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Yes, minister: The impact of decision-making rules on geographically targeted particularistic spending

Dublin City University
Publication Date
  • Political Science
  • Constituency Spending
  • Particularistic Spending
  • Pork-Barrel Politics
  • Electoral Systems
  • Decision-Rules
  • Pr-Stv
  • Ireland
  • Political Science


This paper tests a number of hypotheses which have been used to explain particularistic political spending. Using constituency level data we can better evaluate the competing merits of theories predicting whether parties reward their voters or target floating or swing voters to maximise the party’s electoral return. We also test the hypothesis that the spending decision-making rule is most important and may determine which of the loyal or marginal voters are targeted, or indeed whether another group might be rewarded. We find that the decision rule is indeed most important, and the unusual level of discretion to ministers in Ireland will determine where these monies go. This finding adds greatly to our theoretical knowledge of geographically targeted spending and is consistent with empirical findings in other countries.

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