A "Selection Model" of Political Representation
AbstractCitizen demands for more accountability and transparency are implicitly grounded in a model of political representation based primarily on sanctions, in which the interests of the representative (in economic terms, the agent) are presumed to conflict with those of the constituent (in economic terms, the principal). A selection model of political representation, as with a selection model of principal-agent relations more generally, is possible when the principal and agent have similar objectives and the agent is already internally motivated to pursue those objectives. If a potential representative’s intrinsic goals (overall direction and specific policies) are those the constituent desires and if the representative also has a verifiable reputation of being both competent and honest, a constituent can select that representative for office and subsequently spend relatively little effort on monitoring and sanctioning. The higher the probability that the objectives of principal and agent may be aligned, the more efficient it is for the principal to invest resources ex ante, in selecting the required type, rather than ex post, in monitoring and sanctioning. A selection model is efficient when agents face unpredictable future decisions, are hard to monitor, and must act flexibly. Accountability through monitoring and sanctioning is appropriate to the sanctions model, narrative accountability and deliberative accountability to the selection model. Normatively, the selection model tends to focus the attention of both citizens and representatives on the common interest. In political science the selection model was advanced in the early 1960s as one of the two paths to constituency control, but after the 1970s was eclipsed by the sanctions model in spite of data seeming to indicate that in many circumstances it has greater predictive power. Economists have only recently begun to apply the selection model significantly to politics.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp08-010.
Date of creation: Feb 2008
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Web page: http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/research/working_papers/index.htm
More information through EDIRC
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-08-31 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2008-08-31 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-CTA-2008-08-31 (Contract Theory & Applications)
- NEP-POL-2008-08-31 (Positive Political Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- David S. Lee & Enrico Moretti & Matthew J. Butler, 2004. "Do Voters Affect Or Elect Policies? Evidence from the U. S. House," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859, August.
- Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2005.
"Competition and Incentives with Motivated Agents,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 616-636, June.
- Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, .
"An Economic Model of Representative Democracy,"
Penn CARESS Working Papers
ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
- Juliet Lodge, 1994. "Transparency and Democratic Legitimacy," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(3), pages 330-342, 09.
- Juliet Lodge, 1994. "Transparency and Democratic Legitimacy," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(3), pages 343-368, 09.
- John Lott, 1987. "Political cheating," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(2), pages 169-186, January.
- Iris Bohnet & Bruno S. Frey & Steffen Huck, . "More Order with Less Law: On Contract Enforcement, Trust, and Crowding," IEW - Working Papers 052, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Frey, Bruno S, 1997. "A Constitution for Knaves Crowds Out Civic Virtues," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1043-53, July.
- Robert Barro, 1973. "The control of politicians: An economic model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 19-42, March.
- Moe, Terry M, 1990. "Political Institutions: The Neglected Side of the Story," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(0), pages 213-53.
- John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
- Paul Magnette, 2003. "European Governance and Civic Participation: Beyond Elitist Citizenship?," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 51(1), pages 144-160, 03.
- Thomas Braendle & Alois Stutzer, 2010. "Public servants in parliament: theory and evidence on its determinants in Germany," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 145(1), pages 223-252, October.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.