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Political connections, political favoritism and political competition: evidence from the granting of building permits by French mayors

  • Christophe LévêqueEmail author
Article

Abstract

This article discusses the influence of political connections on public policies implemented at the local level. Using a sample of more than 189,000 local politicians in French cities with more than 3500 inhabitants, I examine whether families of candidates who supported the mayors elected in 2008 obtain more building permits than the families of their political opponents. I find that the former obtain 35% more building permits than the latter between 2008 and 2014. Then, I show that the previous difference declines with political competition and disappears after close elections. My interpretation of those findings underlines two mechanisms. First, political competition disciplines mayors: in cities with weak political competition, mayors may favor their supporters when these supporters or one of their family members wants to obtain building permits, but they refrain from doing so after close elections. Second, in these cities, individuals who want to obtain something in exchange for their support (such as facilitating the acquisition of building permits) may easily forecast who is likely to become the mayor and whom they should support.

Keywords

Political favoritism Local elections Building permits Mayors Housing supply 

JEL Classification

R31 R50 D73 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I benefited from discussions with Carles Boix, Philippe de Donder and Karine Van der Straten. Emmannuelle Auriole, Filip Kostelka, Julie Lassébie, Justin Leduc, Thierry Madiès, Mohamed Saleh, Albert Solé-Ollé and Emmannuel Thibault also provided me with useful comments. Two anonymous reviewers provided extremely useful advice and helped me improve the manuscript. I also thank Benjamin Vignolles, Benoit Petinat and the SOeS team from the Ministère du Développement Durable, who provided me with data and information. All errors are mine.

Supplementary material

11127_2019_718_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (558 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 558 KB)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GREThA. Université de BordeauxBordeauxFrance

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