Ideology and Local Public Expenditure Priorities

Jennifer M. Connolly, Dyana P. Mason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Local governments prioritize spending on various types and levels of public services. Although scholars have shown that citizen preferences and institutional factors, such as economic, political, and legal arrangements, play a role in resource allocation, scholars have not systematically examined the impact of local elected officials’ own ideological preferences on service prioritization. A better understanding of the impact of personal ideology on local government resource allocation is needed as this provision of funds has implications for democratic governance and responsiveness. We develop and use a novel measure of local elected official ideology using a 2011 survey of California local elected officials to test the hypothesis that local decision-maker ideology affects attitudes on funding-specific service categories. We find evidence that local elected officials’ attitudes toward service reductions are associated with both their own individual ideology, measured on the conservative–liberal spectrum, and the ideology of their constituents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)830-841
Number of pages12
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • elected officials
  • ideology
  • local government
  • local politics
  • local spending
  • public services
  • resource allocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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