Love Thy (Elected) Neighbor? Residential Segregation, Political Representation and Local Public Goods

52 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021

See all articles by Oskari Harjunen

Oskari Harjunen

VATT Institute for Economic Research

Tuukka Saarimaa

Aalto University - School of Business; Aalto University - School of Engineering

Janne Tukiainen

VATT Institute for Economic Research; University of Turku - Turku School of Business - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 1, 2021

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Harjunen, Oskari and Saarimaa, Tuukka and Tukiainen, Janne, Love Thy (Elected) Neighbor? Residential Segregation, Political Representation and Local Public Goods (January 1, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3765518 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3765518

Oskari Harjunen

VATT Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Tuukka Saarimaa

Aalto University - School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 21210
AALTO, FI-00076
Finland

Aalto University - School of Engineering ( email )

PO BOX 14100
Aalto 00076
Finland

Janne Tukiainen (Contact Author)

VATT Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Arkadiankatu 7
P.O Box 1279
Helsinki, FIN-00101
Finland

University of Turku - Turku School of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

Rehtorinpellonkatu 3
Turku, 20014
Finland

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