Favoring co-partisan controlled areas in central government distributive programs: the role of local party organizations
Kemahlıoğlu, Özge and Bayer, Reşat (2020) Favoring co-partisan controlled areas in central government distributive programs: the role of local party organizations. Public Choice . ISSN 0048-5829 (Print) 1573-7101 (Online) Published Online First http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11127-019-00774-5
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11127-019-00774-5
We analyze the non-contributory health insurance program (“green cards”) in Turkey with RDD (Regression Discontinuity Design) and show that more citizens receive green cards in municipalities controlled by the national incumbent party, AKP (Adalalet ve Kalkınma Partisi). Our explanation for the finding emphasizes the role of local party organizations and sub-national incumbency. Local government control provides additional resources to the party to strengthen its organization, which then helps the party to target the beneficiaries of central government programs like green cards more effectively. Theoretically, we join the literature that uncovers the significance of incorporating local actors into the analysis of central government programs. Our contribution lies in depicting the mediating role of political parties and their local organizations. Even in a highly centralized context like Turkey, parties’ informal role affects program implementation. Unequal access to free healthcare results from the asymmetry between national and opposition parties in how their local organizations interact with the central government.
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