Municipal control as incumbency advantage
Kemahlıoğlu, Özge and Özdemir, Elif (2016) Municipal control as incumbency advantage. In: Ayan Musil, Pelin and Demirkol, Özhan, (eds.) Party Politics in Turkey from a Comparative Perspective. Routledge, UK. (Accepted/In Press)
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Earlier literature showed that under some conditions, intergovernmental fiscal ties between local and national governments benefit the incumbent party by helping it to build an effective political machine or by establishing the party as the only credible alternative. However, these studies never investigated local governments’ fiscal outcomes together with election results. We analyze national election results and local government budgets in Turkey to understand whether and how the Justice and Development Party (AKP) benefited from its control over metropolitan municipalities. We find that the AKP’s co-partisans indeed receive higher levels of discretionary resources and that they spend more on healthcare in competitive districts, which in turn help the party in the national elections. Our results also suggest that parties’ linkage with citizens does not have to be clientelistic for intergovernmental partisan ties to work as incumbency advantage once electorally valuable expenditures such as healthcare spending are targeted strategically.
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