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Politicians’ Motivation, Political Culture, and Electoral Competition

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  • Klaas J. Beniers
  • Robert Dur

Abstract

We study electoral competition among politicians who are heterogeneous both in competence and in how much they care about (what they perceive as) the public interest relative to the private rents from being in office. We show that politicians’ incentives to behave opportunistically increase with politicians’ pay and with polarization of policy preferences. Moreover, politicians may have stronger incentives to behave opportunistically if other politicians are more likely to behave opportunistically. A political culture may therefore be selfreinforcing and multiple equilibria may arise. Lastly, we show that the mere probability that politicians care about the public interest enables opportunistic politicians to damage the reputation of their competitors. Consequently, efficient policies may be reversed.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1228.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1228

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Keywords: politicians’ motivation; politicians’ pay; political culture; electoral competition; coalition governments; reputation bashing;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Klaas J. Beniers & Robert Dur, 2004. "Politicians’ Motivation, Political Culture, and Electoral Competition," CESifo Working Paper Series 1228, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Felix Arnold & Björn Kauder & Niklas Potrafke, 2014. "Outside Earnings, Absence, and Activity: Evidence from Germany Parliamentarians," CESifo Working Paper Series 4900, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Thomas Markussen & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2010. "Serving the Public Interest," NRN working papers 2010-21, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  4. Klaas J. Beniers, 2005. "Party Governance and the Selection of Parliamentarians," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-080/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  5. Alessandro Fedele & Paolo Naticchioni, 2013. "Moonlighting Politicians: Motivation Matters!," BEMPS - Bozen Economics & Management Paper Series BEMPS08, School of Economics and Management at the Free University of Bozen.
  6. Alessandro Fedele & Pierpaolo Giannoccolo, 2013. "Moneycracy," BEMPS - Bozen Economics & Management Paper Series BEMPS07, School of Economics and Management at the Free University of Bozen.
    • A. Fedele & P. Giannoccolo, 2013. "Moneycracy," Working Papers wp893, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  7. Amihai Glazer, 2012. "Handicaps on Timing to Improve Reputation," Working Papers 111210, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.

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