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Elected versus Appointed Policy Makers: Evidence from City Treasurers

  • Alexander Whalley

This paper investigates whether the method of selecting public officials affects policy making. I compare the policy choices of bureaucrat city treasurers and politician city treasurers, who are selected and held accountable in very different ways. The analysis draws on rich data from California to examine whether cities with appointed or elected city treasurers pay lower costs to borrow. The results demonstrate that having appointive treasurers reduces a city’s cost of borrowing by 19–31 percent. Holding officials directly accountable to voters can result in lower levels of performance in complex policy areas.

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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/668696
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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/668696
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 56 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 39 - 81

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/668696
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/

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  1. List, John & Sturm, Daniel M, 2004. "How Elections Matter: Theory and Evidence from Environmental Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 4489, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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