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American Economic Journal: Economic Policy: Vol. 4 No. 3 (August 2012)

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Distributive Politics and Electoral Incentives: Evidence from Seven US State Legislatures

Article Citation

Aidt, Toke S., and Julia Shvets. 2012. "Distributive Politics and Electoral Incentives: Evidence from Seven US State Legislatures." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 4(3): 1-29.

DOI: 10.1257/pol.4.3.1

Abstract

We study the effect of electoral incentives on the allocation of public services across legislative districts. We develop a model in which elections encourage legislators to cater to parochial interests and thus aggravate the common pool problem. Using unique data from seven US states, we study how the amount of funding that a legislator channels to his district changes when he faces a term limit. We find that legislators bring less pork to their district when they cannot seek re-election. Consistent with the Law of 1/N, this last term reduction in funding is smaller in states with many legislative districts. (JEL D72, H70)

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Authors

Aidt, Toke S. (U Cambridge and CESifo, Munich)
Shvets, Julia (U Cambridge)

JEL Classifications

D72: Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
H70: State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations: General

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