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M.A., Department of Political Science, National Chengchi University.
Maintaining or Expanding Support Bases? Local Councilors’ Distributive Strategies of Local Infrastructure Expenditures
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One of the most important debates in the distributive politics literature is who receives allocation. Previous studies on Taiwan’s distributive politics have examined predominantly the role played by the president, legislators and the local governments. The distributive strategies of local councilors, however, have been overlooked. Few explain the variations in the amount of resources within councilors’ electoral districts. Using data on local infrastructure expenditures by the 12 Taipei City councilors, this study investigates how rational politicians allocate infrastructure resources in order to maximize the probabilities of reelection, and whether local councilors use resources to reward their core supporters or to expand their support bases. We identify two dimensions—whether to allocate and the amount of money spent by councilors — to the mechanisms of resource allocation. Based on multi-level Tobit regression analysis, we first examine whether councilors tend to favor important sub-constituencies or not. The results indicate that councilors do reward their core supporters with public resources to maintain their electoral bases. How-ever, there is no significant difference in the amount of resources no matter how important the area is. Overall, our findings support the core hypothesis and point out that the allocation mechanism of city councilors should be revised.