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Businessman Candidates

Author

Listed:
  • Gehlbach, Scott
  • Sonin, Konstantin
  • Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina

Abstract

In immature democracies, businessmen run for public office to gain direct control over policy; in mature democracies they typically rely on other means of influence. We develop a simple model to show that businessmen run for office only when two conditions hold. First, as in many immature democracies, institutions that make reneging on campaign promises costly must be poorly developed. In such environments, office holders have monopoly power that can be used to extract rents, and businessmen run to capture those rents. Second, the returns to businessmen from policy influence must not be too large, as otherwise high rents from holding office draw professional politicians into the race, crowding out businessmen candidates. Analysis of data on Russian gubernatorial elections supports these predictions. Businessman candidates are less likely 1) in regions with high media freedom and government transparency, institutions that raise the cost of reneging on campaign promises, and 2) in regions where returns to policy influence (measured by regional resource abundance) are large, but only where media are unfree and government nontransparent.

Suggested Citation

  • Gehlbach, Scott & Sonin, Konstantin & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2006. "Businessman Candidates," CEPR Discussion Papers 5985, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5985
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Stefano Gagliarducci & Tommaso Nannicini & Paolo Naticchioni, 2007. "Outside Income and Moral Hazard: The Elusive Quest for Good Politicians," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-164, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    2. 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.
    3. Jochimsen, Beate & Thomasius, Sebastian, 2014. "The perfect finance minister: Whom to appoint as finance minister to balance the budget," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 390-408.
    4. Shurchkov, Olga, 2012. "New elites and their influence on entrepreneurial activity in Russia," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 240-255.
    5. Rohini Pande & Timothy Besley & Vijayendra Rao, 2005. "Political Selection and the Quality of Evidence: Evidence form South India," Working Papers id:261, eSocialSciences.
    6. Serguey Braguinsky, 2009. "Postcommunist Oligarchs in Russia: Quantitative Analysis," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(2), pages 307-349, May.
    7. Braendle, Thomas & Stutzer, Alois, 2016. "Selection of public servants into politics," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 696-719.
    8. Pande, Rohini, 2008. "Understanding Political Corruption in Low Income Countries," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
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    12. Ulrich Matter & Alois Stutzer, 2015. "The Role of Lawyer-Legislators in Shaping the Law: Evidence from Voting on Tort Reforms," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(2), pages 357-384.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    businessman candidates; government transparency; immature democracy; media freedom; political connections; strength of political parties;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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