The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Roberto Perotti, Massimo Rostagno, and Gian Milesi-Ferretti
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
We study the effects of electoral institutions on the size and composition of public expenditure in OECD and Latin American countries. We present a model emphasizing the distinction between purchases of goods and services, which are easier to target geographically, and transfers, which are easier to target across social groups. Voters have an incentive to elect representatives more prone to transfer spending in proportional systems. The model also predicts higher primary spending in proportional systems when the share of transfer spending is high. After defining rigorous measures of proportionality, we find considerable empirical support for our predictions.