The Good, the Bad and the Populist: A Model of Political Agency with Emotional Voters
AbstractThis paper attempts to extend existing models of political agency to an environment in which voting may be divided between informed and instrumental, informed and ‘expressive’ (Brennan and Lomasky (1993)) and uninformed due to ‘rational irrationality’ (Caplan (2007)). It constructs a model where politicians may be good, bad or populist. Populists are more willing than good politicians to pander to voters who may choose inferior policies in a large-group electoral setting because their vote is insignificant compared with those that voters would choose were their vote decisive in determining the electoral outcome. Bad politicians would ideally like to extract tax revenue for their own ends. Initially we assume the existence of only good and populist politicians. The paper investigates the incentives for good politicians to pool with or separate from populists and focuses on three key issues – (1) how far the majority of voter’s preferences are from those held by the better informed incumbent politician (2) the extent to which the population exhibits rational irrationality and expressiveness (jointly labelled as emotional) and (3) the cost involved in persuading uninformed voters to change their views in terms of composing messages and spreading them. This paper goes on to consider how the inclusion of bad politicians may affect the behaviour of good politicians and suggests that a small amount of potential corruption may be socially useful. It is also argued that where bad politicians have an incentive to mimic the behaviour of good and populist politicians, the latter types of politician may have an incentive to separate from bad politicians by investing in costly public education signals. The paper also discusses the implications of the model for whether fiscal restraints should be soft or hard.
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 Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE) in its series SIRE Discussion Papers with number 2009-30.
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Political Agency; Expressive Voting; Rational Irrationality; Democratic Inefficiency; Populism;
Other versions of this item:
- Jennings, Colin, 2011. "The good, the bad and the populist: A model of political agency with emotional voters," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 611-624.
- Colin Jennings, 2009. "The Good the Bad and the Populist: A Model of Political Agency with Emotional Voters," Working Papers 0909, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
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.:
- Bryan Caplan, 2009. "Irrational principals," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 159-167, June.
- Daniel Mejía & Carlos Esteban Posada, .
"Populist Policies in the Transition to Democracy,"
Borradores de Economia
349, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
- Timothy Besley & Michael Smart, 2005.
"Fiscal restraints and voter welfare,"
LSE Research Online Documents on Economics
3769, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Timothy Besley & Michael Smart, 2005. "Fiscal Restraints and Voter Welfare," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 06, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
- Margaret Canovan, 1999. "Trust the People! Populism and the Two Faces of Democracy," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 47(1), pages 2-16, 03.
- Anna Maria Mayda (Georgetown University) and Dani Rodrik (Harvard University), 2005.
"Why are some people (and countries) more protectionist than others?,"
gueconwpa~05-05-11, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
- Mayda, Anna Maria & Rodrik, Dani, 2005. "Why are some people (and countries) more protectionist than others?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1393-1430, August.
- Mayda, Anna Maria & Rodrik, Dani, 2001. "Why are Some People (and Countries) More Protectionist than Others?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2960, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Anna Maria Mayda & Dani Rodrik, 2001. "Why Are Some People (and Countries) More Protectionist Than Others?," NBER Working Papers 8461, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Michael Smart & Daniel M. Sturm, 2006.
"Term limits and electoral accountability,"
LSE Research Online Documents on Economics
19771, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Michael Smart & Daniel Sturm, 2004. "Term limits and electoral accountability," Economic History Working Papers 20283, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
- Smart, Michael & Sturm, Daniel M, 2004. "Term Limits and Electoral Accountability," CEPR Discussion Papers 4272, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Michael Smart & Daniel M. Sturm, 2006. "Term Limits and Electoral Accountability," CEP Discussion Papers dp0770, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Geoffrey Brennan & Alan Hamlin, 1998.
"Expressive voting and electoral equilibrium,"
Springer, vol. 95(1), pages 149-175, April.
- Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004.
"The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1034-1054, September.
- Eric Maskin, 2003. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," Theory workshop papers 505798000000000076, UCLA Department of Economics.
- 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.
- Feddersen, Timothy J & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1996.
"The Swing Voter's Curse,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 408-24, June.
- Bryan Caplan, 2002. "Systematically Biased Beliefs About Economics: Robust Evidence of Judgemental Anomalies from the Survey of Americans and Economists on the Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(479), pages 433-458, April.
- Becker, Gary S, 1983. "A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400, August.
- Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 1990.
"A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 403-14, July.
- Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Scholarly Articles 3612769, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Sobbrio, Francesco & Navarra, Pietro, 2010.
"Electoral participation and communicative voting in Europe,"
European Journal of Political Economy,
Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 185-207, June.
- Sobbrio, Francesco & Navarra, Pietro, 2009. "Electoral Participation and Communicative Voting in Europe," MPRA Paper 18311, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Kliemt, Hartmut, 1986. "The veil of insignificance," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 333-344.
- David Romer, 2003.
"Misconceptions and Political Outcomes,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(484), pages 1-20, January.
- Hillman, Arye L., 2010. "Expressive behavior in economics and politics," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 403-418, December.
- Fearon, James D., 1995. "Rationalist explanations for war," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(03), pages 379-414, June.
- Persson, Torsten & Svensson, Lars E O, 1989. "Why a Stubborn Conservative Would Run a Deficit: Policy with Time-Inconsistent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 325-45, May.
- Liu, Qijun, 2007. "How to improve government performance?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 1198-1206, December.
- Dani Rodrik, 1996. "Understanding Economic Policy Reform," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 9-41, March.
- Stephen Morris, 1999.
Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers
1242, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Bryan Caplan, 2007.
"Introduction to The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies
[The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies]," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
- John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
- Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
- Toke S. Aidt, 2003. "Economic analysis of corruption: a survey," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(491), pages F632-F652, November.
- Geoffrey Brennan, 2009. "Politics, selection and the public interest: Besley’s benevolent despot," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 131-143, June.
- Aidt, Toke Skovsgaard, 2003. "Redistribution and deadweight cost: the role of political competition," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 205-226, June.
- Wittman, Donald, 1989. "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1395-1424, December.
- Brennan,Geoffrey & Buchanan,James M., 1980.
"The Power to Tax,"
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521233293.
- Costas-Pérez, Elena & Solé-Ollé, Albert & Sorribas-Navarro, Pilar, 2012. "Corruption scandals, voter information, and accountability," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 469-484.
- Felix Arnold, 2013. "German MPs' Outside Jobs and Their Repercussions on Parliamentary Effort," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1340, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Gina Reddie).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.