Love Thy (Elected) Neighbor? Residential Segregation, Political Representation and Local Public Goods
52 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021
Date Written: January 1, 2021
We study the link between geographic political representation and geographic distribution of public goods within local jurisdictions using geo-coded data on politicians, the electorate and elementary school closures. We find that poorer neighborhoods are under-represented. Inequality in geographic representation matters as the probability of school closure halves from about 20% to 10% when a candidate close to the school is randomly elected due to ties in personal vote counts. High-income residents react to school closures by moving away from their neighborhood. Taken together, residential sorting leads to inequality in representation and public goods across neighborhoods, which further reinforces residential segregation.
Keywords: Geographic representation, random elections, residential segregation, school closure
JEL Classification: C21, D72, H75, R23
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