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"Read my Lips!" Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Electoral Competition on Shirking and Trust

Listed author(s):
  • Gari Walkowitz

    (University of Cologne)

  • Arne R. Weiss

    (University of Cologne)

Registered author(s):

    We experimentally test whether electoral competition reduces shirking behavior by office-holders and increases citizens' trust. We hypothesize that competition increases campaign promises by office-holders, who feel committed to what they promise. Using a novel repeated multi-person investment-game with periodic elections, we indeed find that elected office-holders shirk less (i.e., they back-transfer more to citizens relative to investments) as compared to randomly appointed office-holders. Surprisingly, this effect cannot be explained through competition inflating the level of electoral promises. Nevertheless, promises do matter; in fact, they carry greater weight for the behavior of elected office-holders than for their randomly appointed counterparts. Elections also have a positive short-term effect on citizens' trust by cutting off both low and excessively high promises.

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    File URL: http://www.cgs.uni-koeln.de/fileadmin/wiso_fak/cgs/pdf/working_paper/cgswp_05-07.pdf
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    Paper provided by Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences in its series Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series with number 05-07.

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    Date of creation: 30 Nov 2014
    Handle: RePEc:cgr:cgsser:05-07
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    Web page: http://www.cgs.uni-koeln.de/
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