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Political Motivations


  • Steven Callander


Are politicians motivated by policy outcomes or by the perks of office? To shed light on this important question, I develop a simple model of two candidate electoral competitions in which candidates may be either office or policy motivated. In a second departure from standard formulations, the model incorporates both campaign and post-election behaviour of candidates. In this environment, I find that office-motivated candidates are favoured in electoral competition but that their advantage is limited by the electoral mechanism itself and policy-motivated candidates win a significant fraction of elections. More importantly, I show that the competitive interaction among candidates of different motivations affects the incentives of all candidates—both office and policy motivated—and that this competition affects policy outcomes. I also extend the model to explore the decision of citizens to enter politics and show that in all equilibria policy-motivated citizens compose a majority of the candidate pool. Copyright 2008, Wiley-Blackwell.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven Callander, 2008. "Political Motivations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 671-697.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:75:y:2008:i:3:p:671-697

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