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A Theory of Political Entrenchment

Author

Listed:
  • Gilles Saint-Paul

    (New York University [Abu Dhabi] - NYU - NYU System, PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Davide Ticchi

    (IMT Institute for Advanced Studies [Lucca])

  • Andréa Vindigni

    (Collegio Carlo Alberto - UNITO - Università degli studi di Torino, IMT Institute for Advanced Studies [Lucca])

Abstract

Can an incumbent political party increase its chances at re-election by implementing inefficient policies that harm its constituency? This paper studies the possibility of such a phenomenon, which we label political entrenchment. We use a two-party dynamic model of redistribution with probabilistic voting. Political entrenchment by the Left occurs only if incumbency rents are sufficiently high. Low-skill citizens may vote for this party even though they rationally expect the adoption of these policies. We discuss: the possibility of entrenchment by the Right; the scope for commitment to avoid entrenchment policies; and the effect of state capacity, income inequality and party popularity on the likelihood of entrenchment. We illustrate our theory with a number of historical examples.

Suggested Citation

  • Gilles Saint-Paul & Davide Ticchi & Andréa Vindigni, 2016. "A Theory of Political Entrenchment," Post-Print halshs-01380198, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-01380198
    DOI: 10.1111/ecoj.12215
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01380198
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political Entrenchment;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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