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Regulation in a Political Economy: An explanation of limited commitment of governments in the context of the ratchet effect


  • Roland Strausz



This paper offers an explanation why governments have limited commitment and are susceptible to the ratchet effect. It analyzes a two period model in which a government with full commitment regulates a firm. Each period is predated by an election. If contracts of previous governments tie newly elected governments, governments end up being unable to resist renegotiation. If previous contracts do not bind new governments and taxation has a crowding-out effect, a ratchet effect occurs which is similar, but not identical to the standard ratchet effect which is due to intertemporal non-commitment. Surprisingly, social welfare may be higher in the latter case.

Suggested Citation

  • Roland Strausz, "undated". "Regulation in a Political Economy: An explanation of limited commitment of governments in the context of the ratchet effect," Papers 002, Departmental Working Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:bef:lsbest:002

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jean Tirole, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts: Where Do We Stand?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 741-782, July.
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    More about this item


    political economy; endogenous limited commitment; renegotiation; short run contracts;

    JEL classification:

    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • K20 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - General

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