Party Control of State Government and the Distribution of Public Expenditures

34 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2003

See all articles by Stephen Ansolabehere

Stephen Ansolabehere

Harvard University - Department of Government

James M. Snyder

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science & Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 2003

Abstract

This paper examines the effects of party control of state governments on the distribution of intergovernmental transfers across counties from 1957 to 1997. We find that the governing parties skew the distribution of funds in favor of areas that provide them with the strongest electoral support. This is borne out two ways. (1) Counties that traditionally give the highest vote share to the governing party receive larger shares of state transfers to local governments. (2) When control of the state government changes, the distribution of funds shifts in the direction of the new governing party. We find no evidence that parties reward electorally pivotal counties - counties that are near the median of the state or that have relatively high levels of electoral volatility (high swings). Finally, we find that increased spending in a county increases voter turnout in subsequent elections. This suggests that parties have an electoral incentive to skew the distribution of funds to influence future election results, and the mechanism through which this works is "mobilization" rather than "conversion" of voters in a fixed electorate.

Keywords: Political Economy, Rent-seeking, Political Parties, Intergovernmental Transfers, Voting

JEL Classification: P26, H7, D72

Suggested Citation

Ansolabehere, Stephen and Snyder, James M., Party Control of State Government and the Distribution of Public Expenditures (August 2003). MIT Department of Economics Working Paper No. 03-28. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=432760 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.432760

Stephen Ansolabehere

Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

James M. Snyder (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science & Department of Economics ( email )

E53-457
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
617-253-2669 (Phone)

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
225
Abstract Views
1,688
rank
132,163
PlumX Metrics