Lisa Maria Dellmuth, Michael Stoffel
Distributive politics and intergovernmental transfers: The local allocation of European Union structural funds

European Union Politics, 2012: 13, Heft 3, S. 413-433

The European Union budget is distributed primarily in the form of intergovernmental grants to sub-state governments, which invest the grants in local projects. Transfers are allocated under the auspices of the European structural funds. This article assesses the causal links between electoral incentives on the recipient side, European funding goals, and local grant allocation. Tobit regressions of the allocation patterns in 419 local districts in Germany for the period 2000–6 suggest the following: although recipient sub-state governments enjoy substantial discretion in selecting projects, their distributive choices are largely in accord with European goals. As theoretically predicted, however, there is robust evidence that sub-state governments’ electoral concerns distort the local allocation of structural funds.