Geography Matters: The Conditional Effect of Electoral Systems on Social Spending

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JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
DateAccepted/In press - 1 Sep 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jan 2017
DatePublished (current) - 1 Jan 2019
Issue number1
Number of pages23
Pages (from-to)81-103
Early online date23/01/17
Original languageEnglish


There is a large body of research showing that the provision of social policies is higher under proportional electoral systems than under majoritarian systems. This article helps advance this literature by showing that the geographic distribution of social recipients plays an essential role in moderating the impact of electoral institutions on social provision. Using data from twenty-two OECD countries, the results show that majoritarian systems increase the provision of social spending when recipients are concentrated in certain regions. When levels of concentration are high, social spending in majoritarian countries can surpass levels of provision in proportional representation systems.

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    Research areas

  • electoral systems, political geography, social spending, unemployment concentration

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