Geography Matters : The Conditional Effect of Electoral Systems on Social Spending

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Jurado, Ignacio ; Leon, Sandra

There is a large body of research showing that the provision of social policies is higher under proportional electoral systems than under majoritarian rules. This paper helps to advance this literature by showing that the geographic distribution of social recipients plays an essential role in moderating the impact of electoral institutions on social provision. Using data on social spending in 22 OECD countries for the period 1980- 2010, results show that majoritarian systems increase the provision of the related social policy when recipients are concentrated in certain regions. When levels of concentration are high, social spending in majoritarian countries can surpass levels of provision in proportional representation systems.
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