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Information, Polarization and Delegation in Democracy

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  • Christian Schultz

    (Institute of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

This paper investigates the merits of different democratic institutions when politics is uni-dimensional, there is uncertainty both about the preferences of the future electorate and the future polarization of political parties, and politicians have better information about the state of the world than voters. Three types of institutions are compared: direct democracy, representative democracy where politicians are accountable, and independent agencies where they are not. Low uncertainty about the state of the world and the future electorate’s preferences and high expected polarization make direct democracy optimal, while the opposite configuration makes representative democracy optimal. Independent agencies are optimal for intermediate values.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series EPRU Working Paper Series with number 03-16.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:03-16

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Keywords: accountability; redistribution; constitutional design; voting; information; direct democracy;

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  1. Wilko Letterie & Otto H. Swank, 1998. "Economic Policy, Model Uncertainty and Elections," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 85-103, 03.
  2. Matsusaka, John G, 1992. "Economics of Direct Legislation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 541-71, May.
  3. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," NBER Working Papers 6329, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Kessler, Anke, 2003. "Representative versus Direct Democracy: The Role of Informational Asymmetries," CEPR Discussion Papers 3911, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. F. Andrew Hanssen, 2004. "Is There a Politically Optimal Level of Judicial Independence?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 712-729, June.
  6. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . ""An Economic Model of Representative Democracy''," CARESS Working Papres 95-02, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  7. 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.
  8. Schultz, Christian, 2002. "Policy biases with voters' uncertainty about the economy and the government," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 487-506, March.
  9. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 2003. "Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1176-1206, 09.
  10. Schultz, Christian, 1996. "Polarization and Inefficient Policies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 331-44, April.
  11. Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1993. "Economic Policy, Economic Performance, and Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 27-42, March.
  12. Robert Barro, 1973. "The control of politicians: An economic model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 19-42, March.
  13. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
  14. Mailath, George J, 1987. "Incentive Compatibility in Signaling Games with a Continuum of Types," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1349-65, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Alesina, Alberto F & Tabellini, Guido, 2004. "Bureaucrats or Politicians?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4252, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 2008. "Bureaucrats or politicians? Part II: Multiple policy tasks," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 426-447, April.
  3. Clare Leaver & Jordi Blanes i Vidal, 2008. "Pandering Judges," Economics Series Working Papers 390, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2007. "Bureaucrats or Politicians? Part I: A Single Policy Task," Levine's Working Paper Archive 321307000000000870, David K. Levine.
  5. Michael Ehrmann & Marcel Fratzscher, 2011. "Politics and Monetary Policy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 941-960, August.
  6. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "Why do Politicians Delegate?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2079, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  7. Jordi Blanes i Vidal & Clare Leaver, 2008. "Pandering Judges," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 002, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  8. Erkoc, Taptuk Emre, 2013. "Efficiency of Public Sector Organizations: Perspectives from Theories of Bureaucracy," MPRA Paper 49386, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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