Does Electoral Competition Curb Party Favoritism?

IEB Working Paper N. 2017/04

67 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2017

See all articles by Marta Curto-Grau

Marta Curto-Grau

University of Barcelona

Albert Sole-Olle

University of Barcelona; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Pilar Sorribas-Navarro

University of Barcelona - Faculty of Economic Science and Business Studies

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 15, 2017

Abstract

We study whether incumbents facing uncontested elections channel public spending towards co‐partisan officials more than is the case of incumbents that are worried about their chances of re‐election. To do so, we draw on data detailing capital transfers allocated by Spanish regions to local governments during the period 1995‐2007. Using a regression discontinuity design, we document strong and robust effects. We find that, on average, a mayor belonging to the same party as that of the regional president obtains nearly twice the amount in grants as is received by a mayor belonging to an opposition party. This effect is much greater for regional incumbents that won the previous election by a large margin, but it disappears in the case of highly competitive elections. The effects estimated by difference‐in‐differences are not so great but they point in the same direction. Overall, the results are consistent with predictions that regional incumbents focus on obtaining the most votes possible when elections are strongly contested, while they seek to increase the number of aligned mayors when their position at the ballot box is not vulnerable.

Keywords: political parties, intergovernmental transfers, distributive politics, regression discontinuity

JEL Classification: C2, D72

Suggested Citation

Curto-Grau, Marta and Sole-Olle, Albert and Sorribas-Navarro, Pilar, Does Electoral Competition Curb Party Favoritism? (February 15, 2017). IEB Working Paper N. 2017/04 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2919291 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2919291

Marta Curto-Grau

University of Barcelona ( email )

John M. Keynes, 1-11
Barcelona, 08034
Spain

Albert Sole-Olle (Contact Author)

University of Barcelona ( email )

Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 585
Barcelona, 08007
Spain

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Pilar Sorribas-Navarro

University of Barcelona - Faculty of Economic Science and Business Studies ( email )

Barcelona
Spain

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