This paper analyzes the effects of electoral cycles on municipal police expenditure. We use a database with information on Spanish municipalities with more than 20,000 inhabitants for the period 2001–2008. Our data show that incumbents increase police spending 1 year before the elections, thus we confirm an electoral budget cycle on police expenditure in Spain. We also find that conservative parties are associated with increased spending on public safety. Population has a positive and significant impact on police expenditures per capita, which indicates diseconomies of scale. The theory on sub-national government spending shows that intergovernmental transfers per capita and taxes per capita are believed to impact local expenditures. Our model fits this assumption, showing a significant and positive influence of both variables on police expenditures. Finally, our model reports a positive impact of both immigration and economic level on police spending.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Source: Perception of the main problems in Spain, published monthly by the Spanish Centre of Social Research.
Alesina, A. (1988). Macroeconomics and politics, NBER macroeconomics annual. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Alesina, A., & Rosenthal, H. (1994). Partisan politics, divided governments, and the economy. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Alesina, A., Baqir, R., & Easterly, W. (1999). Public goods and ethnic divisions. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 114(4), 1243–1284.
Alt, J. E., & Lowry, R. C. (1994). Divided government, fiscal institutions, and budget deficits: Evidence from the states. The American Political Science Review, 88(4), 811–828.
Anderson, T. W., & Hsiao, C. (1982). Formulation and estimation of dynamic models using panel data. Journal of Econometrics, 18(1), 47–82.
Arellano, M., & Bond, S. R. (1991). Some tests of specification for panel data: Monte Carlo evidence and an application to employment equations. Review of Economic Studies, 58(2), 277–297.
Arellano, M., & Bover, O. (1995). Another look at the instrumental variable estimation of error component models. Journal of Econometrics, 68(1), 29–51.
Bails, D., & Tieslau, M. A. (2000). The impact of fiscal constitutions on State and local expenditures. Cato Journal, 20(2), 255–277.
Baleiras, R. N., & Costa, J. (2004). To be or not to be in office again. An empirical test of a local political business cycle rationale. European Journal of Political Economy, 20(3), 655–671.
Baltagi, B. (2001). Econometric analysis of panel data (2nd ed.). Chichester, UK, England: Wiley.
Bastida, F., Benito, B., & Guillamón, M. D. (2009). An empirical assessment of the municipal financial situation in Spain. International Public Management Journal, 12(4), 484–499.
Becker, G. S. (1968). Crime and punishment: An economic approach. Journal of Political Economy, 76(2), 169–217.
Blais, A., & Nadeau, R. (1992). The electoral budget cycle. Public Choice, 74(4), 389–403.
Bodkin, R. G., & Conklin, D. W. (1971). Scale y other determinants of municipal government expenditures in Ontario: A quantitative analysis. International Economic Review, 12(3), 465–481.
Borcherding, T. E., & Deacon, R. T. (1972). The demand for the services of non-federal governments. American Economic Review, 62(5), 891–901.
Bosch, N., & Suarez-Pandiello, J. (1995). Seven hypotheses about public choice and local spending: A test for Spanish municipalities. Public Finance, 50(1), 36–50.
Brazer, H. E. (1959). City expenditures in the United States. New York: National Bureau of Economic Research.
Carruthers, J. I., & Ulfarsson, G. F. (2003). Urban sprawl and the cost of public services. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 30(4), 503–522.
Carruthers, J. I., & Ulfarsson, G. F. (2008). Does smart growth matter to public finance? Urban Studies, 45(9), 1791–1820.
Chamlin, M. B. (1990). Determinants of police expenditures in Chicago, 1904–1958. The Sociological Quarterly, 31(3), 485–494.
Chiricos, T. G. (1987). Rates of crime and unemployment: An analysis of aggregate research evidence. Social Problems, 34(2), 187–212.
Courant, P. N., Gramlich, E. M., & Rubinfeld, D. L. (1980). Why voters support tax limitations amendments: The Michigan case. National Tax Journal, 33(1), 1–20.
Cusack, T. R. (1997). Partisan politics and public finance: Changes in public spending in the industrialized democracies, 1955–1989. Public Choice, 91(3–4), 375–395.
Dezhbakhsh, H., Tohamy, S. M., & Aranson, P. H. (2003). A new approach for testing budgetary incrementalism. Journal of Politics, 65(2), 532–558.
Drazen, A., & Eslava, M. (2010). Electoral manipulation via voter-friendly spending. Theory and evidence. Journal of Development Economics, 92(1), 39–52.
Dyke, A. (2007). Electoral cycles in the administration of criminal justice. Public Choice, 133(3–4), 417–437.
Fabricant, S. (1952). The trend of government activity in the United States since 1900. New York: National Bureau of Economic Research.
Foucault, M., Madies, M., & Paty, S. (2008). Public spending interactions and local politics. Empirical evidence from French municipalities. Public Choice, 137(1), 57–80.
Galli, E., & Rossi, S. (2002). Political budget cycles: The case of the western German Lander. Public Choice, 110(3–4), 283–303.
García-Sánchez, I.M., Rodríguez-Domínguez, L., & Parra-Domínguez, J. (2011). Evaluation of the efficacy and effectiveness of the Spanish security forces. European Journal of Law and Economics. doi:10.1007/s10657-011-9265-4.
Gerber, E. R., & Hopkins, D. J. (2011). When mayors matter: Estimating the impact of mayoral partisanship on city policy. American Journal of Political Science, 55(2), 326–339.
Golden, D. G., & Poterba, J. M. (1980). The price of popularity: The political business cycle Reexamined. American Journal of Political Science, 24(4), 696–714.
Grob, U., & Wolter, S. C. (2007). Demographic change and public education spending: A conflict between young and old? Education Economics, 15(3), 277–292.
Hagen, T. P., & Vabo, S. I. (2005). Political characteristics, institutional procedures and fiscal performance: Panel data analyses of Norwegian local governments, 1991–1998. European Journal of Political Research, 44(1), 43–64.
Hines, J. R., & Richard, H. T. (1995). Anomalies: The flypaper effect. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 9(4), 217–226.
Hirsch, W. Z. (1959). Expenditure implications of metropolitan growth and consolidation. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 41(3), 232–241.
Jackson, P. I., & Carroll, L. (1981). Race and the war on crime: The sociopolitical determinants of municipal police expenditures in 90 non-southern US. Cities. American Sociological Review, 46(3), 290–305.
Jones, B. D., True, J. L., & Baumgartner, F. R. (1997). Does incrementalism stem from political consensus or from institutional gridlock? American Journal of Political Science, 41(4), 1319–1339.
Kushner, J., Masse, I., Peters, T., & Soroka, L. (1996). The determinants of municipal expenditures in Ontario. Canadian Tax Journal, 44(2), 451–464.
Ladd, H. F. (1992). Population growth, density and the costs of providing services. Urban Studies, 29(2), 273–295.
Levitt, S. D. (1997). Using electoral cycles in police hiring to estimate the effect of police on crime. The American Economic Review, 87(3), 270–290.
Marlow, M. L., & Shiers, A. F. (1999). Do law enforcement expenditures crowd-out public education expenditures? Applied Economics, 31(2), 255–266.
McCrary, J. (2002). Using electoral cycles in police hiring to estimate the effect of police on crime: Comment. The American Economic Review, 92(4), 1236–1243.
Merlo, A. (2003). Income distribution, police expenditures, and crime: A political economy perspective. Journal of the European Economic Association, 1(2–3), 450–458.
Naruhiko, S., & Aquino, N. (2008). Fiscal policy and reelection in Brazilian municipalities. Public Choice, 137(1–2), 301–314.
Niskanen, W. A. (1971). Bureaucracy and representative government. Chicago: Aldine-Atherton.
Oates, W. E. (1979). Lump-sum intergovernmental grants have price effects. In P. Mieszkowsky & W. H. Oakland (Eds.), Fiscal federalism and grants-in-aid (pp. 23–30). Washington, DC: Urban Institute.
Okun, A. M. (1981). Prices and quantities: A macroeconomic analysis. Washington, DC: Brookings Institute.
Pettersson-Lidbom, P. (2001). An empirical investigation of the strategic use of debt. The Journal of Political Economy, 109(3), 570–583.
Poterba, J. M. (1995). Capital budgets, borrowing rules, and state capital spending. Journal of Public Economics, 56(2), 165–187.
Rogoff, K. (1990). Equilibrium political budget cycles. The American Economic Review, 80(1), 21–36.
Roubini, N., & Sachs, J. D. (1989a). Political and economic determinants of budget deficits in the industrial democracies. European Economic Review, 33(5), 903–938.
Roubini, N., & Sachs, J. D. (1989b). Government spending and budget deficits in the industrial countries. Economic Policy: A European Forum, 4(8), 99–132.
Saha, S. (2011). City-level analysis of the effect of political regimes on public good provision. Public choice, 147(1–2), 155–171.
Schmandt, H. J., & Stephens, G. R. (1960). Measuring municipal output. National Tax Journal, 8, 369–375.
Seitz, H. (2000). Fiscal policy, deficits and politics of subnational governments: The case of the German Laender. Public Choice, 102(3–4), 183–218.
Sever, B., & McSkimming, M. J. (2004). The impact of racial composition and other county characteristics on the size of sheriff’s departments: A new analysis of police force growth. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 15(4), 486–512.
Tellier, G. (2006). Public expenditures in Canadian provinces: An empirical study of politico-economic interactions. Public Choice, 126(3–4), 367–385.
Tovmo, P., & Falch, T. (2002). The flypaper effect and political strength. Economics of Governance, 3(2), 153–170.
Veiga, L. G., & Veiga, F. J. (2007). Political business cycles at the municipal level. Public Choice, 131(1–2), 45–64.
Wagner, A. (1958). Three extracts on public finance. In R. A. Musgrave & A. T. Peacock (Eds.), Classics in the theory of public finance (pp. 1–15). London: Macmillan.
Walker, L. D., & Waterman, R. W. (2010). Gubernatorial elections and attitudes toward the police: State elections as focusing events. Electoral Studies, 29, 117–127.
Walzer, N. (1972). Economies of scale and municipal police services: The Illinois experience. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 54(4), 431–438.
Weicher, J. C. (1970). Determinants of central city expenditures: Some overlooked factors and problems. National Tax Journal, 23, 379–396.
Zhao, J., Ren, L., & Lovrich, N. P. (2010). Budgetary support for police services in US municipalities: Comparing political culture, socioeconomic characteristics and incrementalism as rival explanations for budget share allocation to police. Journal of Criminal Justice, 38(3), 266–275.
We acknowledge the financial support of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (ECO2010-17463 and ECO2010-20522).
About this article
Cite this article
Guillamón, M.D., Bastida, F. & Benito, B. The electoral budget cycle on municipal police expenditure. Eur J Law Econ 36, 447–469 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10657-011-9271-6
- Police expenditure
- Political budget cycles
- Local government
- Budgetary manipulation