IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cla/levarc/661465000000001179.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A Political Theory of Populism

Author

Listed:
  • Daron Acemoglu
  • Georgy Egorov
  • Konstantin Sonin

Abstract

Populism is described as an ideology which contrasts the interests of the people and the elite, and calls for defense of the interests of the former. In reality, populist politicians are often seen conducting macroeconomic policies that can be hardly justified by the benefits they provide to the very poorest; in many instances, these policies were far to the left of the majority's preference. In this paper, we explain why even a moderate politician seeking reelection may choose leftist policies. The leftist bias is higher when the polarization is high, or when the political class is predominantly occupied by the rich elite. We extend the model to study the environment where some politicians are corrupt and some are not and reach similar conclusions.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Daron Acemoglu & Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2011. "A Political Theory of Populism," Levine's Working Paper Archive 661465000000001179, David K. Levine.
  • Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:661465000000001179
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.dklevine.com/archive/refs4661465000000001179.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2007. "Bureaucrats or Politicians? Part I: A Single Policy Task," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 169-179, March.
    2. Caselli, Francesco & Morelli, Massimo, 2004. "Bad politicians," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 759-782, March.
    3. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 2008. "Bureaucrats or politicians? Part II: Multiple policy tasks," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 426-447, April.
    4. Eliana La Ferrara & Robert H. Bates, 2001. "Political Competition in Weak States," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(2), pages 159-184, July.
    5. Daniel Diermeier & Michael Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2005. "A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 347-373, March.
    6. Messner, Matthias & Polborn, Mattias K., 2004. "Paying politicians," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2423-2445, December.
      • Matthias Messner & Mattias Polborn, 2003. "Paying Politicians," Working Papers 246, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    7. Rudiger Dornbusch & Sebastian Edwards, 1991. "The Macroeconomics of Populism in Latin America," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number dorn91-1, September.
    8. Schultz, Christian, 2008. "Information, polarization and term length in democracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1078-1091, June.
    9. Callander, Steven & Wilkie, Simon, 2007. "Lies, damned lies, and political campaigns," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 262-286, August.
    10. David C. Wyld, 2010. "ASecond Life for organizations?: managing in the new, virtual world," Management Research Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 33(6), pages 529-562, May.
    11. Acemoglu, Daron, 2003. "Why not a political Coase theorem? Social conflict, commitment, and politics," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 620-652, December.
    12. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2011. "Emergence And Persistence Of Inefficient States," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 177-208, April.
    13. Binswanger, J. & Prüfer, J., 2009. "Imperfect Information, Democracy, and Populism," Other publications TiSEM cd6570a3-6827-4060-8fd6-5, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    14. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinski, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96.
    15. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114.
    16. Alessandro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, 2005. "A Drawback Of Electoral Competition," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(6), pages 1318-1348, December.
    17. Dani Rodrik, 1996. "Understanding Economic Policy Reform," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 9-41, March.
    18. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
    19. Rudiger Dornbusch & Sebastian Edwards, 1991. "Introduction to "The Macroeconomics of Populism in Latin America"," NBER Chapters, in: The Macroeconomics of Populism in Latin America, pages 1-4, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Harrington Jr. , Joseph E., 1993. "The Impact of Reelection Pressures on the Fulfillment of Campaign Promises," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 71-97, January.
    21. Daron Acemoglu & Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2010. "Political Selection and Persistence of Bad Governments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1511-1575.
    22. Navin Kartik & R. Preston McAfee, 2007. "Signaling Character in Electoral Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 852-870, June.
    23. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1989. "Social Conflict and Populist Policies in Latin America," NBER Working Papers 2897, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Wittman, Donald A., 1973. "Parties as Utility Maximizers," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 67(2), pages 490-498, 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. Ferraz, Claudio & Finan, Frederico S., 2008. "Motivating Politicians: The Impacts of Monetary Incentives on Quality and Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 3411, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Mattozzi, Andrea & Merlo, Antonio, 2008. "Political careers or career politicians?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 597-608, April.
    3. Galasso, Vincenzo & Nannicini, Tommaso, 2011. "Competing on Good Politicians," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 105(1), pages 79-99, February.
    4. Mattozzi, Andrea & Merlo, Antonio, 2015. "Mediocracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 32-44.
    5. Antonio Merlo, 2005. "Whither Political Economy? Theories, Facts and Issues," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-033, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Dec 2005.
    6. Daron Acemoglu & Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2010. "Political Selection and Persistence of Bad Governments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1511-1575.
    7. Kotera, Go & Mizuno, Nobuhiro & Okada, Keisuke & Samreth, Sovannroeun, 2015. "Ethnic diversity, democracy, and health: Theory and evidence," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 353-376.
    8. Timothy Besley, 2004. "Joseph Schumpeter Lecture: Paying Politicians: Theory and Evidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 193-215, 04/05.
    9. Andrea Mattozzi & A. Merlo, 2007. "Political Careers or Career Politicians?," Levine's Bibliography 786969000000001713, UCLA Department of Economics.
    10. Markussen, Thomas & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2017. "Choosing a public-spirited leader: An experimental investigation of political selection," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 204-218.
    11. Tella, Rafael Di & Rotemberg, Julio J., 2018. "Populism and the return of the “Paranoid Style”: Some evidence and a simple model of demand for incompetence as insurance against elite betrayal," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 988-1005.
    12. Braendle, Thomas, 2013. "Do Institutions Affect Citizens' Selection into Politics?," Working papers 2013/04, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    13. Panu Poutvaara & Tuomas Takalo, 2007. "Candidate quality," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(1), pages 7-27, February.
    14. Klaas Beniers & Robert Dur, 2007. "Politicians’ motivation, political culture, and electoral competition," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(1), pages 29-54, February.
    15. Yasushi Asako, 2015. "Partially Binding Platforms: Campaign Promises vis-à-vis Cost of Betrayal," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 66(3), pages 322-353, September.
    16. Andrea Mattozzi & Antonio Merlo, 2005. "Political Careers or Career Politicians? Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 07-009, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 07 Feb 2007.
    17. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 2019. "Pandering and pork-barrel politics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 176(C), pages 79-93.
    18. Caselli, Francesco & Morelli, Massimo, 2004. "Bad politicians," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 759-782, March.
    19. Andreas Peichl & Nico Pestel & Sebastian Siegloch, 2013. "The politicians’ wage gap: insights from German members of parliament," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(3), pages 653-676, September.
    20. Gavoille, Nicolas, 2018. "Who are the ‘ghost’ MPs? Evidence from the French parliament," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 134-148.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C71 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Cooperative Games
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions

    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:cla:levarc:661465000000001179. 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: http://www.dklevine.com/ .

    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: David K. Levine (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.dklevine.com/ .

    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.