Electoral Institutions and Electoral Cycles in Investment Incentives: A Field Experiment on Over 3,000 U.S. Municipalities
Jensen, Nathan, Michael G. Findley, and Daniel L. Nielson. 2020. "Electoral Institutions and Electoral Cycles in Investment Incentives: A Field Experiment on Over 3,000 U.S. Municipalities." American Journal of Political Science 64(4): 807-822.
Abstract: Through a field experiment and audit study we test how the electoral calendar affects the use of local economic development policies. We explore how electoral timing along with local political institutions and party composition affect local governments’ offers of investment incentives to outside firms. We legally incorporated a consultancy and, on behalf of a real investor in manufacturing, approached roughly 3,000 U.S. municipalities with inquiries. The main experimental results show no greater tendency to offer incentives for investment anticipated prior to than after elections – a null result that is estimated with high precision. Limiting the sample to municipalities that specialize in manufacturing, the relevant subgroup, suggests that election timing matters in this most likely set of locales. Some observational findings include additional evidence on how direct elections of executives and partisanship correlate with incentive offers.
Replication Data: [Dataverse link]
Registration: [EGAP link]