Divisive politics and accountability
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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References listed on IDEAS
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- Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004.
"The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government,"
Economics Working Papers
0020, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
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"Separation of Powers and Political Accountability,"
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- Kiss, Áron, 2009.
"Coalition politics and accountability
[Politische Koalitionen und Verantwortung]," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2009-01, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
- John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
- Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1992.
"Incumbent Behavior: Vote Seeking, Tax Setting and Yardstick Competition,"
NBER Working Papers
4041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
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