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Party Cues In Elections Under Multilevel Governance: Theory And Evidence From Us States

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  • Benny Geys
  • Jan Vermeir

Abstract

In federal countries, voters’ ability to evaluate the performance of their leaders might be reduced when different levels of government shape policy outcomes. This can blur political accountability. In this article, we analyze how party cues (i.e., politicians’ party membership acting as a cue towards their characteristics) affect voters’ incomplete information in a federal setting. We theoretically show that party cues allow indirect inference regarding politicians using observed policy outcomes, and can alleviate the accountability problem. Empirical evidence from US presidential election results across all 50 US states over the period 1972–2008 supports this proposition. However, party cues also have a downside in that they may reduce politicians’ effort, particularly when politicians at different levels of government are from different parties.

Suggested Citation

  • Benny Geys & Jan Vermeir, 2014. "Party Cues In Elections Under Multilevel Governance: Theory And Evidence From Us States," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 1029-1058, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:12:y:2014:i:4:p:1029-1058
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    3. Bruno Carvalho & Claudia Custodio & Benny Geys & Diogo Mendes & Susana Peralta, 2020. "Information, Perceptions, and Electoral Behaviour of Young Voters: A Randomised Controlled Experiment," Working Papers ECARES 2020-14, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    4. Kauder, Björn & Potrafke, Niklas & Reischmann, Markus, 2016. "Do politicians reward core supporters? Evidence from a discretionary grant program," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 39-56.
    5. Daniele, Gianmarco & Galletta, Sergio & Geys, Benny, 2020. "Abandon ship? Party brands and politicians' responses to a political scandal," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 184(C).
    6. Markus Reischmann, 2016. "Empirische Studien zu Staatsverschuldung und fiskalischen Transferzahlungen," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 63, December.
    7. Estache, Antonio & Garsous, Grégoire & Seroa da Motta, Ronaldo, 2016. "Shared Mandates, Moral Hazard, and Political (Mis)alignment in a Decentralized Economy," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 98-110.
    8. Stephan Schneider & Sven Kunze, 2021. "Disastrous Discretion: Ambiguous Decision Situations Foster Political Favoritism," KOF Working papers 21-491, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    9. Levoshko, Tamila, 2017. ""Pork-Barrel"-Politik und das regionale Wirtschaftswachstum. Empirische Evidenz für die Ukraine und Polen," Working Papers 0642, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    10. Kauder, Björn & Björn, Kauder & Niklas, Potrafke & Markus, Reischmann, 2016. "Do politicians gratify core supporters? Evidence from a discretionary grant program," VfS Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145509, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. Marta Curto‐Grau & Albert Solé‐Ollé & Pilar Sorribas‐Navarro, 2017. "Does electoral competition curb party favoritism?," Working Papers 2017/04, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).

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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
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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