Panel Paper: Crossing the District Line: Border Mismatch and Targeted Redistribution

Saturday, November 10, 2018
Madison A - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Allison Stashko, Georgetown University

Electoral districts do not generally coincide with local governments, such as counties. Since state and federal governments transfer money to local governments, and not electoral districts, redistricting may affect the distribution of public spending. A county may receive more money if it is split across multiple districts, since more representatives have interest in spending there. At the same time, a county may be ignored by one a representatives if the district includes many other counties.

In this paper, I formalize a model of political competition where parties allocate money across counties in order to win electoral districts. The amount of money transferred to a county depends on the number of representatives it has and on the number of other counties that share those representatives. Political gerrymandering has implications for inequality and inefficiency of inter-governmental transfers. I test these predictions using data for state transfers to county governments.