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Does electoral competitiveness increase the government health expenditure in EAs?
  • Jeong Woo Lee
Jeong Woo Lee
Korea University, Korea University, Korea University

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Abstract

Previous studies on the public health expenditure focus on the presence of multiparty elections in electoral autocracies (EAs). Most of elections in EAs often are unfair because those are for the victory of dictators. Multiparty elections per se do not capture the impact of characteristics during elections such as the electoral competitiveness in EAs. Some EAs pay health expenditure less than others even though electoral competitiveness is high. I analyze the effect of electoral competitiveness on the government health expenditure with the balanced panel data of 20 EAs from 2001 to 2017. There are two rival arguments on how electoral competitiveness affect the expenditure according to previous studies; (a) a high level of electoral competitiveness stands for a difficulty of dictatorial winning in elections. Autocrats, hence, gather various demands including health issues from voters, and can increase the government health expenditure; (b) Autocrats pursue the victory in elections. Pork and personal benefits to voters rather than programmed policies are helpful for the victory. Therefore, there is no incentive for autocrats to provide government health policy to voters when the level of electoral competitiveness is high. Empirical findings demonstrate that electoral competitiveness in EAs lead the decrease of government health expenditure. This paper concludes that electoral competitiveness does not increase the public health expenditure; the higher level of competitiveness in autocracies does not mean that voters can exert their power to autocrats to realize policies.