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Joseph Schumpeter Lecture: Paying Politicians: Theory and Evidence

  • Timothy Besley

    (London School of Economics,)

This paper looks at the theory behind the idea that paying politicians better will improve their performance. The paper lays out a political agency model with adverse selection and moral hazard where politicians are subject to two-period term limits. This model provides a number of predictions about how the pay of politicians affects agency problems. We also consider what happens when the pool of politicians is endogenous. The main ideas in the model are confronted with data on U.S. governors. (JEL: D72, J33) Copyright (c) 2004 The European Economic Association.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 2 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (04/05)
Pages: 193-215

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:2:y:2004:i:2-3:p:193-215
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  1. Kenneth Rogoff, 1987. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," NBER Working Papers 2428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Panu Poutvaara & Tuomas Takalo, 2007. "Candidate quality," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 7-27, February.
  3. Di Tella, Rafael & Fisman, Raymond, 2004. "Are Politicians Really Paid Like Bureaucrats?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(2), pages 477-513, October.
  4. Daniel Diermeier & Michael Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2004. "A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers," Discussion Papers 1387, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. Holmstrom, Bengt, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 169-82, January.
  6. Francesco Caselli & Massimo Morelli, 2000. "Bad politicians," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 134, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  7. Besley, Timothy & McLaren, John, 1993. "Taxes and Bribery: The Role of Wage Incentives," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(416), pages 119-41, January.
  8. Michael Smart & Daniel Sturm, 2004. "Term limits and electoral accountability," Economic History Working Papers 20283, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  9. Matthias Messner & Mattias Polborn, 2003. "Paying Politicians," Working Papers 246, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  10. Carrillo, Juan D. & Mariotti, Thomas, 2001. "Electoral competition and politician turnover," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 1-25, January.
  11. Besley, Timothy J. & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2004. "Competition and Incentives with Motivated Agents," CEPR Discussion Papers 4641, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 2003. "Political Institutions and Policy Choices: Evidence from the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 7-73, March.
  13. Besley, Timothy & Smart, Michael, 2007. "Fiscal restraints and voter welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 755-773, April.
  14. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . ""An Economic Model of Representative Democracy''," CARESS Working Papres 95-02, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  15. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  16. Persson, Torsten & Roland, Gerard & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1163-1202, November.
  17. Gersbach, Hans & Liessem, Verena, 2003. "Incentive Contracts and Elections for Politicians with Multi-Task Problems," CEPR Discussion Papers 4075, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Avinash Dixit, 2002. "# Incentives and Organizations in the Public Sector: An Interpretative Review," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(4), pages 696-727.
  19. Robert Barro, 1973. "The control of politicians: An economic model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 19-42, March.
  20. Gersbach, Hans, 2004. "Competition of Politicians for Wages and Office," CEPR Discussion Papers 4261, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
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