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Electoral Reform and Public Sector Efficiency. Some Evidence From Italian Municipalities

Marco Alberto De Benedetto (), Sergio Destefanis and Luigi Guadalupi ()
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Marco Alberto De Benedetto: Università degli Studi di Messina
Luigi Guadalupi: RISS-CNR

No 3_237, Working Papers from Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Statistiche, Università degli Studi di Salerno

Abstract: We study the effect of Law 81/1993, which introduced a different electoral rule for the election of the mayor, on the technical efficiency of Italian cities. Since 1993, municipalities below 15,000 inhabitants vote with a single-ballot system, whereas cities above 15,000 inhabitants threshold are subject to a double ballot. We first estimate the technical efficiency in 1994 (taken as a pre-change year), and 1999 and 2004 for a sample of Italian municipalities, through a non-parametric DEA, and then we perform on both input and output oriented efficiency scores a difference-in-differences analysis, through various panel techniques. We find evidence that, after the reform, municipalities voting under a double-ballot show low levels of efficiency compared to cities voting under a single-ballot, by about 16 (input oriented) and 4 percentage points (output oriented). We speculate that the difference in the level of efficiency among cities voting under a different electoral rule is essentially driven by a lower average quality of politicians elected under a double ballot compared to those elected with a single ballot.

Keywords: Electoral reforms; Technical efficiency; Difference-in-differences; DEA. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C21 C23 C24 D72 H76 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-03
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Published in Working Papers, March 2019, pages 1-24

Downloads: (external link) First version, 2019 (application/pdf)

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