Public Choice

, Volume 170, Issue 1–2, pp 143–169 | Cite as

Voters’ responsiveness to public employment policies

  • Marta Curto-Grau


This paper examines the electoral rewards for the distribution of public employment. We focus on the Spanish Plan for Rural Employment, a public jobs program introduced by the central government in two lagging regions. We evaluate voters’ responsiveness to this policy using municipal-level electoral data and employ an estimator that combines difference-in-differences with propensity score matching. The main findings are that the program lead to an increase in the vote share for the ruling party in the treated municipalities. This effect is very persistent over the years, and it is unlikely to be explained by turnout buying.


Redistribution Public employment Electoral rewards Difference-in-differences matching estimator 

JEL Classification

H53 P16 



This paper benefited from the financial support of ECO2009-12680/ECON (the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science) and project 2009 SGR 102 (Generalitat de Catalunya). I thank Christina Gathmann, Albert Solé-Ollé, Pilar Sorribas-Navarro, two anonymous referees, and the editor of this journal for very useful suggestions and help. I am also grateful to Jordi Jofre-Monseny, the regional government of Andalusia, the provincial government of Granada, and the provincial delegation of the SEPE in Badajoz, for providing relevant data for this study. Seminar participants at CESifo, the University of Heidelberg, the 71st Annual Conference of the MPSA, and the 2014 Meeting of the EPCS also provided valuable feedback.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Heidelberg University and Barcelona Institute of Economics (IEB)HeidelbergGermany

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