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Curbing Power or Progress? Governing with an Opposition Veto

  • Albrecht Morgenstern
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    Veto institutions are often dominated by government opponents with rival electoral and policy interests (e.g. \divided government"). I investigate the tradeoff between policy control and policy blockade when both the government and the veto party may cater to opposing special interests. The value of an opposition veto depends on whether electoral accountability can discipline bad type politicians. When this is not the case, a veto is beneficial only if the government's special interests are expected to be harmful. In contrast, when bad types care about (re-)election, a veto always increases expected welfare, providing a new rationale for the frequent occurrence of "divided government". Without policy rivalry, an opposition veto fares even better.

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    File URL: http://www.wiwi.uni-bonn.de/bgsepapers/bonedp/bgse10_2004.pdf
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    Paper provided by University of Bonn, Germany in its series Bonn Econ Discussion Papers with number bgse10_2004.

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    Length: 42
    Date of creation: Jun 2004
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:bon:bonedp:bgse10_2004
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Bonn Graduate School of Economics, University of Bonn, Adenauerallee 24 - 26, 53113 Bonn, Germany
    Fax: +49 228 73 6884
    Web page: http://www.bgse.uni-bonn.de

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    1. Alesina, Alberto & Drazen, Allan, 1991. "Why Are Stabilizations Delayed?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1170-88, December.
    2. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, . "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," Working Papers 100, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    3. Coate, Stephen & Morris, Stephen, 1995. "On the Form of Transfers in Special Interests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1210-35, December.
    4. Alesina, Alberto & Rosenthal, Howard, 1996. "A Theory of Divided Government," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1311-41, November.
    5. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
    6. Ernesto Dal Bo & Rafael Di Tella, 2003. "Capture by Threat," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(5), pages 1123-1152, October.
    7. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661314, June.
    8. Caillaud, B. & Tirole, J., 1999. "Party governance and ideological bias," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 779-789, April.
    9. Matthews, Steven A, 1989. "Veto Threats: Rhetoric in a Bargaining Game," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 347-69, May.
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