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Off-the-peak preferences over government size

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  • Francisco Martínez-Mora

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  • M. Socorro Puy

Abstract

We study the political consequences of policy preferences which are non-symmetric around the peak. While the usual assumption of symmetric preferences is innocuous in political equilibria with plat-forms convergence, it is not neutral when candidates are differentiated. We show that a larger government size emerges when preferences of the median voter off-the-peak are more intense towards overprovision (what we call wasteful preferences), whereas a smaller government results when her preferences are more intense towards underprovision (scrooge preferences). We then analyze the determinants of preferences off-the-peak and find that: (i) The sign of the third derivative of the policy-induced utility function indicates whether preferences are wasteful (positive) or scrooge (negative). (ii) The analog of Kimball's coefficient of prudence can be used to measure degrees of wastefulness and scroogeness. (iii) Consumers' risk aversion and government decreasing effectiveness in producing the public good generate scrooge.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Leicester in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 10/04.

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Date of creation: Jan 2010
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Handle: RePEc:lec:leecon:10/04

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Keywords: Single-peaked preferences; citizen-candidate; coefficient of prudence; differentiated platforms; risk-aversion;

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  1. Alessandro Gavazza & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2011. "Transparency and Manipulation of Public Accounts," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 13(3), pages 327-349, 06.
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  4. Roland Benabou, 1999. "Tax and Education Policy in a Heterogeneous Agent Economy: What Levels f Redistribution Maximize Growth and Efficiency?," NBER Working Papers 7132, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  6. Pierre‐André Chiappori & Monica Paiella, 2011. "Relative Risk Aversion Is Constant: Evidence From Panel Data," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(6), pages 1021-1052, December.
  7. Milgrom, Paul, 1994. "Comparing Optima: Do Simplifying Assumptions Affect Conclusions?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 607-15, June.
  8. 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.
  9. Nico A. Hansen & Anke S. Kessler, 2001. "The Political Geography of Tax H(e)avens and Tax Hells," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1103-1115, September.
  10. Gans, Joshua S. & Smart, Michael, 1996. "Majority voting with single-crossing preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 219-237, February.
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