Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Pork and Turkey: Distributive Politics in the Allocation of Public Investments into Turkish Electoral Districts 1987–2004

Ulubasoglu, Mehmet Ali and Yaraşır-Tülümce, Sevinç (2019): Pork and Turkey: Distributive Politics in the Allocation of Public Investments into Turkish Electoral Districts 1987–2004.

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Abstract

We investigate the political factors involved in the allocation of public investments into Turkish electoral districts. In contrast to the general presumption in the literature, we argue that the Closed-List Proportional Representation electoral rule is associated with pork barrel politics, given the strong reelection motives of the legislators. Using a unique data set from Turkey covering detailed individual characteristics of approximately 2,000 MPs over five legislative periods during 1987–2004, we test this argument and demonstrate that the composition of legislator characteristics in a district proxying pork barrel engagement such as seniority, education, and former profession, matters significantly for attracting investments into specific geographic constituencies. The findings also indicate the strong presence of partisan motivations and targeted support for core and smaller opposition groups in public investment allocations. We also document that a stronger right-wing tendency in the cabinet, a single-party government, and fractionalized voter preferences and higher voter turnout in the electorate are all associated with increased public investments.

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