A "Selection Model" of Political Representation
Citizen demands for more accountability and transparency are implicitly grounded in a model of political representation based primarily on sanctions, in which the interests of the representative (in economic terms, the agent) are presumed to conflict with those of the constituent (in economic terms, the principal). A selection model of political representation, as with a selection model of principal-agent relations more generally, is possible when the principal and agent have similar objectives and the agent is already internally motivated to pursue those objectives. If a potential representative’s intrinsic goals (overall direction and specific policies) are those the constituent desires and if the representative also has a verifiable reputation of being both competent and honest, a constituent can select that representative for office and subsequently spend relatively little effort on monitoring and sanctioning. The higher the probability that the objectives of principal and agent may be aligned, the more efficient it is for the principal to invest resources ex ante, in selecting the required type, rather than ex post, in monitoring and sanctioning. A selection model is efficient when agents face unpredictable future decisions, are hard to monitor, and must act flexibly. Accountability through monitoring and sanctioning is appropriate to the sanctions model, narrative accountability and deliberative accountability to the selection model. Normatively, the selection model tends to focus the attention of both citizens and representatives on the common interest. In political science the selection model was advanced in the early 1960s as one of the two paths to constituency control, but after the 1970s was eclipsed by the sanctions model in spite of data seeming to indicate that in many circumstances it has greater predictive power. Economists have only recently begun to apply the selection model significantly to politics.
|Date of creation:||Feb 2008|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/research/working_papers/index.htm
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.:
- Besley, Timothy J. & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2004.
"Competition and Incentives with Motivated Agents,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
4641, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Tim Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2005. "Competition and incentives with motivated agents," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 928, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2003. "Competition and incentives with motivated agents," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2202, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Robert Barro, 1973. "The control of politicians: An economic model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 19-42, March.
- Juliet Lodge, 1994. "Transparency and Democratic Legitimacy," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(3), pages 343-368, 09.
- Paul Magnette, 2003. "European Governance and Civic Participation: Beyond Elitist Citizenship?," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 51(1), pages 144-160, 03.
- Frey, Bruno S, 1997. "A Constitution for Knaves Crowds Out Civic Virtues," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1043-53, July.
- Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1997.
"An Economic Model of Representative Democracy,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114, February.
- Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . ""An Economic Model of Representative Democracy''," CARESS Working Papres 95-02, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
- Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
- Moe, Terry M, 1990. "Political Institutions: The Neglected Side of the Story," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(0), pages 213-53.
- John Lott, 1987. "Political cheating," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(2), pages 169-186, January.
- David S. Lee & Enrico Moretti & Matthew J. Butler, 2004. "Do Voters Affect Or Elect Policies? Evidence from the U. S. House," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859, August.
- Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
- John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
- Juliet Lodge, 1994. "Transparency and Democratic Legitimacy," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(3), pages 330-342, 09.
- Iris Bohnet & Bruno S. Frey & Steffen Huck, . "More Order with Less Law: On Contract Enforcement, Trust, and Crowding," IEW - Working Papers 052, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp08-010. 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: ()
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.