Centralization and political accountability
In this paper we abstract from the usual gains and costs of decentralization (e.g. preference matching, spillovers and economies of scale). Instead we compare the political accountability of decentralized governments relative to centralized ones when there is a risk of "bad" governance. We study both the selection and incentive effects of accountability. A key aspect of centralization is to make the politician answerable to multiple constituencies subject to a common budget constraint. Our main findings are that (a) when politicians differ in competence, decentralization unambiguously dominates; and (b) when politicians differ in honesty, decentralization and centralization have conflicting accountability effects (when one provides better discipline, the other gives better selection). The analysis then identifies the circumstances under which centralization may increase voter welfare. The more general lesson that we can draw is that different institutional forms give rise to different information to the voters on which electoral accountability can be based. Therefore they differ on how effective elections can be in disciplining and selecting policymakers.
|Date of creation:||00 Jul 2004|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Voie du Roman Pays 34, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium)|
Fax: +32 10474304
Web page: http://www.uclouvain.be/core
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1997.
"On the Number and Size of Nations,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1027-1056.
- Besley, Timothy J. & Burgess, Robin, 2001.
"The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
2721, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2002. "The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1415-1451.
- Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2000. "The political economy of government responsiveness: theory and evidence from India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2308, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2000. "The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 28, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
- Paul Belleflamme & Jean Hindriks, 2005.
"Yardstick competition and political agency problems,"
Social Choice and Welfare,
Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 24(1), pages 155-169, 09.
- Paul Belleflamme & Jean Hindriks, 2001. "Yardstick Competition and Political Agency Problems," Working Papers 441, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
- BELLEFLAMME, Paul & HINDRIKS, Jean, 2002. "Yardstick competition and political agency problems," CORE Discussion Papers 2002029, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2004052. 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: (Alain GILLIS)
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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.