), pages 254-267, May.
    14. Nicola Persico & José C. R. Pueblita & Dan Silverman, 2011. "Factions and Political Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(2), pages 242-288.
    15. repec:dau:papers:123456789/5746 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. María F. Prada & Graciana Rucci & Sergio S. Urzúa, 2015. "The Effect of Mandated Child Care on Female Wages in Chile," NBER Working Papers 21080, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Mohanty, Biswajit & Bhanumurthy, N. R. & Dastidar, Ananya Ghosh, 2017. "What explains Regional Imbalances in Infrastructure?: Evidence from Indian States," Working Papers 17/197, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.
    18. Kauder, Björn & Potrafke, Niklas & Reischmann, Markus, 2016. "Do politicians reward core supporters? Evidence from a discretionary grant program," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 39-56.
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    22. repec:unt:jnapdj:v:24:y:2017:i:2:p:113-139 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Carpintero, Samuel & Siemiatycki, Matti, 2016. "The politics of delivering light rail transit projects through public-private partnerships in Spain: A case study approach," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 159-167.
    24. repec:dau:papers:123456789/12022 is not listed on IDEAS
    25. Celbis, M.G. & Crombrugghe, D. de & Muysken, J., 2014. "Public investment and regional politics: The case of Turkey," MERIT Working Papers 020, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    partisan loyalty; swing voters; political competition; local public goods; distributive politics; long-run relationships;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures

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