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The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government

Author

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  • Eric Maskin
  • Jean Tirole

Abstract

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").

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:94:y:2004:i:4:p:1034-1054
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/0002828042002606
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior

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