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Information, Polarization and Delegation in Democracy

  • Christian Schultz

This paper investigates the merits of different democratic institutions when politics is uni-dimensional, there is uncertainty both about the preferences of the future electorate and the future polarization of political parties, and politicians have better information about the state of the world than voters. Three types of institutions are compared: direct democracy, representative democracy, where politicians are accountable and independent agencies, where they are not. Low uncertainty about the state of the world and the future electorate’s preferences and high expected polarization make direct democracy optimal, while the opposite configuration makes representative democracy optimal. Independent agencies are optimal for intermediate values.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2003/wp-cesifo-2003-12/cesifo1_wp1104.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1104.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1104
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  1. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114, February.
  2. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini , Guido, 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," Seminar Papers 630, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  3. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1034-1054, September.
  4. Matsusaka, John G, 1992. "Economics of Direct Legislation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 541-71, May.
  5. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 2003. "Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1176-1206, 09.
  6. Kessler, Anke, 2003. "Representative versus Direct Democracy: The Role of Informational Asymmetries," CEPR Discussion Papers 3911, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
  8. Schultz, Christian, 2002. "Policy biases with voters' uncertainty about the economy and the government," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 487-506, March.
  9. Schultz, Christian, 1996. "Polarization and Inefficient Policies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 331-44, April.
  10. F. Andrew Hanssen, 2004. "Is There a Politically Optimal Level of Judicial Independence?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 712-729, June.
  11. Robert Barro, 1973. "The control of politicians: An economic model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 19-42, March.
  12. Mailath, George J, 1987. "Incentive Compatibility in Signaling Games with a Continuum of Types," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1349-65, November.
  13. Wilko Letterie & Otto H. Swank, 1998. "Economic Policy, Model Uncertainty and Elections," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 85-103, 03.
  14. Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1993. "Economic Policy, Economic Performance, and Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 27-42, March.
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