Capture by Threat
We analyze a simple stochastic environment in which policy makers can be threatened by "nasty" interest groups. In the absence of these groups, the policy maker's desire for reelection guarantees that good policies are implemented for every realization of the shock. When pressure groups can harass the policy maker, good policies will be chosen for only a subset of states of nature. Hence, honest and able leaders might implement bad policies, and needed reforms could be delayed. In order to make good policies more likely, the public will want to increase the cost of exerting pressure for "nasty groups" and provide rents to those in power. This last result can be used to explain the existence of political parties. They play a role resembling that of the supervisor in the literature on collusion in hierarchical agency. A rational public may also choose to ignore negative media reports on a politician's personal life and, in general, elect "strong" political leaders. The prevalence of coercive methods of influence helps explain why countries may get to be governed by "inept politicians."
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-664, August.
- Gary S. Becker, 1983. "A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:111:y:2003:i:5:p:1123-1152. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Journals Division)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.