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Love Thy (Elected) Neighbor?

  • Series
  • Speaker(s)
    Janne Tukiainen (University of Turku, Finland)
  • Field
    Organizations and Markets
  • Location
  • Date and time

    May 11, 2020
    16:00 - 17:00

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We study the link between within-jurisdiction descriptive and substantive geographic political representation. First, we document unequal geographic political representation in Finnish municipal councils. Second, we study the effects of local political representation on the prevalence of an important local public service in a neighborhood, namely primary school. The analysis is facilitated by geo-coded data on the residential location of the universe of municipal election candidates spanning three municipal elections together with information on the exact location of primary schools. During this time period, the overall number of primary schools decreased by roughly 30 %. Using election outcomes decided by a lottery - resulting from fairly abundant ties in personal votes within party lists in the Finnish open-list proportional representation local elections - for causal identification, we document that randomly increasing representation of a local school substantially increases the probability that the school continues to operate during the election term. Third, we show using difference-in-differences analysis that local voters punish incumbents located near the closed schools in the following elections. These three pieces of evidence establish in a novel way that unequal descriptive geographic representation leads to unequal geographic distribution of local public services that voters value. Joint with Oskari Harjunen (VATT) and Tuukka Saarimaa (Aalto University).