Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

A Political Theory of Populism

Contents:

Author Info

  • Georgy Egorov
  • Konstantin Sonin

Abstract

When voters fear that politicians may be influenced or corrupted by the rich elite, signals of integrity are valuable. As a consequence, an honest politician seeking reelection chooses "populist" policies--that is, policies to the left of the median voter--as a way of signaling that he is not beholden to the interests of the right. Politicians that are influenced by right-wing special interests respond by choosing moderate or even left-of-center policies. This populist bias of policy is greater when the value of remaining in office is higher for the politician; when there is greater polarization between the policy preferences of the median voter and right-wing special interests; when politicians are perceived as more likely to be corrupt; when there is an intermediate amount of noise in the information that voters receive; when politicians are more forward-looking; and when there is greater uncertainty about the type of the incumbent. We also show that soft term limits may exacerbate, rather than reduce, the populist bias of policies. JEL Codes: D71, D74. Copyright 2013, Oxford University Press.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/qje/qjs077
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 128 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 771-805

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:128:y:2013:i:2:p:771-805

Contact details of provider:

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2011. "Emergence And Persistence Of Inefficient States," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 177-208, 04.
  2. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1989. "Social Conflict and Populist Policies in Latin America," NBER Working Papers 2897, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Alessandro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, 2005. "A Drawback Of Electoral Competition," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 3(6), pages 1318-1348, December.
  4. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers, McMaster University 1995-01, McMaster University.
  5. Callander, Steven & Wilkie, Simon, 2007. "Lies, damned lies, and political campaigns," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 262-286, August.
  6. Eliana La Ferrara & Robert H. Bates, 2001. "Political Competition in Weak States," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(2), pages 159-184, 07.
  7. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2007. "Bureaucrats or Politicians? Part I: A Single Policy Task," Levine's Working Paper Archive 321307000000000870, David K. Levine.
  8. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114, February.
  9. Dani Rodrik, 1996. "Understanding Economic Policy Reform," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 9-41, March.
  10. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Why Not a Political Coase Theorem? Social Conflict, Commitment and Politics," NBER Working Papers 9377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Binswanger, J. & Prüfer, J., 2008. "Imperfect Information, Democracy and Populism," Discussion Paper, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center 2008-040, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
  12. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 2008. "Bureaucrats or politicians? Part II: Multiple policy tasks," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 426-447, April.
  13. Daron Acemoglu & Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2009. "Political Selection and Persistence of Bad Governments," NBER Working Papers 15230, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Navin Kartik & R. Preston McAfee, 2007. "Signaling Character in Electoral Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 852-870, June.
  15. Daniel Diermeier & Michael Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2005. "A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 347-373, March.
  16. Caselli, Francesco & Morelli, Massimo, 2004. "Bad politicians," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 759-782, March.
  17. Matthias Messner & Mattias Polborn, 2003. "Paying Politicians," Working Papers, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University 246, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  18. Harrington Jr. , Joseph E., 1993. "The Impact of Reelection Pressures on the Fulfillment of Campaign Promises," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 71-97, January.
  19. Rudiger Dornbusch & Sebastian Edwards, 1991. "The Macroeconomics of Populism in Latin America," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number dorn91-1.
  20. Rudiger Dornbusch & Sebastian Edwards, 1991. "Introduction to "The Macroeconomics of Populism in Latin America"," NBER Chapters, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, in: The Macroeconomics of Populism in Latin America, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Schultz, Christian, 2008. "Information, polarization and term length in democracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1078-1091, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Ragnar Torvik & Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2011. "Why Do Voters Dismantle Checks and Balances?," Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology 11711, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
  2. Caselli, Francesco & Cunningham, Tom & Morelli, Massimo & Moreno de Barreda, Inés, 2012. "Signalling, Incumbency Advantage, and Optimal Reelection Thresholds," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 8832, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Egil Matsen & Ragnar Torvik & Gisle J. Natvik, 2012. "Petro populism," Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology 12812, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
  4. Cont, Walter & Hancevic, Pedro & Navajas, Fernando H., 2011. "Energy populism and household welfare," MPRA Paper 35725, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Darryl McLeod & Nora Lustig, 2011. "Inequality and poverty under Latin America’s new left regimes," Working Papers, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality 208, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  6. Richard Van Weelden & Massimo Morelli, 2012. "Reelection through Division," 2012 Meeting Papers, Society for Economic Dynamics 111, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Daron Acemoglu & Alexander Wolitzky, 2012. "Cycles of Distrust: An Economic Model," NBER Working Papers 18257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Francesco Caselli & Tom Cunningham & Massimo Morelli & Inés Moreno de Barreda, 2012. "Signalling, Incumbency Advantage, and Optimal Reelection Rules," CEP Discussion Papers, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE dp1122, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  9. Manoel Bittencourt, 2010. "Democracy, Populism and Hyperinflation(s): Some Evidence from Latin America," Working Papers, Economic Research Southern Africa 169, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  10. Yakovlev, Pavel & Tosun, Mehmet S. & Lewis, William P., 2012. "Legislative Term Limits and State Aid to Local Governments," IZA Discussion Papers 6456, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Manoel Bittencourt, 2012. "Economic Growth and Government Debt: Evidence from the Young Democracies of Latin America," Working Papers, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics 201203, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:128:y:2013:i:2:p:771-805. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.