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Random Power to Parties and Policies in Coalition Governments

Matteo Cervellati, Giorgio Gulino and Paolo Roberti

No 14906, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: We exploit a natural experiment involving a randomization of votes across parties within coalitions in all local elections in Italy for over a decade. A lottery on the position of party symbols in the ballot papers coupled with a behavioral focal point allows estimating the average treatment effect of parties for coalition policies. A non-marginal boost of votes shifts budgetary spending towards the treated party's platform, but only for issues that are salient in that party's political manifesto. The effects are stronger for more divisive electoral issues like welfare, taxes, and security. The mechanisms relate to perturbations of legislative representation within majorities that spills over to the appointment of cabinet members affiliated with parties. Empowering different parties leads to a selection of policymakers with different socio-demographic characteristics (particularly gender, age, and occupation). The unintentional experiment helps shed new light on the role of parties and their ideologies.

Keywords: Coalition governments; Party ideologies and policies; Selection of executive politicians natural experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm and nep-pol
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