How do incumbents act when certain about their victory or defeat? A study of local incumbents effects and local government consolidations

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalPaperResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This paper empirically tests Alesina and Tabellini’s (1990) argument that fiscal policy is affected by an incumbent’s probability of electoral defeat – on a case where the outcomes of local elections are known with certainty. Using data from public registers on Danish municipalities over a period of time where large-scale municipal consolidations were implemented, I find supporting evidence for Alesina and Tabellini’s proposition that incumbents who face electoral defeat try to influence their successor’s policies, adapted to the case of public spending: I firstly find that overruns of municipal budgets on current
spending conform to a local political budget cycle, as also found in previous studies. However, the cycle is then disturbed when an extraneous event, municipal consolidations, creates a situation where local incumbents become certain of the outcomes of local elections: First within each group of consolidating municipalities public spending, measured as the budget overrun, tends to be lower in the municipality which the new mayor originates from, compared to the remaining municipalities in the consolidation. Second the budget overrun in the consolidating municipalities tends to decrease with the
percentage of councilors elected to the new council for the consolidated municipality. These findings indicate that incumbents who face electoral defeat try to influence their successor’s policies, by committing them to a higher level of public spending than the present incumbent actually prefers.
Original languageEnglish
Publication dateApr 2014
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014
Event72nd Annual Midwest Political Science Association Conference - Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, United States
Duration: 3. Apr 20146. Apr 2014
Conference number: 72

Conference

Conference72nd Annual Midwest Political Science Association Conference
Number72
LocationPalmer House Hilton
CountryUnited States
CityChicago
Period03/04/201406/04/2014

Cite this

Hansen, S. W. (2014). How do incumbents act when certain about their victory or defeat? A study of local incumbents effects and local government consolidations. Paper presented at 72nd Annual Midwest Political Science Association Conference, Chicago, United States.
Hansen, Sune Welling. / How do incumbents act when certain about their victory or defeat? A study of local incumbents effects and local government consolidations. Paper presented at 72nd Annual Midwest Political Science Association Conference, Chicago, United States.31 p.
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Hansen, SW 2014, 'How do incumbents act when certain about their victory or defeat? A study of local incumbents effects and local government consolidations', Paper presented at 72nd Annual Midwest Political Science Association Conference, Chicago, United States, 03/04/2014 - 06/04/2014.

How do incumbents act when certain about their victory or defeat? A study of local incumbents effects and local government consolidations. / Hansen, Sune Welling.

2014. Paper presented at 72nd Annual Midwest Political Science Association Conference, Chicago, United States.

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalPaperResearchpeer-review

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Hansen SW. How do incumbents act when certain about their victory or defeat? A study of local incumbents effects and local government consolidations. 2014. Paper presented at 72nd Annual Midwest Political Science Association Conference, Chicago, United States.