Local differences in wealth and income often are very stark and easily visible. Indeed, their prevalence is hardly a secret. Nearly everybody can instantly name the “good” and “bad” neighborhoods of the place they live in. Yet there is very little research on political inequality on the local level, especially outside the United States.

In his PhD project, Nils aims to close this research gap by analyzing public investments of German municipalities. The overall goal of the project is to better our understanding of local distributive politics, both in terms of allocative results and the (political) process to get there. The results will contribute to answer questions like: Who do local governments spend their money on? Do certain socioeconomic groups benefit disproportionately? How does the decision-making process go?

The empirical strategy consists of four parts. The first two are designed to uncover general patterns of political inequality across multiple German cities, both estimating its degree and potential drivers. In order to do this, Nils is going to analyze municipal investments on the level of city districts. The latter parts of his empirical analysis are a case study of a single city where a large share of the budget is freely allocatable. This case study will allow for a more precise tracking of both municipal spending measures and the decision-making process leading up to it.