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On the Vote-Purchasing Behavior of Incumbent Governments

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 March 2004

MATZ DAHLBERG
Affiliation:
Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden (matz.dahlberg@nek.uu.se).
EVA JOHANSSON
Affiliation:
Department of Economics, Uppsala University, and Institute for Labor Market Policy Evaluation, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden (eva.johansson@nek.uu.se).

Abstract

In this paper we investigate whether there are any tactical motives behind the distribution of grants from central to lower-level governments. We use a temporary grant program that is uniquely suitable for testing theories of vote-purchasing behavior of incumbent governments. The temporary grant program differs from traditional intergovernmental grants in several aspects, most importantly in the sovereign decision-making power given to the incumbent central government. We find support for the hypothesis that the incumbent government used the grant program under study to win votes. In particular, we find strong support for the Lindbeck–Weibull/Dixit–Londregan model, in which parties distribute transfers to regions where there are many swing voters. This result is statistically as well as economically significant. We do not, however, find any support for the model that predicts that the incumbent government transfers money to its own supporters.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2002 by the American Political Science Association

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