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The Drawbacks of Electoral Competition

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  • A. Lizzeri
  • N. Persico

Abstract

We examine the effect of the number of candidates and the impact of ideology on the efficiency of the electoral process. We show that the tendency to focus on policies that provide particularistic benefits increases with the number of candidates to the expense of policies that benefit the population at large. Thus, the efficiency of policies provided in an electoral equilibrium worsens when the number of candidates increases. We next show that partisan voters are disadvantaged in the process of redistributive politics, and that the larger the fraction of voters who vote ideologically, the less efficient the political process. This is because electoral competition focuses on swing voters, increasing the values of policies with targetable benefits.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economics Department, Princeton University in its series Princeton Economic Theory Papers with number 00s14.

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Date of creation: Mar 2000
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Handle: RePEc:wop:prinet:00s14

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References

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  1. Alessro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, . "The Provision of Public Goods Under Alternative Electoral Incentives," Penn CARESS Working Papers b96440ba0bfa06ca550ac40aa, Penn Economics Department.
  2. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
  3. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "The Size and Scope of Government: Comparative Politics With Rational Politicians," CEPR Discussion Papers 2051, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Palfrey, Thomas R, 1984. "Spatial Equilibrium with Entry," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 139-56, January.
  5. Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William & Alesina, Alberto, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," Scholarly Articles 4551797, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Coate, Stephen & Morris, Stephen, 1995. "On the Form of Transfers in Special Interests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1210-35, December.
  7. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1998. "Sources of Inefficiency in a Representative Democracy: A Dynamic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 139-56, March.
  8. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  9. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
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Cited by:
  1. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1034-1054, September.
  2. Oriol Carbonell-Nicolau & Efe Ok, 2004. "Multidimensional income taxation and electoral competition: an equilibrium analysis," Departmental Working Papers 200407, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  3. Maria Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2011. "Political competition and politician quality: evidence from Italian municipalities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 547-559, September.
  4. Kovenock, Dan & Roberson, Brian, 2005. "Electoral poaching and party identification," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2005-17, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  5. Vincenzo Galasso & Tommaso Nannicini, 2010. "Competing on Good Politicians," Working Papers 368, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  6. Fernández, Raquel & Levy, Gilat, 2005. "Class and Tastes: The Effects of Income and Preference Heterogeneity on Redistribution," CEPR Discussion Papers 4834, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Uppal, Yogesh & Glazer, Amihai, 2011. "Legislative turnover, fiscal policy, and economic growth: evidence from U.S. state legislatures," MPRA Paper 34186, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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