Information, polarization and term length in democracy
AbstractThis paper considers term lengths in a representative democracy where the political issue divides the population on the left-right scale. Parties are ideologically different and better informed about the consequences of policies than voters are. A short term length makes the government more accountable, but the re-election incentive leads to policy distortion as the government seeks to manipulate swing voters' beliefs to make its ideology more popular. This creates a trade off: A short term length improves accountability but gives distortions. A short term length is best for swing voters when the uncertainty is large and parties are not very polarized. Partisan voters always prefer a long term length. When politicians learn while in office a long term length becomes more attractive for swing voters.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.
Volume (Year): 92 (2008)
Issue (Month): 5-6 (June)
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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578
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