The electoral bias: distributive politics and local development in Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Colombia
This research seeks to address the existence of an electoral bias in the distribution of investment in Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Colombia, and its implications for territorial cohesion. The aim is to determine if electoral concerns drive the allocation of investment from the central or state government to the local level, rather than efficiency or spatial equity goals. My recent research has focused on this topic in Chile and now I would like to extend it to other Latin American countries. Although the importance of electoral motifs for fund allocations has been widely studied by political scientists, it has not deserved enough attention by economic geographers, despite having significant implications for local development. Investment funds are aimed to pursue spatial equity or, conversely, efficiency, but these two objectives are certainly limited if they are mediated by political favouritism. Thus, this research seeks not only to determine the existence of political distortions in these four countries, but to see their impact on local development and governance. By considering socio-demographic and economic data, I will analyze if investment is concentrated on the relatively better-off areas or, on the contrary, is a tool for spatial equity. Relatedly, one last major contribution is discussing the mechanisms to reduce the margin for arbitrary allocations of funds. The study would be based on a panel dataset from each country’s statistical office and it would consider the main investment transfer from the central to the local level along with political, socio-demographic and economic variables.