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Reelection threshold contracts in politics

  • Hans Gersbach


  • Verena Liessem


When politicians are provided with insufficient incentives by the democratic election mechanism, we show that social welfare can be improved by threshold contracts. A threshold incentive contract stipulates a performance level which a politican must reach in order to have the right to stand for reelection. Read my lips would turn into read my contracts. Reelection thresholds can be offered by politicians during campaigns and do not impair the liberal principle of free and anonymous elections in democracies.

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Article provided by Springer & The Society for Social Choice and Welfare in its journal Social Choice and Welfare.

Volume (Year): 31 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (August)
Pages: 233-255

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Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:31:y:2008:i:2:p:233-255
DOI: 10.1007/s00355-007-0277-5
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  1. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1993. "Designing institutions for monetary stability," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 53-84, December.
  2. Svensson, Lars E O, 1997. "Optimal Inflation Targets, "Conservative" Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 98-114, March.
  3. Banks, Jeffrey S. & Sundaram, Rangarajan K., 1998. "Optimal Retention in Agency Problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 293-323, October.
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  5. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
  6. Gersbach, Hans & Liessem, Verena, 2008. "Incentive contracts and elections for politicians with multi-task problems," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 401-411, November.
  7. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-67, March.
  8. Gersbach, Hans & Müller, Markus, 2006. "Elections, Contracts and Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 5717, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Gersbach, Hans & Schneider, Maik T., 2012. "Tax contracts and elections," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(7), pages 1461-1479.
  10. Lockwood, Ben, 1997. "State-Contingent Inflation Contracts and Unemployment Persistence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(3), pages 286-99, August.
  11. Gersbach, Hans, 2007. "Vote-share Contracts and Democracy," CEPR Discussion Papers 6497, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Torsten Persson & Gérard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 1997. "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1163-1202.
  13. Svensson, Jakob, 1998. "Investment, property rights and political instability: Theory and evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(7), pages 1317-1341, July.
  14. Hahn, Volker, 2009. "Reciprocity and voting," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 467-480, November.
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