Love Thy (Elected) Neighbor? Residential Segregation, Political Representation and Local Public Goods
Harjunen, Oskari; Saarimaa, Tuukka; Tukiainen, Janne (2022-10)
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The University of Chicago Press
10 / 2022
We study geographic political representation and geographic distribution of local public goods within local jurisdictions with at-large proportional representation elections. We use detailed geo-coded data on politicians, the electorate and elementary schools. Descriptive analysis reveals that poorer neighborhoods are under-represented and that local politicians have a strong support base in their home neighborhoods. Based on randomized election outcomes due to personal vote count ties, geographic representation has a causal effect on school closures. The probability of closure is cut in half when a candidate living close to the school is randomly elected. High-income residents react to closures by moving away from the neighborhood, thus reinforcing segregation.
Local public finance and provision of public services
Geographic representation, random elections, residential segregation, school closure