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Geography Matters: The Conditional Effect of Electoral Systems on Social Spending

  • Ignacio Jurado and Sandra León


There is a large body of research showing that the provision of social policies is higher under proportional electoral systems than under majoritarian systems. This article helps advance this literature by showing that the geographic distribution of social recipients plays an essential role in moderating the impact of electoral institutions on social provision. Using data from twenty-two OECD countries, the results show that majoritarian systems increase the provision of social spending when recipients are concentrated in certain regions. When levels of concentration are high, social spending in majoritarian countries can surpass levels of provision in proportional representation systems.

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Department of Politics, University of York (email:; Department of Politics, University of York (email: We would like to thank Francesc Amat, Joaquín Artés, Pablo Beramendi, Albert Falcó-Gimeno, Tim Hicks, David Rueda, Scott Siegel, and David Soskice for helpful comments on earlier versions of this project. This article has received financial support from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness: CSO2013-40870-R. Data replication sets are available at



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Geography Matters: The Conditional Effect of Electoral Systems on Social Spending

  • Ignacio Jurado and Sandra León


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