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Channeling the final Say in Politics

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Abstract

We examine how the final say in a sequence of proposals for local public project provision, financing, and redistribution can be channeled towards socially desirable outcomes, thereby breaking the dictatorial power of the last agenda-setter. Individuals are heterogeneous with some citizens benefiting from the public project (winners) and the rest losing (losers) relative to per-capita costs. Our main insight is that a simple ban on subsidies for the proposal-makers can achieve the purpose whenever the first proposal-maker is a winner and the second proposal-maker is a loser. Such a ban induces project winners to make efficient public project proposals that are however coupled with socially undesirable subsidy schemes. The best possible amendment for project losers is then to match the project proposal and to eliminate all subsidies. We further show that two-round proposal-making constitutes the minimal form of political competition yielding first-best outcomes and that restrictions on tax schemes are socially desirable.

Suggested Citation

  • Hans Gersbach & Oriol Tejada, 2012. "Channeling the final Say in Politics," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 12/164, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:eth:wpswif:12-164
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Diermeier, Daniel & Merlo, Antonio, 2000. "Government Turnover in Parliamentary Democracies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 46-79, September.
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    3. Philippe Aghion & Patrick Bolton, 2003. "Incomplete Social Contracts," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 38-67, March.
    4. Thomas Romer & Howard Rosenthal, 1978. "Political resource allocation, controlled agendas, and the status quo," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 27-43, December.
    5. Hans Gersbach, 2009. "Democratic Mechanisms," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(6), pages 1436-1469, December.
    6. Dutta, Bhaskar & Jackson, Matthew O & Le Breton, Michel, 2001. "Strategic Candidacy and Voting Procedures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 1013-1037, July.
    7. repec:cup:apsrev:v:81:y:1987:i:04:p:1323-1330_20 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Banks, Jeffrey S. & Gasmi, Farid., 1986. "Endogenous Agenda Formation in Three-Person Committees," Working Papers 603, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    9. Jackson, Matthew O. & Moselle, Boaz, 2002. "Coalition and Party Formation in a Legislative Voting Game," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 49-87, March.
    10. McKelvey, Richard D, 1979. "General Conditions for Global Intransitivities in Formal Voting Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1085-1112, September.
    11. Banks, Jeffrey s. & Duggan, John, 2000. "A Bargaining Model of Collective Choice," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 94(01), pages 73-88, March.
    12. McKelvey, Richard D., 1976. "Intransitivities in multidimensional voting models and some implications for agenda control," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 472-482, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Voters & Elections; Game Theory ; Social Choice & Welfare;

    JEL classification:

    • Q38 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy (includes OPEC Policy)
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General

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