Pushing Boundaries: Political Redistricting and Consumer Credit
52 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2017 Last revised: 9 Mar 2018
Date Written: March 2018
Consumers lose access to credit when their congressional district boundaries are irregularly redrawn to benefit a political party (i.e., are gerrymandered). We identify this effect by matching a longitudinal panel of consumer credit data with changes in congressional district boundaries following decennial censuses. Reductions in credit access are concentrated in states that allow elected politicians to draw political boundaries and in districts where subsequent congressional elections are less competitive. We find similar reductions in credit access when state senate district boundaries are irregularly redrawn and when states make it more difficult for constituents to vote. Overall, our findings are consistent with theories suggesting that less-competitive political races reduce politicians’ incentives to cater to their constituents’ preferences.
Keywords: gerrymandering, Redistricting, consumer credit, household finance, political competition
JEL Classification: D14, D72, P16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation