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Government Policy with Time Inconsistent Voters

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  • Leeat Yariv

    (California Institute of Technology)

  • Alessandro Lizzeri

    (New York University)

  • Alberto Bisin

    (New York University)

Abstract

Behavioral economics presents a "paternalistic" rationale for government intervention. Current literature focuses on benevolent government. This paper introduces politicians who may indulge/exploit these behavioral biases. We present an analysis of the novel features that arise when the political process is populated by voters who may be time inconsistent, a' la Phelps and Polak (1968) and Laibson (1997). Time inconsistent voters exhibit demand for commitment. We show that electorally accountable politicians may choose policies that interfere with individuals' desire to commit, and that government may not be very effective in satisfying the demand for commitment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2012 Meeting Papers with number 92.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:92

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  1. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1996. "Doing It Now or Later," Discussion Papers 1172, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Zheng Song & Kjetil Storesletten & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2007. "Rotten Parents and Disciplined Children: A Politico-Economic Theory of Public Expenditure and Debt," 2007 Meeting Papers 685, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Bryan Caplan, 2007. "Introduction to The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies
    [The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies]
    ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
  4. Caplin, Andrew & Schotter, Andrew, 2008. "The Foundations of Positive and Normative Economics: A Handbook," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195328318.
  5. O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 2006. "Optimal sin taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1825-1849, November.
  6. Stefano DellaVigna, 2007. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," NBER Working Papers 13420, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Semyon MALAMUD & Fabio TROJANI, 2009. "Variance Covariance Orders and Median Preserving," Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper Series 09-13, Swiss Finance Institute.
  8. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
  9. Daniel Gottlieb, 2008. "Competition over Time-Inconsistent Consumers," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(4), pages 673-684, 08.
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