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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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    Cited by:

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    3. Zudenkova, Galina, 2010. "Split-ticket voting: an implicit incentive approach," UC3M Working papers. Economics we1011, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
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    8. Andreas Bernecker, 2014. "Divided We Reform? Evidence from US Welfare Policies," CESifo Working Paper Series 4564, CESifo.
    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. Bernecker, Andreas, 2016. "Divided we reform? Evidence from US welfare policies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 24-38.
    11. 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.
    12. Fox, Justin & Van Weelden, Richard, 2012. "Costly transparency," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 142-150.
    13. Andreas Grunewald & Emanuel Hansen & Gert Pönitzsch, 2020. "Political selection and the optimal concentration of political power," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 70(1), pages 273-311, July.

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