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The electoral budget cycle on municipal police expenditure

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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.

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Fig. 1


  1. 1.

    Source: Perception of the main problems in Spain, published monthly by the Spanish Centre of Social Research.


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We acknowledge the financial support of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (ECO2010-17463 and ECO2010-20522).

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Correspondence to Bernardino Benito.

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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

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  • Police expenditure
  • Political budget cycles
  • Local government
  • Budgetary manipulation
  • GMM

JEL Classification

  • H72