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Can Political Alignment be Costly?

Feb 2018
Stanford King Center on Global Development Working Paper
By  Michael Callen, Saad Gulzar, Arman Rezaee
Research on the benets of political alignment suggests that voters who elect governing
party politicians are better o than those who elect other politicians. We examine this
claim with regression discontinuity designs that isolate the eect of electing a governing
party politician on an important publicly provided service in Pakistan: health. Con-
sistent with existing research, governing party constituents receive a higher quantity
of services: more doctors are assigned to work in governing party areas. However,
despite many more assigned doctors, there is no increase in doctor attendance. These
ndings contrast with the literature on political alignment by showing that alignment
to the governing party aects voters' welfare ambiguously: higher potential quantity
of services may come at the cost of lower quality.