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Conspicuous Public Goods and Leadership Selection

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  • C. Jennings
  • H.J. Roelfsema

Abstract

Abstract If voters care for the relative supply of public goods compared to other jurisdictions, decentralized provision of public goods will be too high. Potentially, centralization internalizes the negative externalities from the production of these `conspicuous' public goods. However, in a model of strategic delegation of policy making, we show that in the decentralized policy making case the median voter may delegate to a politician who cares less for conspicuous public goods than she does herself. By doing so, she commits to lower public goods in the home and in the foreign country. In contrast, with centralization the median voter anticipates the reduction in public goods supply by delegating to a policy maker who cares more for public goods than she does herself. This last effect mitigates the expected benefits of centralization.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Utrecht School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 04-10.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:use:tkiwps:0410

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Keywords: Conspicuous goods; strategic delegation; policy centralization;

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  1. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
  2. John Y. Campbell & John Cochrane, 1999. "Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 205-251, April.
  3. R Dur & H.J. Roelfsema, 2004. "Why does centralisation fail to internalise policy externalities?," Working Papers 04-09, Utrecht School of Economics.
  4. Andrew B. Abel, 1990. "Asset Prices under Habit Formation and Catching up with the Joneses," NBER Working Papers 3279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. John Y. Campbell & John H. Cochrane, 1995. "By Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," NBER Working Papers 4995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Bill Dupor & Wen-Fang Liu, 2003. "Jealousy and Equilibrium Overconsumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 423-428, March.
  7. Yeung Lewis Chan & Leonid Kogan, 2002. "Catching Up with the Joneses: Heterogeneous Preferences and the Dynamics of Asset Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1255-1285, December.
  8. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 1999. "Centralized versus Decentralized Provision of Local Public Goods: A Political Economy Analysis," NBER Working Papers 7084, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Hamlin, Alan & Jennings, Colin, 2007. "Leadership and conflict," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 49-68, September.
  10. Gali, Jordi, 1994. "Keeping Up with the Joneses: Consumption Externalities, Portfolio Choice, and Asset Prices," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 26(1), pages 1-8, February.
  11. Harald Uhlig & Lars Ljungqvist, 2000. "Tax Policy and Aggregate Demand Management under Catching Up with the Joneses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 356-366, June.
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