Sociotropic voting and public-private partnerships

Camila Angulo, Ellie Woodhouse and I have a paper forthcoming in a special issue of Governance later this year.  The abstract appears below and the paper can be accessed on SSRN.  I’m co-editing the issue entitled “Public Administration in Developing Countries” and will post more about as it shapes up and the version of record comes online.

Infrastructure public-private partnerships (PPPs) eschew traditional public management to provide distributive goods worldwide. Yet, in Colombia, the context of our study, both the promise of and voters’ experience with PPPs hinder incumbent parties in elections when theories of distributive politics expect otherwise. We argue that negative experiences with PPPs introduce a sociotropic turn in individual voting: bad experience crowds out the possibility that promising a new project will improve a voter’s own welfare. Studying what are to our knowledge all 109 Colombian PPP projects between 1998-2014, and over 8,700 individual survey responses, our evidence shows that vote intention for the incumbent executive or his party decreases as experience with more PPPs in respondents’ districts increases. Our analysis and results introduce an important agenda for research into the political significance of these legacies of New Public Management.

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