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The Provision of Public Goods under Alternative Electoral Incentives

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  • Nicola Persico
  • Alessandro Lizzeri

Abstract

Politicians who care about the spoils of office may underprovide a public good because its benefits cannot be targeted to voters as easily as pork-barrel spending. We compare a winner-take-all system--where all the spoils go to the winner--to a proportional system--where the spoils of office are split among candidates proportionally to their share of the vote. In a winner-take-all system the public good is provided less often than in a proportional system when the public good is particularly desirable. We then consider the electoral college system and show that it is particularly subject to this inefficiency.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicola Persico & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2001. "The Provision of Public Goods under Alternative Electoral Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 225-239, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:91:y:2001:i:1:p:225-239
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.91.1.225
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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