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The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government

  • Eric Maskin
  • Jean Tirole

We build a simple model to capture the major virtues and drawbacks of making public officials accountable (i. e., subjecting them to reelection): On the one hand, accountability allows the public to screen and discipline their officials; on the other, it may induce those officials to pander to public opinion and put too little weight on minority welfare. We study when decision-making powers should be allocated to the public directly (direct democracy), to accountable officials (called "politicians"), or to nonaccountable officials (called "judges").

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/0002828042002606
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 94 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 (September)
Pages: 1034-1054

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:94:y:2004:i:4:p:1034-1054
Note: DOI: 10.1257/0002828042002606
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