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Working Paper
Federalisme Fiscal
Marta Curto-Grau, Albert Solé-Ollé, Pilar Sorribas-Navarro

2012/31 : Partisan targeting of inter-governmental transfers & state interference in local elections: evidence from Spain

We examine whether state-level incumbents discriminate in the allocation of transfers in favour of local governments controlled by co-partisans, and whether the electoral prospects of local incumbents improve when they are aligned with the state incumbent. Using a new database covering around 3,000 Spanish municipalities during the period 2000-07 and a Regression Discontinuity design, we document a very strong and robust effect: in close races, municipalities aligned with the regional government obtain on average 83% more per capita transfers and their incumbents gain 10% more votes at the local elections. We also show that the effect of alignment is stronger: (i) when regional and local elections are held on the same day, (ii) in regions with less competitive regional elections, and (ii) in regions with more budget resources.

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