Candidate-centered electoral systems make it more convenient for politicians to cultivate a personal reputation. In order to cultivate personal followings, candidates provide goods and services to narrow segments of society in exchange for votes. While conventional wisdom in the comparative electoral systems’ literature tells us that there is a connection between candidate-centered electoral systems and political particularism, attempts to disclose a causal relationship are still rare. In this study, I employ regression-discontinuity design (RDD) to analyse the causal mechanism linking electoral incentives to particularistic policymaking in the Italian political system. The analysis is performed on a newly generated dataset on Italian individual members’ bill proposals (IMBPs), that covers the period from the 12th to the 14th legislative term. My findings show that the electoral system, per sé, does not cause a higher propensity to serve parochial interests in national assemblies. Descriptive evidence suggests localism, MPs’ political experience, and the interaction between electoral rules and electoral regulations as additional contributing factors.
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