Pushing Boundaries: Political Redistricting and Consumer Credit

52 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2017 Last revised: 9 Mar 2018

See all articles by Pat Akey

Pat Akey

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

Christine Dobridge

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Rawley Heimer

Boston College - Department of Finance

Stefan Lewellen

Pennsylvania State University; London Business School

Date Written: March 2018

Abstract

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

Akey, Pat and Dobridge, Christine and Heimer, Rawley and Lewellen, Stefan, Pushing Boundaries: Political Redistricting and Consumer Credit (March 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3031604 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3031604

Pat Akey (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4
Canada

Christine Dobridge

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States
(202) 912-4341 (Phone)

Rawley Heimer

Boston College - Department of Finance ( email )

Carroll School of Management
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467-3808
United States

Stefan Lewellen

Pennsylvania State University ( email )

360 Business Building
University Park, PA 16802
United States

London Business School ( email )

Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London, London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom

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