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Ideological alignment and the distribution of public expenditures


Kleider, Hanna; Röth, Leonce; Garritzmann, Julian L (2018). Ideological alignment and the distribution of public expenditures. West European Politics, 41(3):779-802.

Abstract

This article revisits the influential partisan alignment hypothesis, which posits that subnational governments aligned with central governments exhibit higher expenditures. To promote their own and their party’s re-election chances, central government politicians allocate more resources to ideologically aligned co-partisans at the subnational level. Consequently, aligned subnational governments exhibit higher expenditures than non-aligned ones. This article examines alignment effects in subnational education spending. Education is a crucial test case because, unlike other expenditures, the allocation of education spending is discretionary and often does not follow precise formulas. Using a novel dataset covering 266 subnational regions in 14 countries over 20 years, we offer the first cross-country analysis of alignment effects. Controlling for rival explanations, the findings reveal alignment effects on subnational education expenditures. Furthermore, political institutions matter, as alignment effects are stronger in countries where subnational governments have more discretion over education policy while lacking their own revenue sources (vertical fiscal imbalance). These findings imply that decentralisation might increase educational and socio-economic inequalities.

Abstract

This article revisits the influential partisan alignment hypothesis, which posits that subnational governments aligned with central governments exhibit higher expenditures. To promote their own and their party’s re-election chances, central government politicians allocate more resources to ideologically aligned co-partisans at the subnational level. Consequently, aligned subnational governments exhibit higher expenditures than non-aligned ones. This article examines alignment effects in subnational education spending. Education is a crucial test case because, unlike other expenditures, the allocation of education spending is discretionary and often does not follow precise formulas. Using a novel dataset covering 266 subnational regions in 14 countries over 20 years, we offer the first cross-country analysis of alignment effects. Controlling for rival explanations, the findings reveal alignment effects on subnational education expenditures. Furthermore, political institutions matter, as alignment effects are stronger in countries where subnational governments have more discretion over education policy while lacking their own revenue sources (vertical fiscal imbalance). These findings imply that decentralisation might increase educational and socio-economic inequalities.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Political Science and International Relations
Uncontrolled Keywords:political science and international relations party politics, partisan alignment, decentralisation, regional governments, education policy
Language:English
Date:May 2018
Deposited On:03 Dec 2019 14:16
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 12:06
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0140-2382
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/01402382.2017.1395634
Project Information:
  • : FunderFP7
  • : Grant ID311769
  • : Project TitleINVEDUC - Investing in Education in Europe: Attitudes, Politics and Policies

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