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Pork-Barrel Politics in Semi-Democracies: The Spanish “Parliamentary Roads,” 1880–1914

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 August 2012

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Public Economics and Barcelona Institute of Economics (IEB), Faculty of Economics, University of Barcelona, Diagonal, 690, 08034 Barcelona, Spain. E-mail:
Associate Professor of Economic History, Department of Economic History and Institutions, Faculty of Economics, University of Barcelona, Diagonal, 690, 08034 Barcelona, Spain. E-mail:
Professor of Economics, Department of Public Economics and Barcelona Institute of Economics (IEB), Faculty of Economics, University of Barcelona, Diagonal, 690, 08034 Barcelona, Spain. E-mail:


This article analyzes the effects of parliamentary representation on road infrastructure expenditure during the Spanish Restoration. Using a panel data set of Spanish provinces in 1880–1914, we find that the allocation of administrative resources among provinces depended both on the delegation characteristics (such as the share of MPs with party leadership positions, and their degree of electoral independence), and the regime's global search for stability. These results point to the importance of electoral dynamics within semi-democratic political systems, and offer an example of the influence of government tactics on infrastructure allocation.

Copyright © The Economic History Association 2012

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