Seat competitiveness and redistricting: Evidence from voting on municipal mergers

Authors: Ari Hyytinen, Tuukka Saarimaa, Janne Tukiainen

Publication: VATT Working Papers 38

Date: 24.3.2013


We analyze how (anticipated) changes in the competitiveness of the seats of municipal councilors affect their voting behavior over municipal mergers. The competitiveness of the seats changes because the merger changes the composition of political competitors and the number of available seats in the next election. We use this variation for identification and find that the smaller the increase in the competitiveness of a councilor's seat, the more likely he is to vote for the merger. These effects are not related to the behavioral responses of the voters, but arise from the councilors’ desire to avoid electoral competition.

Main research themes: Local public finance and provision of public services

competition local democracy municipal mergers political economics voting

ISBN: 978-952-274-038-0

JEL: C34 C35 C36 D72 H11 H77