Ruling the Market: Economic Geography, Electoral Institutions, and Redistribution
MetadataShow full item record
Publisher:Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies
Series/Report no.:Mershon Center for International Security Studies
Why do politicians in some democracies redistribute more than in others? I examine this question in the context of particularistic economic policies, which selectively assist small groups of citizens at the expense of many. Government-funded subsidies, for example, help people employed in the subsidized industry but do so at the expense of taxpayers. While the political motivations behind such policies are well understood, the cross-national variation is not. Why do elected leaders enact generous particularistic economic policies in some democracies but not others? Industrial subsidies, for example, vary significantly across democracies, despite international restrictions on their use in both WTO and the EU agreements. Professor Rickard argues that electoral institutions and economic geography work together to explain industrial subsidies are more generous in some countries than others. Electoral institutions generate incentives for politicians and parties to pursue certain (re-) election strategies. Geography determines which policies best accomplish the institutionally-generated electoral tactics. Sometimes particularistic economic policies are the most efficient option to aid (re-) election. In these cases, international economic agreements do little to curb subsidy spending.