Is local spending responsive to the poor? An appraisal of resource allocation and electoral rewards in Mexico
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DescriptionThis article analyzes the performance of local resource allocation in Mexico drawing on the concepts of impartiality and responsiveness suggested by quality of government theories. Focusing on an important poverty-alleviation transfer fund aimed at improving the provision of basic infrastructure, it evaluates to what extent the fund's territorial distribution has followed a compensatory logic, and whether the current management of resources at the local level has improved people's access to basic services. Finally, the article investigates the consequences of local spending choices on electoral behavior. The evidence suggests that, even if the distribution of resources is not entirely sensitive to regional poverty conditions, their use by local authorities has in fact improved basic service coverage, particularly for people who live in the most disadvantaged areas. Local spending choices are, in any case, electorally motivated, as voters reward public works investments at the ballot box.