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A Theory of Political Entrenchment

Listed author(s):
  • Gilles Saint-Paul

    (New York University Abu Dhabi, PSE - Paris School of Economics, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - 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 - Collegio Carlo Alberto, IMT Institute for Advanced Studies [Lucca])

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.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" with number halshs-01380198.

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Date of creation: Jun 2016
Publication status: Published in The Economic Journal, 2016, 126 (593), pp.1238-1263. 〈10.1111/ecoj.12215〉
Handle: RePEc:hal:pseose:halshs-01380198
DOI: 10.1111/ecoj.12215
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01380198
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/

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