National or Sub-National Parties: Does Party Geographic Scope Matter?
53 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2017 Last revised: 9 Jul 2019
Date Written: July 4, 2019
In many developing countries, sub-national parties have emerged as dominant forces in local elections. This denationalization of local politics has raised concerns of increasing regional populism, weaker accountability, and worsening political selection. This paper examines whether the geographic scope of a ruling party (national vs. sub-national) affects policy outcomes, such as budget size and expenditure allocation. Using a regression discontinuity design and rich data from Peruvian municipalities, we find negligible differences in policy outcomes between national and sub-national parties. We also document a small impact on the mayor's education and municipal accountability. The lack of stronger effects appears to reflect policy convergence driven by political competition. Overall, our results challenge the view that sub-national parties are detrimental to local governance.
Keywords: National parties, local governance, party system, Peru, regression discontinuity
JEL Classification: O12, D72, H7
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation