IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Shirking and sorting in a political market with finite-lived politicians

  • John Lott
  • W. Reed

This paper analyzes principal-agent slack in the context of a political market composed of voters, challengers, and incumbents. The introduction of a last period (via finite-livedness) in combination with voters' imperfect information about politicians' preferences causes time-varying shirking behavior on the part of politicians. Political markets eventually sort out those politicians with significantly deviant policy preferences, potentially providing a solution to the last period problem and enabling politicians to make credible commitments. In the extreme, sorting can insure that it is not worthwhile for potential shirkers to run for office. A systematic relationship between political shirking and number of terms in office may exist, and depends on how quickly sorting takes place. We show that evidence of little if any shirking is quite consistent with politicians having diverse and strongly held policy preferences. In addition, if sorting is a significant feature of political markets, cross-sectional studies will tend to oversample little- and non-shirking politicians compared to longitudinal studies. Reinterpretations of existing empirical work are also discussed. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/BF00116763
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 61 (1989)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 75-96

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:61:y:1989:i:1:p:75-96
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Crain, W Mark & Leavens, Donald R & Tollison, Robert D, 1986. "Final Voting in Legislatures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 833-41, September.
  2. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
  3. Dougan, William R & Munger, Michael C, 1989. "The Rationality of Ideology," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 119-42, April.
  4. George Stigler, 1972. "Economic competition and political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 91-106, September.
  5. Peltzman, Sam, 1985. "An Economic Interpretation of the History of Congressional Voting in the Twentieth Century," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 656-75, September.
  6. Gertrud Fremling & John Lott, 1988. "Televising legislatures: Some thoughts on whether politicians are search goods," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 73-78, July.
  7. Benjamin Bental & Uri Ben-Zion, 1975. "Political contribution and policy — Some extensions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 1-12, December.
  8. Alberto Alesina, 1987. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt in a Democracy," UCLA Economics Working Papers 435, UCLA Department of Economics.
  9. John Lott, 1986. "Brand names and barriers to entry in political markets," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 51(1), pages 87-92, January.
  10. John Lott, 1987. "Political cheating," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(2), pages 169-186, January.
  11. Adams, James D & Kenny, Lawrence W, 1986. "Optimal Tenure of Elected Public Officials," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 303-28, October.
  12. Kau, James B & Rubin, Paul H, 1979. "Self-Interest, Ideology, and Logrolling in Congressional Voting," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 365-84, October.
  13. Peter Coughlin, 1986. "Elections and income redistribution," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 27-91, January.
  14. Laband, David N & Lentz, Bernard F, 1985. "Favorite Sons: Intergenerational Wealth Transfers among Politicians," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 23(3), pages 395-414, July.
  15. Nelson, Douglas & Silberberg, Eugene, 1987. "Ideology and Legislator Shirking," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(1), pages 15-25, January.
  16. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
  17. Kalt, Joseph P & Zupan, Mark A, 1984. "Capture and Ideology in the Economic Theory of Politics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 279-300, June.
  18. Robert Barro, 1973. "The control of politicians: An economic model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 19-42, March.
  19. Nelson, Phillip, 1976. "Political Information," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 315-36, August.
  20. Peltzman, Sam, 1984. "Constituent Interest and Congressional Voting," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 181-210, April.
  21. Wittman, Donald, 1977. "Candidates with policy preferences: A dynamic model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 180-189, February.
  22. Ryan Amacher & William Boyes, 1978. "Cycles in senatorial voting behavior: implications for the optimal frequency of elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 5-13, January.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:61:y:1989:i:1:p:75-96. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.