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Lame Ducks and Divided Government: How Voters Control the Unaccountable

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  • Mark Schelker

Abstract

Electoral institutions interact through the incentives they provide to policy makers and voters. In this paper divided government is interpreted as the reaction of voters to a systematic control problem. Voters realize that term-limited executives ("lame ducks") cannot credibly commit to a moderate electoral platform due to missing reelection incentives. By dividing government control voters force a lame duck to compromise on policies with an opposing legislature. Based on data from the US states, I present evidence showing that the probability of divided government is about 8 to 10 percent higher when governors are lame ducks.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Schelker, 2011. "Lame Ducks and Divided Government: How Voters Control the Unaccountable," CESifo Working Paper Series 3523, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3523
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bernecker, Andreas, 2016. "Divided we reform? Evidence from US welfare policies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 24-38.
    2. Benny Geys & Jan Vermeir, 2014. "Party Cues In Elections Under Multilevel Governance: Theory And Evidence From Us States," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 1029-1058, August.
    3. Andreas Bernecker, 2014. "Divided We Reform? Evidence from US Welfare Policies," CESifo Working Paper Series 4564, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    divided government; lame duck; term limit;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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