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Where Does Opportunity Knock? On doors that voted for the Executive


  • Stan Oklobdzija
  • Cameron Shelton


The incomplete nature of legislation bestows on the executive branch the residual rights of control over implementation of public policy. The Trump Tax Bill of December 2017, which gave U.S. state governors a one-time opportunity to distribute a geographically-targeted federal tax incentive, provides a useful case-study to untangle the determinants of accountability. All 50 Governors were given the opportunity to designate census tracts within their state for preferential tax treatment. Within 120 days of passage, governors selected up to 25% of their eligible tracts, a short window that allows confident measurement of the political situation when the favor was distributed. We model a governors’ designation of tracts to maximize competing goals of mobilizing their voters, persuading swing voters, rewarding co-partisan legislators, and pursuing the programmatic goal of alleviating poverty. We then estimate the likelihood that an eligible tract is selected as a function of both the economic characteristics of the tract and the political characteristics of the governor and the relevant state and federal legislators. Our results suggest that the executive accountability engendered by eligibility for reelection is weakened by the dual constituency hypothesis, especially in cases where programmatic intent conflicts with the governor’s political motives.

Suggested Citation

  • Stan Oklobdzija & Cameron Shelton, 2022. "Where Does Opportunity Knock? On doors that voted for the Executive," Working Papers CEB 21-022, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/336520

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    Opportunity Zones; Term Limits; Dual-constituency hypothesis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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