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Why Only Nixon Could Go to China

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  • Cowen, Tyler
  • Sutter, Daniel

Abstract

Right-wing politicians sometimes can implement policies that left-wing politicians cannot, and vice versa. Contemporary wisdom has it that 'only Nixon could have gone to China.' The authors develop a model to explain this phenomenon. A policy issue could depend on information, on which every one could potentially agree on policy, or on values, on which agreement is impossible. Politicians, who value both reelection and policy outcomes, realize the nature of the issue, whereas voters do not. Only a right-wing president can credibly signal the desirability of a left-wing course of action. The Nixon paradox can hold then if citizens vote retrospectively on the issue. Copyright 1998 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Cowen, Tyler & Sutter, Daniel, 1998. "Why Only Nixon Could Go to China," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 97(4), pages 605-615, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:97:y:1998:i:4:p:605-15
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Candidate selection in an “only Nixon can go to China” world
      by Tyler Cowen in Marginal Revolution on 2013-10-30 16:28:42

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Alan B. Krueger, 1999. "From Bismarck to Maastricht: The March to European Union and the Labor Compact," Working Papers 803, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    2. Alan Krueger, 1999. "From Bismarck to Maastricht: The March to European Union and the Labor Compact," Working Papers 803, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    3. Lodewijk Smets & Stephen Knack & Nadia Molenaers, 2013. "Political ideology, quality at entry and the success of economic reform programs," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 447-476, December.
    4. Krueger, Alan B., 2000. "From Bismarck to Maastricht: The March to European Union and the Labor Compact1," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 117-134, March.
    5. Xie, Yinxi & Xie, Yang, 2017. "Machiavellian experimentation," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 685-711.
    6. Lydia Mechtenberg, 2007. "Ideology Without Ideologists," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2007-021, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    7. Sutter, Daniel, 1999. "Discretionary policy implementation and reform," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 249-262, July.

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