Avoiding Punishment? Electoral Accountability for Local Fee Increases
Do voters punish incumbent legislators for raising service costs? Concern about electoral punishment is considered a leading obstacle to increasing taxes and fees to fund service provision, but empirical evidence of such backlash is surprisingly sparse. This paper examines whether voters hold local elected officials accountable for raising water service costs. Using 10 years of panel data on municipal elections and water rates in North Carolina, we find rate increases do not reduce incumbent city council members’ vote shares. Local politicians may overestimate their electoral risk from raising taxes and fees to fund public services.
Hansen, K; Eskaf, S; Mullin, M
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