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Paying politicians


  • Messner, Matthias
  • Polborn, Mattias K.


We consider a society that has to elect an official who provides a public service for the citizens. Potential candidates differ in their competence and every potential candidate has private information about his opportunity cost to perform the task of the elected official. We develop a new citizen candidate model with a unique equilibrium to analyze citizens’ candidature decisions. Under some weak additional assumptions, bad candidates run with a higher probability than good ones, and for unattractive positions, good candidates freeride on bad ones. We also analyze the comparative static effects of wage increases and cost of running on the potential candidates’ entry decisions.
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Suggested Citation

  • Messner, Matthias & Polborn, Mattias K., 2004. "Paying politicians," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2423-2445, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:88:y:2004:i:12:p:2423-2445

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    • Matthias Messner & Mattias Polborn, 2003. "Paying Politicians," Working Papers 246, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bilodeau, Marc & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "Toilet cleaning and department chairing: Volunteering a public service," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 299-308, February.
    2. Caselli, Francesco & Morelli, Massimo, 2004. "Bad politicians," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 759-782, March.
    3. Daniel Diermeier & Michael Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2005. "A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 347-373, March.
    4. Carrillo, Juan D. & Mariotti, Thomas, 2001. "Electoral competition and politician turnover," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 1-25, January.
    5. Panu Poutvaara & Tuomas Takalo, 2007. "Candidate quality," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(1), pages 7-27, February.
    6. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinski, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96.
    7. Bliss, Christopher & Nalebuff, Barry, 1984. "Dragon-slaying and ballroom dancing: The private supply of a public good," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 1-12, November.
    8. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114.
    9. Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
    10. Dutta, Bhaskar & Jackson, Matthew O. & Le Breton, Michel, 2002. "Voting by Successive Elimination and Strategic Candidacy," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 190-218, March.
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