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Disamenity or a Signal of Competence? The Empirical Political Economy of Local Road Maintenance

Ben Blemings and Margaret Bock
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Ben Blemings: West Virginia University

No 20-07, Working Papers from Department of Economics, West Virginia University

Abstract: Empirical results find different conclusions than theoretical evidence of how electorates perceive road work. This paper uses a geographically smaller unit of analysis than prior work, political alignment, local election cycles, and difference-in-differences. It finds political distortions in invasive road maintenance timing and rules out maintenance seasonality. Spatial discontinuity plots leveraging ward boundary cutoffs confirm the shift. Results identify new public distortions to road maintenance, local election cycles, which are widespread and frequent. The estimates are used to calculate financial costs of local elections on road maintenance. Local elections have cost medium-large U.S. cities over $185.5 million from 1960- 2020.

Keywords: Road Maintenance; Infrastructure; Political Economy; Election (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H40 H76 R42 R53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 45 pages
Date: 2020-05-29
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-pol and nep-ure
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