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The Drawbacks of Electoral Competition

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  • Alessandro Lizzeri

    (Princeton University)

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 Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers with number 0898.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:0898

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  1. Alessandro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, . ""The Provision of Public Goods Under Alternative Electoral Incentives''," CARESS Working Papres 98-08, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  2. Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1998. "The Size and Scope of Government: Comparative Politics with Rational Politicians," Papers 658, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  3. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1997. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," NBER Working Papers 6009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
  5. 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.
  6. Osborne, Martin J & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96, February.
  7. Palfrey, Thomas R, 1984. "Spatial Equilibrium with Entry," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 139-56, January.
  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. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," Economics Working Papers 0020, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  3. Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2010. "Political Competition And Politician Quality: Evidence From Italian Municipalities," Working Papers 201005, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza (Ex Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica).
  4. Oriol Carbonell-Nicolau & Efe Ok, 2004. "Multidimensional income taxation and electoral competition: an equilibrium analysis," Departmental Working Papers 200407, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  5. Galasso, Vincenzo & Nannicini, Tommaso, 2009. "Competing on Good Politicians," IZA Discussion Papers 4282, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. 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.
  7. Kovenock, Dan & Robertson, Brian, 2005. "Electoral Poaching and Party Identification," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1178, Purdue University, Department of Economics.

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