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Lame Ducks and Divided Government: How Voters Control the Unaccountable

  • Mark Schelker

Divided government is not only the outcome of moderate voters’ electoral decision to balance party ideology in government, but a more general reaction of voters to a systematic control problem. Voters realize that term limited executives (i.e., “lame ducks”) cannot be held accountable due to the missing re-election incentives. By dividing government control voters force a lame duck to compromise on policies with an opposing legislature and restrict his ability to extract rents. Based on US state data I present empirical evidence showing that the probability of divided government is 9 to 15 percent higher when governors are lame ducks.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3523.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3523
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  1. Besley, Timothy J. & Case, Anne, 2002. "Political Institutions and Policy Choices: Evidence from the United States," CEPR Discussion Papers 3498, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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