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Strategic delegation in a legislative bargaining model with pork and public goods

  • Christiansen, Nels
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    This paper examines the incentives of voters to appoint legislators with different preferences from their own. The paper adopts an underlying legislative bargaining model proposed by Volden and Wiseman (2007) in which legislators with heterogeneous preferences divide a fixed budget between a public good and pork projects (local public goods). We show that voters have an incentive to strategically delegate to affect how the budget is divided at the legislative level. When voters' preferences for pork are not too strong, the incentives for strategic delegation exist to appoint representatives who will direct more money to the public good and not to pork projects. This generally results in at least as many representatives as districts that favor the public good. The comparative statics predict that when strategic delegation occurs, increasing the size of the legislature increases the fraction of the budget spent on the public good.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047272712001090
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

    Volume (Year): 97 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 217-229

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:97:y:2013:i:c:p:217-229
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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    1. Marco Battaglini & Steve Coate, 2006. "A Dynamic Theory of Public Spending, Taxation and Debt," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001094, UCLA Department of Economics.
    2. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2003. "Centralized versus decentralized provision of local public goods: a political economy approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2611-2637, December.
    3. Robert Dur & Hein Roelfsema, 2005. "Why does centralisation fail to internalise policy externalities?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 122(3), pages 395-416, March.
    4. Segendorff, Bjorn, 1998. "Delegation and Threat in Bargaining," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 266-283, May.
    5. Fershtman, Chaim & Judd, Kenneth L & Kalai, Ehud, 1991. "Observable Contracts: Strategic Delegation and Cooperation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 32(3), pages 551-59, August.
    6. Harstad, Bård, 2010. "Strategic delegation and voting rules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 102-113, February.
    7. Nicola Persico & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2001. "The Provision of Public Goods under Alternative Electoral Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 225-239, March.
    8. Helmut Bester & Jozsef Sakovics, 2000. "Delegated Bargaining and Renegotiation," ESE Discussion Papers 61, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
    9. Chari, V V & Jones, Larry E & Marimon, Ramon, 1997. "The Economics of Split-Ticket Voting in Representative Democracies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 957-76, December.
    10. Leblanc, William & Snyder, James Jr. & Tripathi, Micky, 2000. "Majority-rule bargaining and the under provision of public investment goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 21-47, January.
    11. Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-64, August.
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