A dirty deed done dirt cheap: Reporting the blame of a national reform on local politicians

Abstract : This paper tests the hypothesis that upper-level governments can transfer the accountability of the costs of a reform to a lower one. The reform of the school week in France provides the ground for a verification of the attribution of accountability hypothesis, as it was nationally decided and locally implemented, right before a municipal election. The results confirm that local incumbents have taken the blame of the reform, especially in larger cities. In this case, thus, the cost of the reform is borne twice by the lower level of government, financially and politically. So doing, the central government does a dirty deed to the local ones, for a very cheap cost. That mayors who have announced a boycott of the reform have received electoral gains confirms that some local politicians expected to be the fall guys, bearing the brunt of the costs of the reform.
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Aurélie Cassette, Etienne Farvaque. A dirty deed done dirt cheap: Reporting the blame of a national reform on local politicians. European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, 2016, 43, pp.127--144. ⟨10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2016.04.001⟩. ⟨hal-01526021⟩

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