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Political connections, political favoritism and political competition: evidence from the granting of building permits by French mayors

Christophe Lévêque ()
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Christophe Lévêque: GREThA. Université de Bordeaux

Public Choice, 2020, vol. 184, issue 1, No 5, 135-155

Abstract: Abstract This article discusses the influence of political connections on public policies implemented at the local level. Using a sample of more than 189,000 local politicians in French cities with more than 3500 inhabitants, I examine whether families of candidates who supported the mayors elected in 2008 obtain more building permits than the families of their political opponents. I find that the former obtain 35% more building permits than the latter between 2008 and 2014. Then, I show that the previous difference declines with political competition and disappears after close elections. My interpretation of those findings underlines two mechanisms. First, political competition disciplines mayors: in cities with weak political competition, mayors may favor their supporters when these supporters or one of their family members wants to obtain building permits, but they refrain from doing so after close elections. Second, in these cities, individuals who want to obtain something in exchange for their support (such as facilitating the acquisition of building permits) may easily forecast who is likely to become the mayor and whom they should support.

Keywords: Political favoritism; Local elections; Building permits; Mayors; Housing supply (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: R31 R50 D73 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s11127-019-00718-z

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