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Electoral Misgovernance Cycles: Evidence from wildfires and tax evasion in Greece and elsewhere


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  • Spyros Skouras
  • Nicos Christodoulakis


We present detailed empirical evidence that around Greek elections, misgovernance results in significant increases in wildfires and tax evasion and with important economic implications: the cumulative cost of these effects in recent years has been over 8% of GDP and has therefore been a contributing factor to Greece’s debt crisis and any effect this has had on the global economy. We interpret this evidence as a type of misgovernance which arises from electoral cycles in two types of incumbent incentives: (i) to allocate effort or attention between governing vs. campaigning; and/or (ii) to adopt even very inefficient redistributive policies if they benefit special interests with a lead over when the costs are observed. While these incentives may manifest differently among countries, our analysis suggests that electoral cycles everywhere may be much more multifaceted and harmful than previous literature suggests.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Hellenic Observatory, LSE in its series GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe with number 47.

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Date of creation: May 2011
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Handle: RePEc:hel:greese:47

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Keywords: political cycles; voting behaviour; performance of government; forest fires; tax evasion.;

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  1. Levitt, Steven D, 1997. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 270-90, June.
  2. Georgios Efthyvoulou, 2012. "Political budget cycles in the European Union and the impact of political pressures," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 153(3), pages 295-327, December.
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  18. Poterba, James M, 1994. "State Responses to Fiscal Crises: The Effects of Budgetary Institutions and Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 799-821, August.
  19. William Shughart, 2006. "Katrinanomics: The politics and economics of disaster relief," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 127(1), pages 31-53, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Manussos Marangudakis & Kostas Rontos & Maria Xenitidou, 2013. "State Crisis and Civil Consciousness in Greece," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 77, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
  2. Nicos Christodoulakis, 2014. "The Conflict Trap in the Greek Civil War 1946-1949: An economic approach," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 83, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
  3. Yannis Valinakis, 2012. "Greece’s European Policy Making," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 63, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
  4. Horen Voskeritsian & Andreas Kornelakis, 2011. "Institutional Change in Greek Industrial Relations in an Era of Fiscal Crisis," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 52, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
  5. Vassilis Monastiriotis & Angelo Martelli, 2013. "Beyond Rising Unemployment: Unemployment Risk, Crisis and Regional Adjustments in Greece," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 80, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
  6. George Alogoskoufis, 2013. "Macroeconomics and politics in the accumulation of Greece’s debt: an econometric investigation, 1975-2009," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 50257, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Emmanuel Mamatzakis, 2013. "Are there any Animal Spirits behind the Scenes of the Euro area Sovereign Debt Crisis?," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 72, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
  8. Spyros Kosmidis, 2013. "Government Constraints and Economic Voting in Greece," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 70, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
  9. Yiannos Katsourides, 2013. "Political Parties and Trade Unions in Cyprus," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 74, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
  10. Spyros Kosmidis, 2013. "Government constraints and economic voting in Greece," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 50259, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  11. Helen Caraveli & Efthymios G. Tsionas, 2012. "Economic Restructuring, Crises and the Regions: The Political Economy of Regional Inequalities in Greece," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 61, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
  12. George Alogoskoufis, 2012. "Greece’s Sovereign Debt Crisis: Retrospect and Prospect," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 54, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
  13. Platon Monokroussos & Dimitrios D. Thomakos, 2012. "Can Greece be saved? Current Account, fiscal imbalances and competitiveness," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 59, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
  14. Nick Papandreou, 2014. "Life in the First Person and the Art of Political Storytelling:The Rhetoric of Andreas Papandreou," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 85, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.


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