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Party Discipline and Pork-Barrel Politics

Elhanan Helpman and Gene Grossman

No 5233, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: Polities differ in the extent to which political parties can pre-commit to carry out promised policy actions if they take power. Commitment problems may arise due to a divergence between the ex ante incentives facing national parties that seek to capture control of the legislature and the ex post incentives facing individual legislators, whose interests may be more parochial. We study how differences in "party discipline" shape fiscal policy choices. In particular, we examine the determinants of national spending on local public goods in a three-stage game of campaign rhetoric, voting, and legislative decision-making. We find that the rhetoric and reality of pork-barrel spending, and also the efficiency of the spending regime, bear a non-monotonic relationship to the degree of party discipline.

Keywords: Political economy; Electoral competition; Public goods; Party politics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 H41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2005-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-pbe and nep-pol
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (16)

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