Political Alignment in the Time of Weak Parties: Electoral Advantages and Subnational Transfers in Colombia


This paper explores the effect of alignment between local and national politics in a context of weak parties. Based on a regression discontinuity design in close elections, we find that, in absence of strong parties, presidential coalitions become the focal point of political alignment in Colombia. In fact, while parties provide almost no electoral advantages to their members, candidates aspiring to national positions get significantly more votes in municipalities governed by mayors aligned with the incoming presidential coalitions. In turn, aligned mayors receive additional discretionary transfers from the National Government to finance road investments. These discretionary transfers, however, do not translate into local economic growth.

World Development (122)