The Power of Parties: Evidence from Close Municipal Elections in Norway
28 Pages Posted: 29 Dec 2017 Last revised: 7 Oct 2020
Date Written: January 2018
We show that small shifts in representation can affect policy in proportional election systems. Using data from Norway, we find that a larger left‐wing party leads to more property taxation, higher childcare spending, and lower elderly care spending, while local public goods appear to be a non‐partisan issue. These effects are partly due to shifts in bloc majorities, and partly due to changes in the left–right position of the council, keeping the majority constant. The estimates on spending allocations are rather imprecise, but they are consistent with evidence on politicians' fiscal preferences and patterns in media attention.
Keywords: Fiscal policy, proportional representation, regression discontinuity design
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