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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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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "Political economics and macroeconomic policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 22, pages 1397-1482 Elsevier.
  3. Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1993. "Economic Policy, Economic Performance, and Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 27-42, March.
  4. Robert Barro, 1973. "The control of politicians: An economic model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 19-42, March.
  5. : Christian Schultz, . "Polarization and Inefficient Policies," Discussion Papers 93-16, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  6. Stephen Coate & Timothy Besley, 2000. "Elected versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7579, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Letterie, W.A. & Swank, O.H., 1993. "Economic Policy, Model Uncertainty and Elections," Papers 9307-p, Erasmus University of Rotterdam - Institute for Economic Research.
  11. Mailath, George J, 1987. "Incentive Compatibility in Signaling Games with a Continuum of Types," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1349-65, November.
  12. Matsusaka, John G, 1992. "Economics of Direct Legislation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 541-71, May.
  13. Anke Kessler, 2000. "Representative versus Direct Democracy: The Role of Informational Asymmetries," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse18_2000, University of Bonn, Germany.
  14. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2007. "Bureaucrats or Politicians? Part I: A Single Policy Task," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 169-179, March.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2004. "Bureaucrats or Politicians?," NBER Working Papers 10241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Erkoc, Taptuk Emre, 2013. "Efficiency of Public Sector Organizations: Perspectives from Theories of Bureaucracy," MPRA Paper 49386, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "Why Do Politicians Delegate?," NBER Working Papers 11531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Michael Ehrmann & Marcel Fratzscher, 2011. "Politics and Monetary Policy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 941-960, August.
  8. Clare Leaver & Jordi Blanes i Vidal, 2008. "Pandering Judges," Economics Series Working Papers 390, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

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