The dual challenge of distributive politics in multilevel systems: the local allocation of EU funding in Polish Regional Operational Programmes
The decentralization of funding management poses a conceptual challenge to the study of political criteria in the allocation of funding in the EU Cohesion Policy, as existing research often assumes unidimensional actor constellations and motivations. Combining insights from distributive politics and multilevel party politics, this article uses a unique data set of beneficiary data at the local level from Polish Regional Operational Programs (2007–2013) to explore the ability of regional authorities to engage in vote-seeking and explores how institutional and political multilevel structures affect these strategies. We demonstrate that the vote-seeking of sub-national authorities is constrained in two ways. Competition between regional and national authorities limits the possibility of regional governments that are politically opposed to the national government targeting their electoral strongholds. In contrast, partisan harmony between different institutional levels incentivizes a vote-seeking strategy that takes into consideration electoral dynamics at both the regional and national level.