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Do Elections lead to Informed Public Decisions?

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Author Info

  • Otto H. Swank

    ()
    (Faculty of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Bauke Visser

    ()
    (Faculty of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Abstract

Democracies delegate substantial decision power to politicians. Using a model in which an incumbent can design, examine and implement public policies, we show that examination takes place in spite of, rather than thanks to, elections. Elections are needed as a carrot and a stick to motivate politicians, yet politicians who are overly interested in re-election shy away from policy examination. Our analysis sheds light on the distance created in mature democracies between the political process and the production of policy relevant information; on the role played by probing into candidates' past; and on the possibility of crowding out desirable political behaviour by increasing the value of holding office.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 03-067/1.

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Date of creation: 27 Aug 2003
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20030067

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Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

Related research

Keywords: Democracy; Media; Policy Examination; Multiple Tasks; Information; Elections;

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References

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  9. Robert Barro, 1973. "The control of politicians: An economic model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 19-42, March.
  10. le Borgne, E. & Lockwood, B., 2000. "Do Elections Always Motivate Incumbents?," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 580, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  11. Joseph Stiglitz, 1998. "Distinguished Lecture on Economics in Government: The Private Uses of Public Interests: Incentives and Institutions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 3-22, Spring.
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  13. Hans Gersbach, 2001. "Competition of Politicians for Incentive Contracts and Elections," CESifo Working Paper Series 406, CESifo Group Munich.
  14. Frey, Bruno S & Oberholzer-Gee, Felix & Eichenberger, Reiner, 1996. "The Old Lady Visits Your Backyard: A Tale of Morals and Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1297-1313, December.
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  17. Timothy Besley, 2005. "Political Selection," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 43-60, Summer.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Mejía Cubillos, Javier, 2012. "Libertad y desempeño económico
    [Freedom and economic performance]
    ," MPRA Paper 37939, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Eric Borgne & Ben Lockwood, 2006. "Do Elections Always Motivate Incumbents? Learning vs. Re-Election Concerns," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 129(1), pages 41-60, October.
  3. Enrico Giovannini, 2007. "Statistics and Politics in a "Knowledge Society"," OECD Statistics Working Papers 2007/2, OECD Publishing.

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