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Benchmarking Politicians


  • Estache, Antonio
  • Foucart, Renaud


We study a political system in which voters can optimally pick between political platforms, but cannot screen the quality of individual politicians associated with these platforms. A bad individual achievement can correspond to either incompetence (adverse selection) or corruption (moral hazard). Information could improve, if independent experts assess achievements as compared to commitments, allowing independent judges to investigate possible corruption. We find that while good experts are always beneficial as they increase transparency, the impact of the quality of judges is ambiguous. Above a threshold, with risk-averse social planners, good judges increase the incentive-compatible punishment of politicians, at the cost of possible judiciary mistakes.

Suggested Citation

  • Estache, Antonio & Foucart, Renaud, 2013. "Benchmarking Politicians," CEPR Discussion Papers 9467, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9467

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. AlÌcia Adserý, 2003. "Are You Being Served? Political Accountability and Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 445-490, October.
    2. Panu Poutvaara & Tuomas Takalo, 2007. "Candidate quality," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(1), pages 7-27, February.
    3. Kotakorpi, Kaisa & Poutvaara, Panu, 2011. "Pay for politicians and candidate selection: An empirical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 877-885, August.
    4. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 2003. "Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1176-1206, September.
    5. Smart, Michael & Sturm, Daniel M., 2013. "Term limits and electoral accountability," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 93-102.
    6. Johannes Becker & Andreas Peichl & Johannes Rincke, 2009. "Politicians’ outside earnings and electoral competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 140(3), pages 379-394, September.
    7. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1034-1054, September.
    8. Andreas Peichl & Nico Pestel & Sebastian Siegloch, 2013. "The politicians’ wage gap: insights from German members of parliament," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(3), pages 653-676, September.
    9. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2010. "Disclosure by Politicians," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 179-209, April.
    10. repec:hrv:faseco:33077931 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. McCubbins, Mathew D & Noll, Roger G & Weingast, Barry R, 1987. "Administrative Procedures as Instruments of Political Control," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 243-277, Fall.
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    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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