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Fact Finding Trips to Italy: An experimental investigation of voter incentives

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  • Rodet, Cortney S.

Abstract

This paper addresses the interaction of voter information and seniority on electoral accountability. We test whether information leads voters to be less tolerant of moral hazard in a legislative system favoring seniority. A simple game theoretic model is used to predict outcomes in a pork-barrel experiment where subjects act as legislators and voters. Senior legislators have an advantage in providing transfers which presents the opportunity to shirk where legislators can enrich themselves at the expense of voters. Voter information about incumbent behavior is varied across experimental treatments. We find that accountability increases when voters can compare their own legislator’s behavior to the behavior of others. Despite the fact that voters succumb to the incentives of seniority, information is effective in deterring legislator shirking.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 33193.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:33193

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Keywords: voting; experiments; information; principal-agent problem;

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  1. McMillan, John & Zoido, Pablo, 2004. "How to Subvert Democracy: Montesinos in Peru," Research Papers 1851r, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  2. Ferraz, Claudio & Finan, Frederico S., 2007. "Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil’s Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 2836, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
  4. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869, August.
  5. Rodet, Cortney S., 2011. "Voter Behavior and Seniority Advantage in Pork Barrel Politics," MPRA Paper 33192, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Weingast, Barry R & Marshall, William J, 1988. "The Industrial Organization of Congress; or, Why Legislatures, Like Firms, Are Not Organized as Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(1), pages 132-63, February.
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