Distributive Politics, Electoral Institutions, and European Structural and Investment Funding: Evidence from Italy and France
Forthcoming in Journal of Common Market Studies
35 Pages Posted: 18 May 2016
Date Written: May 18, 2016
Extensive research suggests that political factors bias the domestic allocation of the European Union (EU) Structural and Investment Funds (SIF) in ways that may not be in line with EU goals. This paper offers the first systematic and comparative analysis of the role of domestic electoral institutions in shaping politicians' incentives to use European funds to buy votes. Drawing on theories of distributive politics and SIF implementation, the paper argues that electoral institutions provide politicians with incentives to use at least a part of the SIF to buy votes, and that the vote-seeking behavior of national governments is relatively unconstrained by the bargaining power of the European Commission or regions. The empirical results from a statistical analysis of SIF allocations within Italian and French NUTS3-level regions endorse the argument, with implications for the effectiveness of the SIF in promoting sustainable and inclusive development in European regions.
Keywords: Distributive politics, electoral institutions, European Union Structural and Investment Funding
JEL Classification: D72, D78
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation