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Information, Polarization and Delegation in Democracy

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  • Christian Schultz

Abstract

This paper investigates the merits of different democratic institutions when politics is uni-dimensional, there is uncertainty both about the preferences of the future electorate and the future polarization of political parties, and politicians have better information about the state of the world than voters. Three types of institutions are compared: direct democracy, representative democracy, where politicians are accountable and independent agencies, where they are not. Low uncertainty about the state of the world and the future electorate’s preferences and high expected polarization make direct democracy optimal, while the opposite configuration makes representative democracy optimal. Independent agencies are optimal for intermediate values.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1104.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1104

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Keywords: accountability; redistribution; constitutional design; voting; information; direct democracy;

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  1. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . ""An Economic Model of Representative Democracy''," CARESS Working Papres, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences 95-02, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  2. F. Andrew Hanssen, 2004. "Is There a Politically Optimal Level of Judicial Independence?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 712-729, June.
  3. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
  4. Besley, Timothy J. & Coate, Stephen, 2000. "Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory And Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 2381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. : Christian Schultz, . "Polarization and Inefficient Policies," Discussion Papers 93-16, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  6. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini , Guido, 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," Seminar Papers, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies 630, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  7. Anke Kessler, 2005. "Representative versus direct democracy: The role of informational asymmetries," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 122(1), pages 9-38, January.
  8. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1034-1054, September.
  9. Letterie, W.A. & Swank, O.H., 1993. "Economic Policy, Model Uncertainty and Elections," Papers, Erasmus University of Rotterdam - Institute for Economic Research 9307-p, Erasmus University of Rotterdam - Institute for Economic Research.
  10. Matsusaka, John G, 1992. "Economics of Direct Legislation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 541-71, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2007. "Bureaucrats or Politicians? Part I: A Single Policy Task," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 169-179, March.
  2. Erkoc, Taptuk Emre, 2013. "Efficiency of Public Sector Organizations: Perspectives from Theories of Bureaucracy," MPRA Paper 49386, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Clare Leaver & Jordi Blanes i Vidal, 2008. "Pandering Judges," Economics Series Working Papers 390, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2004. "Bureaucrats or Politicians?," NBER Working Papers 10241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "Why do Politicians Delegate?," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000470, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2010. "Politics and Monetary Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 8143, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Jordi Blanes i Vidal & Clare Leaver, 2008. "Pandering Judges," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE 002, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.

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