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Ideology Without Ideologists

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  • Lydia Mechtenberg

Abstract

Generally, Democrats do not increase military spending, and Republicans do not raise welfare payments. Mostly, ruling politicians stick to the manifesto of their party. The current paper provides a theoretical explanation for this phenomenon that does not assume politicians or voters to be ideologists. I explore an environment where both voters and politicians always prefer the policy that is adequate to the world state but contradicts the party manifesto over the policy that is in line with the manifesto but not adequate. I find that nevertheless, the inefficient manifesto-driven policy will often result from their interaction. Besides, I show that a high degree of agreement between the politician in office, his party basis and the voter makes efficient, informed policy rare or even impossible. But if homogeneity of convictions within parties is high, swing voter behavior can solve the problem.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany in its series SFB 649 Discussion Papers with number SFB649DP2007-021.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2007-021

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Keywords: Information transmission; signalling; ideology; intra-party politics; political opinion.;

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  1. Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1993. "Economic Policy, Economic Performance, and Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 27-42, March.
  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. Cowen, Tyler & Sutter, Daniel, 1998. " Why Only Nixon Could Go to China," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 97(4), pages 605-15, December.
  4. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse Shapiro, 2005. "Media Bias and Reputation," NBER Working Papers 11664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Cukierman, A. & Tommasi, M., 1997. "When Does It Take a Nixon to Go to China," Papers 30-97, Tel Aviv.
  6. Farrell, Joseph, 1986. "Meaning and Credibility in Cheap-Talk Games," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt4968n3fz, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  7. Paul Heidhues & Johan Lagerlöf, 2000. "Hiding Information in Electoral Competition," CIG Working Papers FS IV 00-06, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG), revised Feb 2002.
  8. Y. Stephen Chiu, 2002. "On the Feasibility of Unpopular Policies under Re-Election Concerns," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 68(4), pages 841-858, April.
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