National or Sub-National Parties: Does Party Geographic Scope Matter?
57 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2017 Last revised: 13 Jul 2020
Date Written: May 12, 2020
In many developing countries, local elections are increasingly dominated by political parties with a local or regional scope. This paper examines whether the geographic scope of a ruling party (national vs. sub-national) affects local policy outcomes. This party dimension can be important due to differences in parties' ability to select and discipline politicians, coordinate with other government institutions, or internalize geographical spillovers. Using a regression discontinuity design and data from Peruvian municipalities, we find that a party's geographic scope has negligible effects on most observable policy outcomes. 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-party rule is detrimental to local governance.
Keywords: National parties, local governance, party system, Peru, regression discontinuity
JEL Classification: O12, D72, H7
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation