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Distributive Politics And Electoral Incentives: Evidence From Seven US State Legislatures

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Executive Summary

The authors study the effect of electoral incentives on the allocation of public services across legislative districts. They develop a model in which elections encourage individual legislators to cater to parochial interests and thus aggravate the common pool problem. Using unique data from seven US states, they study how the amount of funding that a legislator channels to his district changes when he faces a term limit. They find that legislators bring less state funds to their district when they cannot run for re-election. Consistent with the Law of 1/N, this tendency is less pronounced in states with many legislative districts.

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