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The Drawbacks of Electoral Competition

  • Aless
  • ro Lizzeri
  • Nicola Persico

We examine the effect of the number of candidates and the impact of ideology on the efficiency of the electoral process. We show that the tendency to focus on policies that provide particularistic benefits increases with the number of candidates to the expense of policies that benefit the population at large. Thus, the efficiency of policies provided in an electoral equilibrium worsens when the number of candidates increases. We next show that partisan voters are disadvantaged in the process of redistributive politics, and that the larger the fraction of voters who vote ideologically, the less efficient the political process. This is because electoral competition focuses on swing voters, increasing the values of policies with targetable benefits.

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Paper provided by Penn Economics Department in its series Penn CARESS Working Papers with number db8edf1dce2468924aca9e50160e7919.

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Handle: RePEc:cla:penntw:db8edf1dce2468924aca9e50160e7919
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  1. Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William & Alesina, Alberto, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," Scholarly Articles 4551797, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1998. "Sources of Inefficiency in a Representative Democracy: A Dynamic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 139-56, March.
  3. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "The size and scope of government:: Comparative politics with rational politicians," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 699-735, April.
  4. Palfrey, Thomas R, 1984. "Spatial Equilibrium with Entry," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 139-56, January.
  5. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . ""An Economic Model of Representative Democracy''," CARESS Working Papres 95-02, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  6. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  7. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:111:y:1996:i:1:p:65-96 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  9. Alessro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, . "The Provision of Public Goods Under Alternative Electoral Incentives," Penn CARESS Working Papers b96440ba0bfa06ca550ac40aa, Penn Economics Department.
  10. Coate, Stephen & Morris, Stephen, 1995. "On the Form of Transfers in Special Interests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1210-35, December.
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