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Elected versus Appointed Policy Makers: Evidence from City Treasurers

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  • Alexander Whalley

Abstract

This paper investigates whether the method of selecting public officials affects policy making. I compare the policy choices of bureaucrat city treasurers and politician city treasurers, who are selected and held accountable in very different ways. The analysis draws on rich data from California to examine whether cities with appointed or elected city treasurers pay lower costs to borrow. The results demonstrate that having appointive treasurers reduces a city’s cost of borrowing by 19–31 percent. Holding officials directly accountable to voters can result in lower levels of performance in complex policy areas.

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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/668696
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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/668696
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 56 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 39 - 81

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/668696

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References

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  1. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 2003. "Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1176-1206, 09.
  2. Stephanie Riegg Cellini & Fernando Ferreira & Jesse Rothstein, 2008. "The Value of School Facilities: Evidence from a Dynamic Regression Discontinuity Design," Working Papers 1101, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  3. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2007. "Bureaucrats or Politicians? Part I: A Single Policy Task," Levine's Working Paper Archive 321307000000000870, David K. Levine.
  4. Stephen Coate & Brian Knight, 2009. "Government Form and Public Spending: Theory and Evidence from U.S. Municipalities," NBER Working Papers 14857, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Ferraz, Claudio & Finan, Frederico S., 2007. "Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil’s Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 2836, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Eric Maskin, 2003. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," Theory workshop papers 505798000000000076, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. List, John & Sturm, Daniel M, 2004. "How Elections Matter: Theory and Evidence from Environmental Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 4489, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2006. "Emergence and Persistence of Inefficient States," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 34, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  9. Aghion, Philippe & Alesina, Alberto F & Trebbi, Francesco, 2002. "Endogenous Political Institutions," CEPR Discussion Papers 3473, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. 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.
  11. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 2008. "Bureaucrats or politicians? Part II: Multiple policy tasks," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 426-447, April.
  12. Fernando Ferreira & Joseph Gyourko, 2009. "Do Political Parties Matter? Evidence from U.S. Cities-super-," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(1), pages 399-422, February.
  13. Ferraz, Claudio & Finan, Frederico S., 2007. "Electoral Accountability and Corruption in Local Governments: Evidence from Audit Reports," IZA Discussion Papers 2843, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Do Leaders Matter? National Leadership and Growth Since World War II," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 835-864, August.
  15. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Köthenbürger, Marko & Egger, Peter & Smart, Michael, 2013. "Do Electoral Rules Make Legislators Differently Responsive to Fiscal Transfers? Evidence from German Municipalities," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79972, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  2. Mark Partridge & Tim Sass, 2011. "The productivity of elected and appointed officials: the case of school superintendents," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 149(1), pages 133-149, October.
  3. Razvan Vlaicu & Alexander Whalley, 2011. "Do housing bubbles generate fiscal bubbles?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 149(1), pages 89-108, October.

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