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Politics and the geographic allocation of public funds in a semi-democracy: The case of Ghana, 1996-2004

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  • André, Pierre
  • Mesplé-Somps, Sandrine

Abstract

The body of literature on purely democratic countries can sometimes fail to explain the behavior of government in semi-democratic African countries. Empirical and theoretical political economic papers and that public funds target ruling party supporters and swing districts. Our results, however, suggest that the opposite was true of Ghana. We observe that pro-government districts received less public investment when the NDC was in power. We posit that this nding is partially driven by the government's will to curry favor with opposition politicians. Indeed, in addition to pursuing its electoral objectives, the government of an emerging democracy may fear political instability and keep the lid on potential unrest by bargaining with opposition leaders. Our analysis also shows that, when controlling for votes and other covariates (including wealth, urbanization and density), public goods allocation is not driven by ethnic group targeting either.

Suggested Citation

  • André, Pierre & Mesplé-Somps, Sandrine, 2011. "Politics and the geographic allocation of public funds in a semi-democracy: The case of Ghana, 1996-2004," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 6, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:gdec11:6
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. World Bank, 2008. "Ghana - Public Expenditures Review : Rural Water and Sanitation Sector," World Bank Other Operational Studies 7977, The World Bank.
    2. Marcelin Joanis, 2011. "The road to power: partisan loyalty and the centralized provision of local infrastructure," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(1), pages 117-143, January.
    3. Hirshleifer,Jack, 2001. "The Dark Side of the Force," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521009171, April.
    4. Shawn Cole, 2009. "Fixing Market Failures or Fixing Elections? Agricultural Credit in India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 219-250, January.
    5. Schady, Norbert R., 1999. "Seeking votes - the political economy of expenditures by the Peruvian Social Fund (FONCODES), 1991-95," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2166, The World Bank.
    6. Levitt, Steven D & Snyder, James M, Jr, 1997. "The Impact of Federal Spending on House Election Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 30-53, February.
    7. Dahlberg, Matz & Johansson, Eva, 1999. "On the Vote Purchasing Behavior of Incumbent Governments," Working Paper Series 1999:24, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    8. Case, Anne, 2001. "Election goals and income redistribution: Recent evidence from Albania," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 405-423, March.
    9. Akramov, Kamiljon T. & Asante, Felix Ankomah, 2008. "Decentralization and local public services in Ghana: Do geography and ethnic diversity matter?," GSSP working papers 16, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    10. Jean-Paul Azam, 2006. "The Paradox of Power Reconsidered: A Theory of Political Regimes in Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 15(1), pages 26-58, March.
    11. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    12. Banerjee, Abhijit & Somanathan, Rohini, 2007. "The political economy of public goods: Some evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 287-314, March.
    13. Banful, Afua Branoah, 2011. "Do formula-based intergovernmental transfer mechanisms eliminate politically motivated targeting? Evidence from Ghana," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 380-390, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai & Sam Hickey, 2014. "Rethinking the politics of development in Africa? How the 'political settlement' shapes resource allocation in Ghana," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series esid-038-14, GDI, The University of Manchester.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public goods; Elections; Politics; Ghana;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
    • R53 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Public Facility Location Analysis; Public Investment and Capital Stock

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