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The Effect of Party Discipline on the Electoral Accountability of Politicians

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  • Nicolas-Guillaume Martineau

    ()
    (Département d'économique and GRÉDI, Université de Sherbrooke)

Abstract

This essay examines the influence of a politician's party on her accountability to the electorate. It also considers what the conjectured waning of political parties may imply for the effectiveness of elections in disciplining politicians, and for voter welfare. The paper models the election mechanism as a principal-agent relationship between the representative voter (principal) and the politician in office (agent). The party is heterogeneous, composed of factions whose preferences over policy differ. It may coerce the politician by threatening to remove her from the party's helm following certain policy choices. The main result is that putschist threats, despite being a distortion when the electoral mechanism is functioning well, can be welfare-enhancing in the presence of another distortion on the electoral mechanism. This serves to contribute to a theory of the political second-best.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Departement d'Economique de la Faculte d'administration à l'Universite de Sherbrooke in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 12-04.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:shr:wpaper:12-04

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Keywords: political agency; factions; accountability; political parties; ideology; voter welfare;

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  1. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
  2. B.S.Y. Crutzen & Micael Castanheira De Moura & Nicolas Sahuguet, 2010. "The impact of party organization on electoral outcomes," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/136806, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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