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Do Elections Always Motivate Incumbents? Learning vs. Re-Election Concerns

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  • Eric Borgne
  • Ben Lockwood

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Abstract

This paper studies a principal-agent model of the relationship between office-holder and an electorate, where everyone is initially uninformed about the office-holder’s ability. If office-holder effort and ability interact in the determination of performance in office, then an office-holder has an incentive to learn, i.e., raise effort so that performance becomes a more accurate signal of her ability. Elections reduce the learning effect, and the reduction in this effect may more than offset the positive “re-election concerns” effect of elections on effort, implying higher effort with appointment. When this occurs, appointment of officials may welfare-dominate elections. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 129 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
Pages: 41-60

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:129:y:2006:i:1:p:41-60

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

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Cited by:
  1. Leonardo Martinez, 2009. "Reputation, career concerns, and job assignments," Working Paper 06-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  2. Snyder Jr., James M. & Ting, Michael M., 2008. "Interest groups and the electoral control of politicians," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 482-500, April.
  3. Martinez, Leonardo, 2009. "A theory of political cycles," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 1166-1186, May.

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