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The Provision of Public Goods under Alternative Electoral Incentives

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  • Nicola Persico
  • Alessandro Lizzeri

Abstract

Politicians who care about the spoils of office may underprovide a public good because its benefits cannot be targeted to voters as easily as pork-barrel spending. We compare a winner-take-all system--where all the spoils go to the winner--to a proportional system--where the spoils of office are split among candidates proportionally to their share of the vote. In a winner-take-all system the public good is provided less often than in a proportional system when the public good is particularly desirable. We then consider the electoral college system and show that it is particularly subject to this inefficiency.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.91.1.225
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 91 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 225-239

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:91:y:2001:i:1:p:225-239

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.91.1.225
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  1. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "The size and scope of government:: Comparative politics with rational politicians," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 699-735, April.
  2. Lizzeri, Alessandro, 1999. "Budget Deficits and Redistributive Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(4), pages 909-28, October.
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  5. Osborne, Martin J & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96, February.
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  7. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
  8. Coate, Stephen & Morris, Stephen, 1995. "On the Form of Transfers in Special Interests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1210-35, December.
  9. Roger B. Myerson, 1992. "Incentives to Cultivate Favored Minorities under Alternative Electoral Systems," Discussion Papers 1000, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  10. Nicola Persico & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2001. "The Provision of Public Goods under Alternative Electoral Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 225-239, March.
  11. V. V. Chari & Larry E. Jones & Ramon Marimon, 1997. "The economics of split-ticket voting in representative democracies," Working Papers 582, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  12. Poole, Keith T. & Rosenthal, Howard, 1996. "Are legislators ideologues or the agents of constituents?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 707-717, April.
  13. Snyder, James M, 1989. "Election Goals and the Allocation of Campaign Resources," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 637-60, May.
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