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How inequality shapes political participation: The role of spatial patterns of political competition

Francesc Amat, Pablo Beramendi, Miriam Hortas-Rico () and Vicente Rios ()

No 2002, Working Papers. Collection B: Regional and sectoral economics from Universidade de Vigo, GEN - Governance and Economics research Network

Abstract: This study investigates how economic inequality shapes political participation and to what extent this relationship is moderated by political competition. In the case of Spain, the link between income inequality and turnout is negative, as expected, but rather weak, suggesting that local turnout rates do not depend exclusively on income inequality levels. We develop a theoretical model linking inequality, political competition and turnout. To test the validity of the theoretical model we derive a novel data set of inequality metrics for a sample of municipalities over the four local elections that took place between 2003 and 2015 and specify a spatial dynamic panel data model that allows us to account for serial dependence, unobserved spatial heterogeneity and spatial dependence. Our paper reveals two Spains: one in which high inequality and high levels of political competition yield relatively lower turnout rates, and one in which high levels of inequality and low levels of political competition yield relatively higher turnout rates. In addition, our _ndings suggest that this last result might be driven by a higher budgetary use of policies targeted to low income voters.

Keywords: Dynamic Spatial Panels; Turnout; Income Inequality; Spanish Municipalities (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C1 H7 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 65pages
Date: 2020-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-eur, nep-pol and nep-ure
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