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How Elections Matter: Theory and Evidence from Environmental Policy

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  • John A List
  • Daniel M Sturm

Abstract

This paper explores to what extent secondary policy issues are influenced by electoral incentives. We develop a two-dimensional political agency model, in which a politician decides on both a frontline policy issue and a secondary policy issue. The model predicts when the incumbent should manipulate the secondary policy to attract voters. We test our model by using panel data on environmental policy choices in the U. S. states. In contrast to the popular view that secondary policies are largely determined by lobbying, we find that there are strong effects of electoral incentives. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 121 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 1249-1281

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:121:y:2006:i:4:p:1249-1281

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  1. Sajal Lahiri & Pascalis Raimondos-Møller, 1999. "Lobbying by Ethnic Groups and Aid Allocation," EPRU Working Paper Series 99-05, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised Oct 2003.
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  8. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1993. "Does Electoral Accountability Affect Economic Policy Choices? Evidence from Gubernatorial Term Limits," NBER Working Papers 4575, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. McAusland, Carol, 2003. "Voting for pollution policy: the importance of income inequality and openness to trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 425-451, December.
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  13. Banks, Jeffrey S. & Sundaram, Rangarajan K., 1998. "Optimal Retention in Agency Problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 293-323, October.
  14. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldbe & Giovanni Maggi, 1997. "Protection for Sale: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 5942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Mayer, Wolfgang, 1984. "Endogenous Tariff Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 970-85, December.
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