Advertisement

Public Choice

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

Voters’ responsiveness to public employment policies

  • Marta Curto-Grau
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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

JEL Classification

H53 P16 

Notes

Acknowledgments

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.

References

  1. Abadie, A. (2005). Semiparametric difference-in-differences estimators. Review of Economic Studies, 72(1), 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alesina, A., Baquir, R., & Easterly, W. (2000). Redistributive public employment. Journal of Urban Economics, 48(2), 219–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alesina, A., Danninger, S., & Rostagno, M. (2001). Redistribution through public employment: The case of italy. IMF Staff Papers, 48(3).Google Scholar
  4. Arulampalam, W., Dasgupta, S., Dhillon, A., & Dutta, B. (2009). Electoral goals and center-state transfers: A theoretical model and empirical evidence from India. Journal of Development Economics, 88(1), 103–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Austin, P. (2009). Balance diagnostics for comparing the distribution of baseline covariates between treatment groups in propensity-score matched samples. Statistics in Medicine, 28(25), 3083–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Austin, P. (2011). A tutorial and case study in propensity score analysis: An application to estimating the effect of in-hospital smoking cessation counseling on mortality. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 46(1), 119–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bhatti, Y., & Hansen, K. (2013). Public employees lining up at the polls - The conditional effect of living and working in the same municipality. Public Choice, 156(3), 611–629.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boix, C. (1998). Political parties, growth and equality. Conservative and social democratic economic strategies in the world economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Boso, A., Muñoz, J., & Pallarés, F. (2005). The Spanish general elections 2004. Informe de las Comunidades Autnomas 2004. Barcelona: Instituto de Derecho Público.Google Scholar
  10. Brender, A. (2003). The effect of fiscal performance on local government election results in Israel: 1989–1998. Journal of Public Economics,  87(9–10), 2187–2205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brender, A., & Drazen, A. (2008). How do budget deficits and economic growth affect reelection prospects? Evidence from a large panel of countries. The American Economic Review, 98(5), 2203–2220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Breton, A., & Wintrobe, R. (1975). The equilibrium size of a budget-maximizing bureau: A note on Niskanen’s theory of bureaucracy. Journal of Political Economy, 83(1), 195–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bruhn, K. (1996). Social spending and political support: The ’lessons’ of the national solidarity program in Mexico. Comparative Politics, 28(2), 151–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Brusco, V., Nazareno, M., & Stokes, S. (2004). Vote buying in Argentina. Latin American Research Review, 39(2), 66–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Buchanan, J. (1977) . Budgets and Bureaucrats: the Sources of Government Growth, Durham, chapter Why does government grow?Google Scholar
  16. Burgess, R., Jedwab, R., Miguel, E., Morjaria, A., & Padró i Miquel, G. (2015). The value of democracy: Evidence from road building in Kenya. American Economic Review, 105(6), 1817–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Calvo, E., & Murillo, M. (2004). Who delivers? Partisan clients in the Argentine electoral market. American Journal of Political Science, 48(4), 742–757.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cazorla, J. (1995). El clientelismo de partido en la España de hoy: Una disfunción de la democracia. Revista de Estudios Políticos, 86, 35–51.Google Scholar
  19. CEOE, I. (2011). El traspaso de competencias en el sector público.Google Scholar
  20. Chang, C., & Turnbull, G. K. (2002). Bureaucratic behavior in the local public sector: A revealed preference approach. Public Choice, 113(1), 191–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Chubb, J. (1981). The social bases of an urban political machine: The case of Palermo. Political Science Quarterly, 96(1), 107–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Chubb, J. (1982). Patronage, power, and poverty in Southern Italy. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Corey, E., & Garand, J. (2002). Are government employees more likely to vote?: An analysis of turnout in the 1996 U.S. national election. Public Choice, 111(3), 259–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Corzo Fernández, S. (2002). El Clientelismo Político: el Plan de Empleo Rural en Andalucía, un Estudio de Caso. Universidad de Granada.Google Scholar
  25. Courant, P. N., Gramlich, E. M., & Rubinfeld, D. L. (1979). Public employee market power and the level of government spending. American Economic Review, 69(5), 806–817.Google Scholar
  26. Dahlberg, M., & Mörk, E. (2006). Public employment and the double role of bureaucrats. Public Choice, 126(3/4), 387–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Dahlberg, M., & Mörk, E. (2011). Is there an election cycle in public employment? Separating time effects from election year effects. CESifo Economic Studies, 57(3), 480–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. De La, O. A. (2012). Do conditional cash transfers affect electoral behavior? Evidence from a randomized experiment in Mexico. American Journal of Political Science, 57(1), 1–14.Google Scholar
  29. Diaz-Cayeros, A., Estevez, F., & Magaloni, B. (2008). Strategies of vote buying: Social transfers, democracy, and poverty reduction in Mexico. Draft manuscript, Stanford Department of Political Science.Google Scholar
  30. Dixit, A., & Londregan, J. (1996). The determinants of success of special interests in redistributive politics. Journal of Politics, 58(4), 1132–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Drazen, A., & Eslava, M. (2010). Electoral manipulation via voter-friendly spending: Theory and evidence. Journal of Development Economics, 92(1), 39–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Folke, O., Hirano, S., & Snyder, J. M, Jr. (2011). Patronage and elections in U.S. states. American Political Science Review, 105(3), 567–585.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Golden, M., & Min, B. (2013). Distributive politics around the world. Annual Review of Political Science, 16, 73–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. González, J. J. (1990). El desempleo rural en Andalucía y Extremadura. Agricultura y Sociedad, 54, 229–266.Google Scholar
  35. Heckman, J. J., Ichimura, H., & Todd, P. (1997). Matching as an econometric evaluation estimator: Evidence from evaluating a job training programme. Review of Economic Studies, 64(4), 605–654.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Heckman, J. J., Ichimura, H., & Todd, P. (1998). Characterizing selection bias using experimental data. Econometrica, 66(5), 1017–1098.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hopkin, J. (2001). A ’Southern model’ of electoral mobilisation? Clientelism and electoral politics in Spain, West European Politics, 24(1), 115–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hopkin, J. and Mastropaolo, A. (2001) . Clientelism, Interests and Democratic Representation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, chapter From Patronage to Clientelism: Comparing the Italian and Spanish Experiences.Google Scholar
  39. Jofre-Monseny, J. (2014). The effects of unemployment benefits on migration in lagging regions. Journal of Urban Economics, 83, 73–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Johnson, R., & Libecap, G. D. (1991). Public sector employee voter participation and salaries. Public Choice, 68(1), 137–150.Google Scholar
  41. Katsimi, M. (1998). Explaining the size of the public sector. Public Choice, 96(1), 117–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kitschelt, H., & Wilkinson, S. (2007). Patrons, clients and policies: patterns of democratic accountability and political competition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, chapter A Research Agenda.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Labonne, J. (2013). The local electoral impacts of conditional cash transfers: Evidence from a field experiment. Journal of Development Economics, 104, 73–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Levitt, S., & Snyder, J. (1997). The impact of federal spending on House election outcomes. Journal of Political Economy, 105(1), 30–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lindbeck, A., & Weibull, J. W. (1987). Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition. Public Choice, 52, 237–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Manacorda, M., Miguel, E., & Vigorito, A. (2011). Government transfers and political support. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 3(3), 1–28.Google Scholar
  47. Martín, V. O. (2007). La semifeudalidad y el atraso de España.  El ejemplo del Sur. Los libros de la catarata.Google Scholar
  48. Mattos, E., & França, V. (2011). Public employment and income redistribution: Causal evidence for Brazilian municipalities. Public Choice, 146, 43–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Nazareno, M., Stokes, S., & Brusco, V. (2006). Réditos y peligros electorales del gasto público en la Argentina. Desarrollo Económico, 46(181), 63–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Nichter, S. (2008). Vote buying or turnout buying? Machine politics and the secret ballot. American Political Science Review, 102(1).Google Scholar
  51. Niskanen, W. (1967). The peculiar economics of bureaucracy. American Economic Review, 58(2), 293–305.Google Scholar
  52. Niskanen, W. (1971). Bureaucracy and Representative Government. Chicago: Aldine-Atherton.Google Scholar
  53. Niskanen, W. (2001). The Elgar Companion to Public Choice. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing/chapter Bureaucracy.Google Scholar
  54. Peltzman, S. (1992). Voters as fiscal conservatives. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 107(2), 327–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Rattsø, J., & Sørensen, R. (2004). Public employees as swing voters: Empirical evidence on opposition to public reform. Public Choice, 119, 281–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Robinson, J. A., & Verdier, T. (2013). The political economy of clientelism. Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 115(2), 260–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Rosenbaum, P. R., & Rubin, D. R. (1984). Reducing bias in observational studies using subclassification on the propensity score. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 79(387), 516–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Rowe, K., Lago-Peñas, I., & Lago-Peñas, S. (2014). Opening the black box: The partisan consequences of turnout in Portugal and Spain. Comparative European Politics, 12.Google Scholar
  59. Sakurai, S., & Menezes-Filho, N. (2008). Fiscal policy and reelection in Brazilian municipalities. Public Choice, 137(1), 301–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Scoppa, V. (2009). Intergenerational transfers of public sector jobs: a shred of evidence on nepotism. Public Choice, 141(1), 167–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Shi, M., & Svensson, J. (2006). Political budget cycles: Do they differ across countries and why? Journal of Public Economics, 90(8–9), 1367–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Solé-Ollé, A., & Sorribas-Navarro, P. (2008). The effects of partisan alignment on the allocation of intergovernmental transfers. Differences-in-differences estimates for Spain. Journal of Public Economics, 92(12), 2302–2319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Stokes, S. (2005). Perverse accountability: A formal model of machine politics with evidence from Argentina. American Political Science Review, 99(3), 315–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Stuart, E. A., Lee, B. K., & Leacy, F. P. (2013). Prognostic score-based balance measures can be a useful diagnostic for propensity scores in comparative effectiveness research. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 66(8), 84–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Zucco, C. (2011) . Conditional cash transfers and voting behavior: Redistribution and clientelism in developing democracies. Unpublished manuscript. Princeton University.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations