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Local Pork-Barrel Politics in National Pre-election Dates: The Case of Italy

Michele Limosani and Pietro Navarra ()

Public Choice, 2001, vol. 106, issue 3-4, 317-26

Abstract: Political representation in the national assemblies is geographic and elected representatives care about who gains and who loses in their electoral districts. Since legislators are re-election oriented, their chances of electoral success are directly associated with the net benefits delivered to their constituents. In this perspective, geography is not only the basis for political organisation and representation, but also the hallmark of distributive politics. In this context, it is likely that locally elected politicians and party leaders standing in national elections would tend to cooperate in pre-election dates. In this paper we argue that local administrators have an incentive to manipulate local government outlays in connection with national election dates to enhance the re-election prospects of their national party leaders. In particular, given the matching character of national grants with local investment spending, we expect that in pre-election dates local policy-makers would be induced to raise investment outlays beyond their standard growth rate. This would determine inefficient local public spending as a result of the geographically-based system of democratic representation. The case study under our investigation is the behaviour of Italian local policy-makers in connection with national election dates. Copyright 2001 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Date: 2001
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