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Divisive politics and accountability

  • Kiss, Áron

The paper analyzes a political accountability game with an electorate of ‘partisan’ and ‘independent’ voters. It is shown that politicians have a strategic incentive to engage in ‘divisive politics’, that is, to force some independent voters to take sides, even if the direct electoral benefits are higher for their opponents than for themselves. By polarizing the electorate, the incumbent politician weakens the ability of independent voters to make him accountable for his policies in the common interest. Moreover, the interests of the incumbent and the opposition are aligned: the opposition also benefits from divisive politics because, in equilibrium, its election probability increases.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0176268011001339
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 28 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 208-214

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Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:28:y:2012:i:2:p:208-214
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505544

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  1. Áron Kiss, 2009. "Coalition politics and accountability," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 139(3), pages 413-428, June.
  2. Persson, Torsten & Roland, Gerard & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1163-1202, November.
  3. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 1995. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote-Seeking, Tax-Setting, and Yardstick Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 25-45, March.
  4. Eric Maskin, 2003. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," Theory workshop papers 505798000000000076, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Geys, Benny & Vermeir, Jan, 2008. "Party cues and yardstick voting," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 470-477, June.
  6. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
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