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A Dynamic theory of electoral competition

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  • Battaglini, Marco

Abstract

We present a dynamic model of electoral competition to study the determinants of fiscal policy. In each period, two parties choose electoral platforms to maximize the expected number of elected representatives. The electoral platform includes public expenditure, redistributive transfers, the tax rate and the level of public debt. Voters cast their vote after seeing the platforms and elect representatives according to a majoritarian winner take all system. The level of debt, by affecting the budget constraint in future periods, creates a strategic linkage between electoral cycles. We characterize the Markov equilibrium of this game when public debt is the state variable, and study how Pareto efficiency depends on the electoral rule and the underlying fundamentals of the economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Battaglini, Marco, 2011. "A Dynamic theory of electoral competition," CEPR Discussion Papers 8633, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8633
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
    2. Marco Battaglini & Stephen Coate, 2008. "A Dynamic Theory of Public Spending, Taxation, and Debt," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 201-236, March.
    3. Pierre Yared, 2010. "Politicians, Taxes and Debt," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(2), pages 806-840.
    4. Ruediger Bachmann & Jinhui Bai, 2013. "Politico-Economic Inequality and the Comovement of Government Purchases," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(4), pages 565-580, October.
    5. Marco Battaglini & Salvatore Nunnari & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2016. "The Dynamic Free Rider Problem: A Laboratory Study," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 268-308, November.
    6. Bard Harstad, 2012. "Climate Contracts: A Game of Emissions, Investments, Negotiations, and Renegotiations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(4), pages 1527-1557.
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    8. Duggan, John & Kalandrakis, Tasos, 2012. "Dynamic legislative policy making," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(5), pages 1653-1688.
    9. David Austen-Smith, 2000. "Redistributing Income under Proportional Representation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1235-1269, December.
    10. Jinhui H. Bai & Roger Lagunoff, 2011. "On the Faustian Dynamics of Policy and Political Power," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(1), pages 17-48.
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    12. Coughlin, Peter & Nitzan, Shmuel, 1981. "Electoral outcomes with probabilistic voting and Nash social welfare maxima," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 113-121, February.
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    14. Marco Battaglini & Salvatore Nunnari & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2010. "Political Institutions and the Dynamics of Public Investment," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 142, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    15. Daron Acemoglu & Michael Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2008. "Political Economy of Mechanisms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(3), pages 619-641, May.
    16. Kalandrakis, Anastassios, 2004. "A three-player dynamic majoritarian bargaining game," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 294-322, June.
    17. Battaglini, Marco & Nunnari, Salvatore & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2012. "Legislative Bargaining and the Dynamics of Public Investment," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 106(02), pages 407-429, May.
    18. Marco Battaglini & Salvatore Nunnari & Thomas Palfrey, 2011. "The Free Rider Problem: a Dynamic Analysis," Working Papers 1354, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Econometric Research Program..
    19. Jinhui H. Bai & Ruediger Bachmann, 2010. "Government Purchases Over the Business Cycle: the Role of Heterogeneity and Wealth Bias in Political Decision Making," 2010 Meeting Papers 621, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    20. Ruediger Bachmann & Jinhui Bai, 2013. "Politico-Economic Inequality and the Comovement of Government Purchases," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(4), pages 565-580, October.
    21. David Stromberg, 2008. "How the Electoral College Influences Campaigns and Policy: The Probability of Being Florida," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 769-807, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Cunha, Alexandre B. & Ornelas, Emanuel, 2014. "Political competition and the limits of political compromise," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 60273, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Tetsuo Ono, 2014. "Growth, Unemployment, and Fiscal Policy: A Political Economy Analysis," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 14-30-Rev., Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP), revised Sep 2015.
    3. Dario Debowizc & Alejandro Saporiti & Yizhi Wang, 2016. "Redistributive Politics, Power Sharing and Fairness," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 1604, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    4. César Martinelli & John Duggan, 2014. "The Political Economy of Dynamic Elections: A Survey and Some New Results," Working Papers 1403, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
    5. repec:eee:macchp:v2-2599 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Alberto Alesina & Andrea Passalacqua, 2015. "The Political Economy of Government Debt," NBER Working Papers 21821, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Barseghyan, Levon & Battaglini, Marco, 2016. "Political economy of debt and growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 36-51.
    8. Cunha, Alexandre B. & Ornelas, Emanuel, 2017. "The Limits of Political Compromise: Debt Ceilings and Political Turnover," CEPR Discussion Papers 11945, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Jean Guillaume Forand & John Duggan, 2013. "Markovian Elections," Working Papers 1305, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2013.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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