IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Politicians’ Motivation, Political Culture, and Electoral Competition

  • Klaas J. Beniers
  • Robert Dur

We study electoral competition among politicians who are heterogeneous both in competence and in how much they care about (what they perceive as) the public interest relative to the private rents from being in office. We show that politicians’ incentives to behave opportunistically increase with politicians’ pay and with polarization of policy preferences. Moreover, politicians may have stronger incentives to behave opportunistically if other politicians are more likely to behave opportunistically. A political culture may therefore be selfreinforcing and multiple equilibria may arise. Lastly, we show that the mere probability that politicians care about the public interest enables opportunistic politicians to damage the reputation of their competitors. Consequently, efficient policies may be reversed.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1228.

in new window

Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1228
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Poschingerstrasse 5, 81679 Munich

Phone: +49 (89) 9224-0
Fax: +49 (89) 985369
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
  2. Robert Barro, 1973. "The control of politicians: An economic model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 19-42, March.
  3. John Roemer, 2003. "The Democratic Political Economy Of Progressive Income Taxation," Working Papers 9711, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  4. Bernard Caillaud & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Parties as Political Intermediaries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1453-1489.
  5. Francesco Caselli & Massimo Morelli, 2001. "Bad Politicians," NBER Working Papers 8532, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Kai A. Konrad, 2004. "Inverse Campaigning," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(492), pages 69-82, 01.
  7. Kenneth Rogoff & Anne Sibert, 1988. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(1), pages 1-16.
  8. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinski, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96.
  9. Klaas Beniers & Robert Dur, 2007. "Politicians’ motivation, political culture, and electoral competition," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(1), pages 29-54, February.
  10. Eric Le Borgne & Ben Lockwood, 2002. "Candidate Entry, Screening, and the Political Budget Cycle," IMF Working Papers 02/48, International Monetary Fund.
  11. Sumon Majumdar & Sharun W. Mukand, 2004. "Policy Gambles," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0407, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  12. Poutvaara, Panu & Takalo, Tuomas, 2007. "Candidate quality," Munich Reprints in Economics 19785, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  13. Austen-Smith, David & Banks, Jeffrey., 1987. "Elections, Coalitions, and Legislative Outcomes," Working Papers 643, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  14. Matthias Messner & Mattias Polborn, 2003. "Paying Politicians," Working Papers 246, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  15. Y. Stephen Chiu, 2002. "On the Feasibility of Unpopular Policies under Re-Election Concerns," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 68(4), pages 841-858, April.
  16. Andvig, J.C. & Ove Moene, K., 1988. "How Corruption May Corrupt," Memorandum 20/1988, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  17. Timothy Besley & Michael Smart, 2005. "Fiscal Restraints and Voter Welfare," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 06, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  18. Biglaiser, Gary & Mezzetti, Claudio, 1997. "Politicians' decision making with re-election concerns," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 425-447, December.
  19. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114.
  20. Eric Maskin, 2003. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," Theory workshop papers 505798000000000076, UCLA Department of Economics.
  21. Daniel Diermeier & Michael Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2005. "A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 347-373, March.
  22. Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1993. "Economic Policy, Economic Performance, and Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 27-42, March.
  23. Hans Gersbach, 2004. "The money-burning refinement: With an application to a political signalling game," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 33(1), pages 67-87, January.
  24. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1990. "The Allocation of Talent: Implications for Growth," NBER Working Papers 3530, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 1995. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote-Seeking, Tax-Setting, and Yardstick Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 25-45, March.
  26. Hillman, Arye L. & Swank, Otto, 2000. "Why political culture should be in the lexicon of economics," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 1-4, March.
  27. Steven Callander, 2008. "Political Motivations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 671-697.
  28. Caillaud, B. & Tirole, J., 1999. "Party governance and ideological bias," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 779-789, April.
  29. Dur, Robert A J, 2001. "Why Do Policy Makers Stick to Inefficient Decisions?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 107(3-4), pages 221-34, June.
  30. Jean Tirole, 1996. "A Theory of Collective Reputations (with applications to the persistence of corruption and to firm quality)," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(1), pages 1-22.
  31. Suurmond, Guido & Swank, Otto H. & Visser, Bauke, 2004. "On the bad reputation of reputational concerns," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2817-2838, December.
  32. Otto H. Swank & Robert A. J. Dur, 2001. "Why Do Policy Makers Give (Permanent) Power to Policy Advisers?," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(1), pages 73-94, 03.
  33. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
  34. Toke S. Aidt, 2003. "Economic analysis of corruption: a survey," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(491), pages F632-F652, November.
  35. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-80, June.
  36. David P. Baron & Daniel Diermeier, 2001. "Elections, Governments, and Parliaments in Proportional Representation Systems," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 933-967.
  37. Timothy Besley, 2004. "Joseph Schumpeter Lecture: Paying Politicians: Theory and Evidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 193-215, 04/05.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1228. 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: (Klaus Wohlrabe)

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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.