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The Drawbacks of Electoral Competition

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  • Aless
  • ro Lizzeri
  • Nicola Persico

Abstract

We examine the effect of the number of candidates and the impact of ideology on the efficiency of the electoral process. We show that the tendency to focus on policies that provide particularistic benefits increases with the number of candidates to the expense of policies that benefit the population at large. Thus, the efficiency of policies provided in an electoral equilibrium worsens when the number of candidates increases. We next show that partisan voters are disadvantaged in the process of redistributive politics, and that the larger the fraction of voters who vote ideologically, the less efficient the political process. This is because electoral competition focuses on swing voters, increasing the values of policies with targetable benefits.

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Paper provided by Penn Economics Department in its series Penn CARESS Working Papers with number db8edf1dce2468924aca9e50160e7919.

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Handle: RePEc:cla:penntw:db8edf1dce2468924aca9e50160e7919

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  1. Palfrey, Thomas R, 1984. "Spatial Equilibrium with Entry," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 139-56, January.
  2. Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1998. "The Size and Scope of Government: Comparative Politics with Rational Politicians," Papers 658, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  3. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  4. Nicola Persico & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2001. "The Provision of Public Goods under Alternative Electoral Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 225-239, March.
  5. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  6. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1997. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," NBER Working Papers 6009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
  8. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1998. "Sources of Inefficiency in a Representative Democracy: A Dynamic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 139-56, March.
  9. Coate, Stephen & Morris, Stephen, 1995. "On the Form of Transfers in Special Interests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1210-35, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Oriol Carbonell-Nicolau & Efe Ok, 2004. "Multidimensional income taxation and electoral competition: an equilibrium analysis," Departmental Working Papers 200407, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  2. Fernández, Raquel & Levy, Gilat, 2005. "Class and Tastes: The Effects of Income and Preference Heterogeneity on Redistribution," CEPR Discussion Papers 4834, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Uppal, Yogesh & Glazer, Amihai, 2011. "Legislative turnover, fiscal policy, and economic growth: evidence from U.S. state legislatures," MPRA Paper 34186, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Kovenock, Dan & Roberson, Brian, 2005. "Electoral poaching and party identification," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2005-17, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  5. Maria Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2011. "Political competition and politician quality: evidence from Italian municipalities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 547-559, September.
  6. Galasso, Vincenzo & Nannicini, Tommaso, 2009. "Competing on Good Politicians," CEPR Discussion Papers 7363, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Eric Maskin, 2003. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," Theory workshop papers 505798000000000076, UCLA Department of Economics.

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