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Lame Ducks and Divided Government: How Voters Control the Unaccountable

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  • Mark Schelker

Abstract

Divided government is not only the outcome of moderate voters’ electoral decision to balance party ideology in government, but a more general reaction of voters to a systematic control problem. Voters realize that term limited executives (i.e., “lame ducks”) cannot be held accountable due to the missing re-election incentives. By dividing government control voters force a lame duck to compromise on policies with an opposing legislature and restrict his ability to extract rents. Based on US state data I present empirical evidence showing that the probability of divided government is 9 to 15 percent higher when governors are lame ducks.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3523.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3523

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Keywords: divided government; lame duck; term limit; accountability;

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  12. Daniel, Kermit & Lott, John R, Jr, 1997. " Term Limits and Electoral Competitiveness: Evidence from California's State Legislative Races," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 90(1-4), pages 165-84, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Geys, Benny & Vermeir, Jan, 2012. "Party cues in elections under multilevel governance: Theory and evidence from US states," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship & Project "The Future of Fiscal Federalism", Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) SP II 2012-107, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  2. Andreas Bernecker, 2014. "Divided We Reform? Evidence from US Welfare Policies," CESifo Working Paper Series 4564, CESifo Group Munich.

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