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Ideology Without Ideologists

  • Lydia Mechtenberg

Generally, Democrats do not increase military spending, and Republicans do not raise welfare payments. Mostly, ruling politicians stick to the manifesto of their party. The current paper provides a theoretical explanation for this phenomenon that does not assume politicians or voters to be ideologists. I explore an environment where both voters and politicians always prefer the policy that is adequate to the world state but contradicts the party manifesto over the policy that is in line with the manifesto but not adequate. I find that nevertheless, the inefficient manifesto-driven policy will often result from their interaction. Besides, I show that a high degree of agreement between the politician in office, his party basis and the voter makes efficient, informed policy rare or even impossible. But if homogeneity of convictions within parties is high, swing voter behavior can solve the problem.

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File URL: http://sfb649.wiwi.hu-berlin.de/papers/pdf/SFB649DP2007-021.pdf
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Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany in its series SFB 649 Discussion Papers with number SFB649DP2007-021.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2007-021
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  1. Cukierman, A. & Tommasi, M., 1997. "When does it take a Nixon to go to China?," Discussion Paper 1997-91, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. J. Farrell, 2010. "Meaning and Credibility in Cheap Talk Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 533, David K. Levine.
  3. Y. Stephen Chiu, 2002. "On the Feasibility of Unpopular Policies under Re-Election Concerns," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 68(4), pages 841-858, April.
  4. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse Shapiro, 2005. "Media Bias and Reputation," NBER Working Papers 11664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Cowen, Tyler & Sutter, Daniel, 1998. " Why Only Nixon Could Go to China," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 97(4), pages 605-15, December.
  6. Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1993. "Economic Policy, Economic Performance, and Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 27-42, March.
  7. Heidhues, Paul & Lagerlof, Johan, 2003. "Hiding information in electoral competition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 48-74, January.
  8. Eric Maskin, 2003. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," Theory workshop papers 505798000000000076, UCLA Department of Economics.
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