Marta Curto-Grau, Alfonso Herranz-Loncán, Albert Solé-Ollé
2010/22: The political economy of infrastructure construction: The Spanish “Parliamentary Roads” (1880-1914)
This paper examines the extent to which the public allocation of road investment was influenced by political and electoral goals during the Spanish Restoration (1874-1923). More precisely, we seek to identify those provinces that were favoured with higher road construction expenditure and whether tactical strategies adopted by the political parties varied over time to reflect increasing political competition. In so doing, this paper combines concepts from three strands of literature: legislative pork-barrel; clientelism and machine politics; and electoral competition. Our main empirical finding for a panel of Spain’s provinces suggests that constituencies electing a higher proportion of deputies from minority or opposition parties were initially punished through lower levels of road investment but that, by the end of the period, they were instead favoured with more resources than the rest. In addition, we also observe that senior deputies who had been ministers in previous administrations were more capable than other politicians of attracting resources to their constituencies.