For the Game, for the Loyal Partisans: Distribution of Sport Grants in Slovakia

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Abstract

Distribution of resources is at the core of politics. Although this activity is primarily economic in nature, the existing research shows that political representatives often use the allocation of public money to reward their allies at the expense of their rivals. This paper analyses a 2015 governmental programme of local sport grants in Slovakia that aimed to build sport facilities for children and young people. In order to avoid any political bias, the programme was established as a neutral mechanism with an anonymous evaluation of grant requests. The results of analysis, however, provide substantial evidence that the subsidies were given primarily to towns with closer political ties to the government while municipalities led by mayors from the opposition were nearly fully ignored. In addition, the presented social and economic aims of the funding programme were not effectively pursued. The paper thus represents a valuable contribution to the discussion of distributive politics, in general, as it shows that, despite the respective legal framework, the allocation of resources may still end up as a process fuelled by partisan interests.

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