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Who Gets On Top in Democracy? Elections as Filters

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  • Cooter, Robert D.
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    Abstract

    Economic models of politics usually assume that all politicians maximize their narrow self-interest, so the constitution and other laws should be designed to constrain the worst people. In contrast, I assume that different politicians have different traits of character, so the constitution and other laws should be designed to promote the best and demote the worst. Successful filtering of politicians partly determines whether a country enjoys good or bad government. In my model, each election serves as a filter, so, up to a point, more elections filter better. Countries that suffer bad government do so partly because politicians face too few elections for the citizens to identify the worst characters and remove them from office. These countries, however, should not necessarily shorten the term of office in order to have more frequent elections. Rather, these countries should reduce the depth of administration and create a federal structure with more elected governments. Similarly, these countries should tilt influence towards voters and away from party leaders by favoring winner-take-all elections.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics in its series Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series with number qt4q258892.

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    Date of creation: 15 Nov 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:cdl:oplwec:qt4q258892

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    Cited by:
    1. Fabio Padovano, 2013. "Are we witnessing a paradigm shift in the analysis of political competition?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(3), pages 631-651, September.
    2. Bruno S. Frey, 2007. "Evaluierungen, Evaluierungen H Evaluitis," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 8(3), pages 207-220, 08.
    3. Timothy Besley, 2005. "Political Selection," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 43-60, Summer.

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