Partisan-Electoral Cycles in Public Employment: Evidence from Developed Democracies

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Abstract

According to both early empirical findings and theoretical expectations of partisan preferences, left-wing parties in government ought to prefer higher levels of public employment for both ideological and opportunistic reasons. In contrast, using country-fixed effects in a panel of 22 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, this article finds no evidence of left-wing governments systematically increasing public employment. However, there is evidence that left-wing governments increase public employment in election years, which gives rise to an opportunistic, partisan-electoral cycle in public employment. In line with the logic of core-voter targeting and political budget cycles, incumbent left-wing parties seem to increase the number of their potential core voters when they are needed most.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitical Studies
Volume69
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)190-213
ISSN0032-3217
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1. May 2021

Keywords

  • elections
  • partisanship
  • political budget cycles
  • public employment

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