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Divisive Politics and Accountability

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  • Aron Kiss

    ()
    (National Bank of Hungary)

Abstract

The paper analyzes a political accountability game with an electorate of 'partisan' and 'independent' voters. It is shown that politicians have a strategic incentive to engage in 'divisive politics', that is, to force some independent voters to take sides, even if the direct electoral benefits are higher for their opponents than for themselves. By polarizing the electorate, the incumbent politician weakens the ability of independent voters to make him accountable for his policies in the common interest. Moreover, the interests of the incumbent and the opposition are aligned: the opposition also benefits from divisive politics because, in equilibrium, its election probability increases.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences in its series IEHAS Discussion Papers with number 1115.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:has:discpr:1115

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Related research

Keywords: political accountability; political agency; divisive politics; democracy in divided societies;

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  1. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
  2. Geys, Benny & Vermeir, Jan, 2008. "Party cues and yardstick voting," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2008-05, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  3. 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.
  4. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, . "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," Working Papers 100, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  5. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1992. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote Seeking, Tax Setting and Yardstick Competition," NBER Working Papers 4041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Áron Kiss, 2009. "Coalition politics and accountability," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 139(3), pages 413-428, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Maria Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2011. "Political competition and politician quality: evidence from Italian municipalities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 547-559, September.

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