Electoral Institutions and Distributive Policies

Franchino, Fabio and Marco Mainenti (2013) ‘Electoral Institutions and Distributive Policies in Parliamentary Systems: An Application to State Aid Measures in EU Countries‘, West European Politics, 36.


Electoral institutions should systematically affect the propensity of a country to rely and spend on distributive measures. Supporting evidence is however still rare because of the difficulty in finding comparable cross-national data, the employment of dummy variables to account for the electoral systems, and the failure to recognise the interacting effects of different electoral rules on policy outcomes. Employing national data on state aid expenditure and a number of measures across European Union countries, the article provides evidence that legislators elected in higher magnitude districts spend less. More interestingly, it shows the interlocking policy effects of electoral institutions. Where high district magnitude is combined with ballot control, party-based voting and pooling, these rules conjunctly dampen politicians’ incentives to cultivate a personal vote and lead to lower spending on, and use of, distributive measures. Where high district magnitude is not combined with these rules, results are inconclusive. With one exception though, if leaders do not have control over the ballot rank, higher magnitude increases reliance on distributive measures. Results are robust to several alternative political-economy explanations of fiscal policy outcomes.

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Social bases of nuclear energy policies in Europe

The social bases of nuclear energy policies in Europe: Ideology, proximity, belief updating and attitudes to risk

Fabio Franchino, Università degli Studi di Milano

European Journal of Political Research, Volume 53, Issue 2, pages 213–233, May 2014

A summary of this article is available on the EUROPP blog of the London School of Economics and Political Science

This article analyses the social bases underpinning the widely different trajectories of nuclear energy policies across Western European countries. Employing a set of surveys carried out in the last thirty years, it examines the conditional effects of ideology and geographical proximity to a nuclear power plant on attitudes toward nuclear energy, as well as the long- and short-term dynamics of belief updating after the occurrence of major accidents. Results highlight how proximity can strengthen, weaken or have no effect on the ideological component of these attitudes. Moreover, the publics of most countries with experience in nuclear energy display the traits of Bayesian dynamics of belief updating, especially in the vicinity of a plant. The article also shows the fairly exceptional traits of French public opinion. In conclusion, the broad social constraints within which governments operate, across time and space, shed light on the different policy trajectories of European countries.

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