Public Employees as Politicians: Evidence from Close Elections
Hyytinen, Ari; Meriläinen, Jaakko; Saarimaa, Tuukka; Toivanen, Otto; Tukiainen, Janne (2018)
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Cambridge University Press
We analyze the effect of municipal employees’ political representation in municipal councils on local public spending. We use within-party, as-good-as-random variation in close elections in the Finnish open-list proportional election system to quantify the effect. One more councilor employed by the public sector increases spending by about 1%. The effect comes largely through the largest party and is specific to the employment sector of the municipal employee. The results are consistent with public employees having an information advantage over other politicians, and thus, being able to influence policy.