14th journées Louis-André Gérard-Varet

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The electoral migration cycle
Federico Revelli

Last modified: 2015-03-11


This paper puts forward a new test of Tiebout sorting that relies on the exogeneity of the time structure of recurrent local elections. The test is based on the idea that the policy uncertainty induced by competitive local elections should be expected to generate an electoral migration cycle in terms of relatively low rates of migration before elections, followed by relatively high rates of migration after the electoral uncertainty is resolved. Conversely, interjurisdictional migration flows that are unrelated to local public service provision motives ought to be orthogonal to the timing of local elections. Empirically, I study voting and sorting across several thousands of peninsular Italy's municipalities through the increasingly turbulent 2002-2013 decade. I find evidence of an electoral migration cycle, in the sense that the timing of internal migration flows across Italian municipalities is systematically influenced by the staggered schedule of mayoral elections, and of an impact of electoral uncertainty indicators on voice and exit patterns.


Tiebout sorting; electoral uncertainty; turnout