IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ces/ceswps/_8366.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

(Dis)honest Politicians and the Value of Transparency for Campaign Promises

Author

Listed:
  • Matthias Lang
  • Simeon Andreas Dermot Schudy
  • Simeon Schudy

Abstract

Promises are prevalent in many competitive environments, but promise keeping is often difficult to observe. Do promises still offer an opportunity to honor future obligations, if promise keeping is unobservable? Focusing on campaign promises, we study the value of transparency. We show how preferences for truth-telling shape promise competition when promise keeping can(not) be observed. We identify the causal effects of transparency in a laboratory experiment. Transparency leads to less generous promises, but also to less promise breaking. Nonetheless, officials appropriate similar rents as in opaque institutions. Preferences for truth-telling and (instrumental) reputational concerns explain these results.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthias Lang & Simeon Andreas Dermot Schudy & Simeon Schudy, 2020. "(Dis)honest Politicians and the Value of Transparency for Campaign Promises," CESifo Working Paper Series 8366, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_8366
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.cesifo.org/DocDL/cesifo1_wp8366_0.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Beck, Adrian & Kerschbamer, Rudolf & Qiu, Jianying & Sutter, Matthias, 2013. "Shaping beliefs in experimental markets for expert services: Guilt aversion and the impact of promises and money-burning options," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 145-164.
    2. Gilat Levy, 2007. "Decision Making in Committees: Transparency, Reputation, and Voting Rules," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 150-168, March.
    3. Feltovich, Nick & Giovannoni, Francesco, 2015. "Selection vs. accountability: An experimental investigation of campaign promises in a moral-hazard environment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 39-51.
    4. Johannes Abeler & Daniele Nosenzo & Collin Raymond, 2019. "Preferences for Truth‐Telling," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 87(4), pages 1115-1153, July.
    5. Andrea Prat, 2005. "The Wrong Kind of Transparency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 862-877, June.
    6. Charness, Gary & Dufwenberg, Martin, 2003. "Promises & Partnership," Research Papers in Economics 2003:3, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    7. Lacker, Jeffrey M & Weinberg, John A, 1989. "Optimal Contracts under Costly State Falsification," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1345-1363, December.
    8. Torsten Persson & Gérard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 1997. "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1163-1202.
    9. Hong Geng & Arne Robert Weiss & Irenaeus Wolff, 2011. "The Limited Power of Voting to Limit Power," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 13(5), pages 695-719, October.
    10. Urs Fischbacher & Franziska Föllmi-Heusi, 2013. "Lies In Disguise—An Experimental Study On Cheating," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 525-547, June.
    11. Ederer, Florian & Stremitzer, Alexander, 2017. "Promises and expectations," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 161-178.
    12. Kiryl Khalmetski & Dirk Sliwka, 2019. "Disguising Lies—Image Concerns and Partial Lying in Cheating Games," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 79-110, November.
    13. Giovanni Maggi & Andres Rodriguez-Clare, 1995. "Costly Distortion of Information in Agency Problems," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 675-689, Winter.
    14. Marie Claire Villeval, 2019. "The way people lie in markets," Post-Print halshs-02498533, HAL.
    15. Ben Greiner, 2015. "Subject pool recruitment procedures: organizing experiments with ORSEE," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 1(1), pages 114-125, July.
    16. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Promises, Threats and Fairness," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 397-420, April.
    17. Callander, Steven & Wilkie, Simon, 2007. "Lies, damned lies, and political campaigns," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 262-286, August.
    18. Luca Corazzini & Sebastian Kube & Michel André Maréchal & Antonio Nicolò, 2014. "Elections and Deceptions: An Experimental Study on the Behavioral Effects of Democracy," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 58(3), pages 579-592, July.
    19. Uri Gneezy & Agne Kajackaite & Joel Sobel, 2018. "Lying Aversion and the Size of the Lie," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(2), pages 419-453, February.
    20. Keith J. Crocker & John Morgan, 1998. "Is Honesty the Best Policy? Curtailing Insurance Fraud through Optimal Incentive Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 355-375, April.
    21. Matthias Fahn & Hendrik Hakenes, 2019. "Teamwork as a Self-Disciplining Device," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 1-32, November.
    22. Chloe Tergiman & Marie Claire Villeval, 2019. "The Way People Lie in Markets," Working Papers halshs-02292040, HAL.
    23. B. Douglas Bernheim & Navin Kartik, 2014. "Candidates, Character, and Corruption," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 205-246, May.
    24. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
    25. Marina Agranov & Andrew Schotter, 2012. "Ignorance Is Bliss: An Experimental Study of the Use of Ambiguity and Vagueness in the Coordination Games with Asymmetric Payoffs," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 77-103, May.
    26. Andrea Mattozzi & Antonio Merlo, 2007. "The Transparency of Politics and the Quality of Politicians," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 311-315, May.
    27. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2011. "Electoral Accountability and Corruption: Evidence from the Audits of Local Governments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1274-1311, June.
    28. Navin Kartik, 2009. "Strategic Communication with Lying Costs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(4), pages 1359-1395.
    29. Sebastian Fehrler & Niall Hughes, 2018. "How Transparency Kills Information Aggregation: Theory and Experiment," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 181-209, February.
    30. Serra-Garcia, Marta & van Damme, Eric & Potters, Jan, 2011. "Hiding an inconvenient truth: Lies and vagueness," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 244-261, September.
    31. Brosig-Koch, Jeannette & Heinrich, Timo, 2018. "The role of communication content and reputation in the choice of transaction partners," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 49-66.
    32. Erin L. Krupka & Roberto A. Weber, 2013. "Identifying Social Norms Using Coordination Games: Why Does Dictator Game Sharing Vary?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 495-524, June.
    33. Scott Ashworth & Ethan Bueno de Mesquita & Amanda Friedenberg, 2017. "Accountability and Information in Elections," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 95-138, May.
    34. Rachel E. Kranton, 2016. "Identity Economics 2016: Where Do Social Distinctions and Norms Come From?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 405-409, May.
    35. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2003. "Truth or Consequences: An Experiment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(1), pages 116-130, January.
    36. Robert Thomson & Terry Royed & Elin Naurin & Joaquín Artés & Rory Costello & Laurenz Ennser‐Jedenastik & Mark Ferguson & Petia Kostadinova & Catherine Moury & François Pétry & Katrin Praprotnik, 2017. "The Fulfillment of Parties’ Election Pledges: A Comparative Study on the Impact of Power Sharing," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 61(3), pages 527-542, July.
    37. Alessandro Gavazza & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2009. "Transparency and Economic Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 1023-1048.
    38. Marie Claire Villeval, 2019. "The way people lie in markets," Post-Print halshs-02498558, HAL.
    39. Enriqueta Aragonès & Thomas Palfrey & Andrew Postlewaite, 2007. "Political Reputations and Campaign Promises," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(4), pages 846-884, June.
    40. Gary Charness & Martin Dufwenberg, 2006. "Promises and Partnership," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1579-1601, November.
    41. Rema Hanna & Shing-Yi Wang, 2017. "Dishonesty and Selection into Public Service: Evidence from India," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 262-290, August.
    42. Ignacio Esponda & Demian Pouzo, 2017. "Conditional Retrospective Voting in Large Elections," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 54-75, May.
    43. Banks, Jeffrey S., 1990. "A model of electoral competition with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 309-325, April.
    44. Jason Dana & Roberto Weber & Jason Kuang, 2007. "Exploiting moral wiggle room: experiments demonstrating an illusory preference for fairness," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 33(1), pages 67-80, October.
    45. Sebastian Barfort & Nikolaj A. Harmon & Frederik Hjorth & Asmus Leth Olsen, 2019. "Sustaining Honesty in Public Service: The Role of Selection," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 96-123, November.
    46. James Andreoni & Marta Serra-Garcia, 2019. "The Pledging Puzzle: How Can Revocable Promises Increase Charitable Giving," CESifo Working Paper Series 7965, CESifo.
    47. Navin Kartik & R. Preston McAfee, 2007. "Signaling Character in Electoral Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 852-870, June.
    48. Marie Claire Villeval, 2019. "The way people lie in markets," Post-Print halshs-02498550, HAL.
    49. Hinnosaar, Toomas, 2021. "Optimal Sequential Contests," CEPR Discussion Papers 15855, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    50. Christoph Vanberg, 2008. "Why Do People Keep Their Promises? An Experimental Test of Two Explanations -super-1," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(6), pages 1467-1480, November.
    51. Marie Claire Villeval, 2019. "The way people lie in markets," Post-Print halshs-02498545, HAL.
    52. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Prasenjit Banerjee & Vegard Iversen & Sandip Mitra & Antonio Nicolò & Kunal Sen, 2018. "Politicians and Their Promises in an Uncertain World: Evidence from a Lab-in-the-Field Experiment in India," Economics Discussion Paper Series 1806, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    2. Marie Claire Villeval, 2019. "Comportements (non) éthiques et stratégies morales," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 70(6), pages 1021-1046.
    3. Khalmetski, Kiryl & Rockenbach, Bettina & Werner, Peter, 2017. "Evasive lying in strategic communication," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 59-72.
    4. Besancenot, Damien & Vranceanu, Radu, 2020. "Profession and deception: Experimental evidence on lying behavior among business and medical students," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 175-187.
    5. Serra Garcia, M. & van Damme, E.E.C. & Potters, J.J.M., 2010. "Which Words Bond? An Experiment on Signaling in a Public Good Game (replaced by TILEC DP 2011-055)," Other publications TiSEM 5ed24dc3-e6cf-4fa4-bace-2, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    6. Serra Garcia, M. & van Damme, E.E.C. & Potters, J.J.M., 2011. "Lying About What you Know or About What you do? (replaces TILEC DP 2010-016)," Other publications TiSEM 09940b68-7bfa-44a7-bc4e-b, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    7. Walkowitz, Gari & Weiss, Arne R., 2017. "“Read my lips! (but only if I was elected)!” Experimental evidence on the effects of electoral competition on promises, shirking and trust," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 348-367.
    8. Khalmetski, Kiryl, 2019. "Evasion of guilt in expert advice," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 296-310.
    9. Serra Garcia, M. & van Damme, E.E.C. & Potters, J.J.M., 2011. "Lying About What you Know or About What you Do? (replaces CentER DP 2010-033)," Discussion Paper 2011-139, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    10. Gari Walkowitz & Arne R. Weiss, 2014. ""Read my Lips!" Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Electoral Competition on Shirking and Trust," Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series 05-07, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences.
    11. Heller, Yuval & Sturrock, David, 2020. "Promises and endogenous reneging costs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 187(C).
    12. Dato, Simon & Feess, Eberhard & Nieken, Petra, 2019. "Lying and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 193-218.
    13. Khalmetski, Kiryl, 2016. "Testing guilt aversion with an exogenous shift in beliefs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 110-119.
    14. Peeters, Ronald & Vorsatz, Marc & Walzl, Markus, 2015. "Beliefs and truth-telling: A laboratory experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 1-12.
    15. Fehrler, Sebastian & Fischbacher, Urs & Schneider, Maik T., 2016. "Who Runs? Honesty and Self-Selection into Politics," IZA Discussion Papers 10258, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Behnk, Sascha & Barreda-Tarrazona, Iván & García-Gallego, Aurora, 2014. "The role of ex post transparency in information transmission—An experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 45-64.
    17. Sanjit Dhami, 2017. "Human Ethics and Virtues: Rethinking the Homo-Economicus Model," CESifo Working Paper Series 6836, CESifo.
    18. Attanasi, Giuseppe & Rimbaud, Claire & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2019. "Embezzlement and guilt aversion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 409-429.
    19. Dwenger, Nadja & Lohse, Tim, 2019. "Do individuals successfully cover up their lies? Evidence from a compliance experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 74-87.
    20. Uyanga Turmunkh & Martijn J. van den Assem & Dennie van Dolder, 2019. "Malleable Lies: Communication and Cooperation in a High Stakes TV Game Show," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 65(10), pages 4795-4812, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    prospective voting; retrospective voting; promises; promise breaking; lying costs; preferences for truth-telling; experiment; political economy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_8366. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cesifde.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Klaus Wohlrabe (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cesifde.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.