Publication details

Friends and Foes. Partisan Affiliation and Local Grants Distribution

Title in English Friends and Foes. Partisan Affiliation and Local Grants Distribution.

SPÁČ Peter TÓTH Michal

Year of publication 2020
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
Description Pork barrel politics is a crucial area in the research of governmental policies, local governments and clientelism. Extensive literature in this field shows that political representatives on the national level skew the distribution of public money to local areas controlled by their allies to help them increase their electoral prospects (cf. Evans 2004; Fiva and Halse 2016; Limosani and Navarra 2001; Veiga and Veiga 2013). On the other hand, less is known about the effect of the composition of national governments on the discretionary allocation of grants. Previous research has concentrated either on countries with single-party governments, or it treated coalition governments as solid blocs (cf. Golden, Picci 2008; Hazakis, Ioannidis 2014). Hence, there is a gap in research of pork barrel politics regarding coalition governments and the results of distribution concerning links of political parties to their representatives at the local level. In this paper, we analyse the distribution of local sports grants in Slovakia. More specifically, we study the allocation of money from a national program of sports grants controlled by the office of the Prime Minister. This program provides grants to municipalities for enhancing sports infrastructure such as constructing and further maintenance of sports facilities, organisation of sports events, provision of sports equipment etc. Previous studies on sports grants (cf. Denemark 2014; Gaunt 1999) show that these distribution mechanisms are relevant for the research of pork barrel politics as they support projects that improve local conditions and are visible to the electorate (cf. Hoare 1992; Milligan and Smart 2005). The paper covers four rounds of grants distribution between 2014 and 2019 during which Slovakia shifted from a single-party cabinet to a coalition government composed of three parties. This allows us to analyse whether allocation provides advantages to municipalities with mayors who have closer ties with parties in national government. Also, the time span of our study allows us to estimate whether the type of government affects the results of distribution. In other words, we analyse if the allocation of resources under coalition cabinet provides equal benefits to local representatives of all governing parties or if the political party with direct control over the distribution mechanism secures its interests at the expense of its coalition partners. Our results thus bring novel findings to the research of grant allocation from national to the local level, and they also shed more light on a case that is mostly omitted by previous studies.
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