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Partisanship and the effectiveness of oversight

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  • Fox, Justin
  • Van Weelden, Richard

Abstract

We examine the welfare effects of partisanship in a model of checks and balances. An executive makes a policy proposal and an overseer then decides whether or not to veto the executive's proposal. Both the executive and the overseer have private information as to the correct policy to pursue, and both are motivated by the desire to appear competent. A partisan overseer is one who, in addition to seeking to promote her own reputation, cares how her decision will impact the executive's reputation. Our main result is that partisanship can improve the efficacy of an oversight regime, as the distortions caused by a partisan overseer's desire to affect the executive's reputation can offset the distortions caused by her desire to enhance her own. Our results provide a new rationale for divided government, as partisan considerations are often necessary to prevent the overseer from rubber stamping all executive proposals.

Suggested Citation

  • Fox, Justin & Van Weelden, Richard, 2010. "Partisanship and the effectiveness of oversight," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 674-687, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:94:y:2010:i:9-10:p:674-687
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Zudenkova, Galina, 2010. "Split-ticket voting: an implicit incentive approach," UC3M Working papers. Economics we1011, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
    2. César Martinelli & John Duggan, 2014. "The Political Economy of Dynamic Elections: A Survey and Some New Results," Working Papers 1403, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
    3. Zudenkova, Galina, 2011. "A political agency model of coattail voting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1652-1660.
    4. Bernecker, Andreas, 2016. "Divided we reform? Evidence from US welfare policies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 24-38.
    5. Christian Bjørnskov & Niklas Potrafke, 2012. "Political Ideology and Economic Freedom Across Canadian Provinces," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 143-166.
    6. Fox, Justin & Van Weelden, Richard, 2012. "Costly transparency," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 142-150.
    7. Elisabeth Schulte & Mike Felgenhauer, 2017. "Preselection and expert advice," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 46(3), pages 693-714, August.
    8. Andreas Bernecker, 2014. "Divided We Reform? Evidence from US Welfare Policies," CESifo Working Paper Series 4564, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Matthew C. Stephenson, 2013. "Does Separation of Powers Promote Stability and Moderation?," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(2), pages 331-368.
    10. Fu, Qiang & Li, Ming, 2014. "Reputation-concerned policy makers and institutional status quo bias," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 15-25.

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