Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
New interface
Journal articles

A Signaling Theory of Distributive Policy Choice: Evidence from Senegal

Abstract : A recent literature emphasizes political economy factors behind the wave of administrative splits across the developing world. While previous studies have focused on why some groups are more likely to obtain new administrative units, they do not explain why vote-maximizing incumbents use this arguably less efficient policy in the first place. We contribute to this literature by embedding administrative splits within incumbents’ broader electoral strategy of distributive policies. We develop a model in which incumbents target local public goods to groups for whom this is a credible signal of commitment, namely, those with a history of reciprocal relationship. When incumbents face increased electoral competition, however, other groups require a stronger signal, which is emitted by the costly creation of new units that reduces the cost of future transfers to those groups. We test our theory using electoral and public goods data from Senegal and find robust support for its predictions.
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadata
Contributor : Spire Sciences Po Institutional Repository Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Sunday, February 13, 2022 - 5:53:32 PM
Last modification on : Friday, March 25, 2022 - 3:58:32 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Saturday, May 14, 2022 - 6:15:51 PM


Publisher files allowed on an open archive




Jessica Gottlieb, Guy Grossman, Horacio Larreguy, Benjamin Marx. A Signaling Theory of Distributive Policy Choice: Evidence from Senegal. Journal of Politics, 2019, Forthcoming, ⟨10.1086/701833⟩. ⟨hal-03570875⟩



Record views


Files downloads