Can governments elected under mixed-member majoritarian (MMM) electoral systems use geographically targeted spending to increase their chances of staying in office, and if so, how? Although twenty-eight countries use MMM electoral systems, scant research has addressed this question. The authors explain how MMM’s combination of electoral systems in two unlinked tiers creates a distinct strategic environment in which a large party and a small party can trade votes in one tier for votes in the other tier in a way that increases the number of seats won by both. They then explain how governing parties dependent on vote trading can use geographically targeted spending to cement it. These propositions are tested using original data from Japan (2003–2013) and Mexico (2012–2016). In both cases, municipalities in which the supporters of governing parties split their ballots as instructed were found to have received more money after elections. The findings have broad implications for research on MMM electoral systems, distributive politics, and the politics of Japan and Mexico.
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