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Efficiency, Welfare, and Political Competition

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  • Felix Bierbrauer
  • Pierre C. Boyer

Abstract

We study political competition in an environment in which voters have private information about their preferences. Our framework covers models of income taxation, public-goods provision or publicly provided private goods. Politicians are vote-share-maximizers. They can propose any policy that is resource-feasible and incentive-compatible. They can also offer special favors to subsets of the electorate. We prove two main results. First, in a symmetric equilibrium, policies are surplus-maximizing and hence first-best Pareto-efficient. Second, there is a surplus-maximizing policy that wins a majority against any welfare-maximizing policy. Thus, in our model, policies that trade off equity and efficiency considerations are politically infeasible.

Suggested Citation

  • Felix Bierbrauer & Pierre C. Boyer, 2014. "Efficiency, Welfare, and Political Competition," CESifo Working Paper Series 4814, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4814
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    File URL: https://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp4814.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Boyer, Pierre C. & Konrad, Kai A. & Roberson, Brian, 2017. "Targeted campaign competition, loyal voters, and supermajorities," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 49-62.
    2. Bowen, T. Renee & Chen, Ying & Eraslan, Hülya & Zápal, Jan, 2017. "Efficiency of flexible budgetary institutions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 148-176.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    political competition; asymmetric information; public goods; non-linear income taxation; redistributive politics;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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