The Role of Electoral Incentives for Policy Innovation: Evidence from the U.S. Welfare Reform

56 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2019

See all articles by Andreas Bernecker

Andreas Bernecker

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics

Pierre Boyer

Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Christina Gathmann

Alfred-Weber Institut; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2019

Abstract

This paper shows that electoral incentives matter for the decision to implement novel policies. Our empirical setting is the period prior to and following the U.S. welfare reform in 1996, which marked the most dramatic shift in social policy since the New Deal. Our findings indicate that governors with strong electoral support are less likely to experiment than governors with little support. Yet, governors who cannot be reelected actually experiment more than governors striving for reelection. These findings are robust to controlling for ideology, preferences for redistribution, the state legislature, and cross-state learning.

Keywords: Electoral incentives, Policy innovation, Spillovers, Welfare reform

JEL Classification: D72, D78, H75, I38, O35

Suggested Citation

Bernecker, Andreas and Boyer, Pierre C. and Gathmann, Christina, The Role of Electoral Incentives for Policy Innovation: Evidence from the U.S. Welfare Reform (May 2019). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP13763. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3401850

Andreas Bernecker (Contact Author)

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics ( email )

D-68131 Mannheim
Germany

Pierre C. Boyer

Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau - Department of Economics ( email )

Route de Saclay
Palaiseau, 91120
France

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Christina Gathmann

Alfred-Weber Institut ( email )

Bergheimer Str. 20
Heidelberg, 69115
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/index_html?lang=en&mainframe=http%3A//www.iza.org/en/webcontent/personnel/photos%

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.stanford.edu/~cgathman

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