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On the Efficiency of Partial Information in Elections

  • Jon X. Eguia
  • Antonio Nicolò

We study the relation between the electorate's information about candidates' policy platforms during an election, and the subsequent provision of inefficient local public goods (pork) by the winning candidate. More information does not lead to better outcomes. We show that the efficient outcome in which no candidate proposes to provide any inefficient good is sustained in equilibrium only if voters are not well informed. If the electorate is well informed, electoral competition leads candidates to provide inefficient pork in all equilibria. We show that this result is robust even if candidates care about efficiency.

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File URL: http://www.carloalberto.org/assets/working-papers/no.234.pdf
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Paper provided by Collegio Carlo Alberto in its series Carlo Alberto Notebooks with number 234.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:234
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  1. Fernández, Raquel & Levy, Gilat, 2008. "Diversity and redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 925-943, June.
  2. Dhami, Sanjit, 2003. "The political economy of redistribution under asymmetric information," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 2069-2103, September.
  3. Aidt, T.S. & Shvets, J., 2011. "Distributive Politics and Electoral Incentives: Evidence from Seven US State Legislatures," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1130, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  4. repec:bla:restud:v:75:y:2008:i:3:p:671-697 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Vicente Inglada & GinÊs de Rus, 1997. "Cost-benefit analysis of the high-speed train in Spain," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 175-188.
  6. Brian Roberson, 2008. "Pork-Barrel Politics, Targetable Policies, and Fiscal Federalism," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(4), pages 819-844, 06.
  7. Edward L. Glaeser & Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2004. "Strategic Extremism: Why Republicans and Democrats Divide on Religious Values," NBER Working Papers 10835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Richard D. Mckelvey & Raymond Riezman, 2013. "Seniority in Legislature," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: International Trade Agreements and Political Economy, chapter 12, pages 185-199 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
  9. Drouvelis, Michalis & Saporiti, Alejandro & Vriend, Nicolaas J., 2014. "Political motivations and electoral competition: Equilibrium analysis and experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 86-115.
  10. Prat, Andrea & Strömberg, David, 2011. "The Political Economy of Mass Media," CEPR Discussion Papers 8246, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Special Interest Politics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262571676, June.
  12. Steven Callander, 2008. "Political Motivations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 671-697.
  13. A. Lizzeri & Persico N., 1999. "Provision of Public Goods Under Alternative Electral Incentives," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 99f4, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  14. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
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