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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. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 2008. "Bureaucrats or politicians? Part II: Multiple policy tasks," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 426-447, April.
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  11. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," Economics Working Papers 0020, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  12. Stephen Coate & Timothy Besley, 2000. "Elected versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7579, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Fernando Ferreira & Joseph Gyourko, 2009. "Do Political Parties Matter? Evidence from U.S. Cities-super-," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(1), pages 399-422, February.
  14. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1993. "Does Electoral Accountability Affect Economic Policy Choices? Evidence from Gubernatorial Term Limits," NBER Working Papers 4575, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Stephen Coate & Brian Knight, 2011. "Government Form and Public Spending: Theory and Evidence from US Municipalities," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 82-112, August.
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