The Role of Electoral Incentives for Policy Innovation: Evidence from the US Welfare Reform
Pierre C. Boyer
- American Economic Journal: Economic Policy (Forthcoming)
How do governors' reelection motives affect policy experimentation? We develop a theoretical model of this situation, and then
test the predictions in data on U.S. state-level welfare reforms from
1978 to 2007. This period marked the most dramatic shift in social
policy since the New Deal. Our findings indicate that governors
with strong electoral support are less likely to experiment than governors with little support. Yet, governors who cannot be reelected
actually experiment more than governors striving for reelection.
These ndings are robust to controlling for ideology, preferences
for redistribution, the state legislature, and cross-state learning.
Forthcoming Article Downloads