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Competition in the political arena and local government performance.

Ashworth, B. and Geys, B. and Heyndels, B. and Wille, F. (2014) 'Competition in the political arena and local government performance.', Applied economics., 46 (19). pp. 2264-2276.


Competition reduces rent extraction in private-sector firms. In this article, we empirically assess whether it similarly disciplines politicians by evaluating local-level governments’ performance in Flanders. The results indicate that electoral competition – measured via the number of parties competing in elections – significantly positively affects the productive efficiency of municipal policy. Intertemporal competition – measured as the volatility of election outcomes over time – has a similar, but weaker, positive effect. These beneficial effects are mitigated by the fact that competition may lead to more fragmented governments, which is shown to work against their productive efficiency. Overall, though, the beneficial effects outweigh the unfavourable ones in our sample.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Applied Economics on 25/03/2014, available online at:
Record Created:29 Mar 2016 13:50
Last Modified:29 Mar 2016 14:26

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