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Disastrous Discretion: Ambiguous Decision Situations Foster Political Favoritism

Stephan Schneider and Sven Kunze ()
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Sven Kunze: Heidelberg University, Alfred-Weber-Institute for Economics, http://uni-heidelberg.de

No 21-491, KOF Working papers from KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich

Abstract: Allocation decisions are vulnerable to political influence, but it is unclear in which situations politicians use their discretionary power in a partisan manner. We analyze the allocation of presidential disaster declarations in the United States, exploiting the spatiotemporal randomness of all hurricane strikes from 1965–2018. We show that biased declaration behavior is not politically affordable if a disaster is either very strong or weak, when relief provision is clearly necessary or not. However, in ambiguous situations, after medium-intensity hurricanes, presidents favor areas governed by their co-partisans. Our nonlinear estimations demonstrate that this hump-shaped alignment bias exceeds average estimates up to eightfold.

Keywords: : disaster relief; distributive politics; hurricanes; natural disasters; nonlinearity; party alignment; political inuence; political economy. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 H30 H84 P16 Q54 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 94 pages
Date: 2021-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-pol
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https://doi.org/10.3929/ethz-b-000468932 (application/pdf)

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