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Yardstick competition and political agency problems


  • HINDRIKS, Jean


This paper analyzes the role of yardstick competition for improving political decisions. We examine how performance comparisons across jurisdictions affect the agency problem resulting from uncertainty about politicians (adverse selection) and their policies (moral hazard). We study two forms of inefficiency: the provision of wasteful project and the failure to provide useful project .We find a general neutrality result: yardstick competition does not affect the likelihood of fully efficient equilibria for any correlation (with a discontinuity at perfect correlation). We also find that yardstick competition has no effect on the likelihood of inefficient equilibria in which politicians refrain from implementing valuable projects. However, performance comparisons makes it less likely to have an equilibrium where bad politicians in both jurisdictions use wasteful projects as inefficient transfer forms.

Suggested Citation

  • BELLEFLAMME, Paul & HINDRIKS, Jean, 2002. "Yardstick competition and political agency problems," CORE Discussion Papers 2002029, Universit√© catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2002029

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 2000. "Redistributive Public Employment," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 219-241, September.
    2. Brennan,Geoffrey & Buchanan,James M., 2006. "The Power to Tax," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521027922, March.
    3. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
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    More about this item


    electoral accountability; Yardstick competition;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue


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