IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/kud/kuiedp/1704.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Choosing a Public-Spirited Leader. An experimental investigation of political selection

Author

Listed:
  • Thomas Markussen

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Jean-Robert Tyran

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

In this experiment, voters select a leader who can either act in the public interest, i.e. make efficient and equitable policy choices, or act in a corrupt way, i.e. use public funds for private gain. Voters can observe candidates’ pro-social behavior and their score in a cognitive ability test prior to the election, and this fact is known to candidates. Therefore, self-interested candidates have incentives to act in a pro-social manner, i.e. to pretend to be public-spirited leaders. We find that both truly pro-social and egoistic leaders co-exist, but that political selection is ineffective in choosing public-spirited leaders. The main reason is that egoistic candidates strategically pretend to be pro-social to increase their chances of winning the election.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Markussen & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2017. "Choosing a Public-Spirited Leader. An experimental investigation of political selection," Discussion Papers 17-04, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:1704
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/english/research/publications/wp/dp_2017/1704.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hoffman Elizabeth & McCabe Kevin & Shachat Keith & Smith Vernon, 1994. "Preferences, Property Rights, and Anonymity in Bargaining Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 346-380, November.
    2. Walker, James M, et al, 2000. "Collective Choice in the Commons: Experimental Results on Proposed Allocation Rules and Votes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(460), pages 212-234, January.
    3. Jordi Brandts & David J. Cooper & Roberto A. Weber, 2015. "Legitimacy, Communication, and Leadership in the Turnaround Game," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(11), pages 2627-2645, November.
    4. Fabio Galeotti & Daniel John Zizzo, 2015. "Competence versus Honesty : What Do Voters Care About ?," Working Papers 1520, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    5. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    6. Besley, Timothy & Smart, Michael, 2007. "Fiscal restraints and voter welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 755-773, April.
    7. Caselli, Francesco & Morelli, Massimo, 2004. "Bad politicians," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 759-782, March.
    8. Daniel Diermeier & Michael Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2005. "A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 347-373, March.
    9. Thomas Markussen & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2010. "Serving the Public Interest," NRN working papers 2010-21, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    10. Fernanda Brollo & Tommaso Nannicini & Roberto Perotti & Guido Tabellini, 2013. "The Political Resource Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1759-1796, August.
    11. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2006. "A theory of reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 293-315, February.
    12. Timothy Besley, 2005. "Political Selection," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 43-60, Summer.
    13. Messner, Matthias & Polborn, Mattias K., 2004. "Paying politicians," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2423-2445, December.
      • Matthias Messner & Mattias Polborn, 2003. "Paying Politicians," Working Papers 246, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    14. Ferraz, Claudio & Finan, Frederico S., 2008. "Motivating Politicians: The Impacts of Monetary Incentives on Quality and Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 3411, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Luca Corazzini & Sebastian Kube & Michel André Maréchal & Antonio Nicolò, 2014. "Elections and Deceptions: An Experimental Study on the Behavioral Effects of Democracy," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 58(3), pages 579-592, July.
    16. Friedel Bolle & Claudia Vogel, 2011. "Power comes with responsibility—or does it?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 459-470, September.
    17. Michael Kosfeld & Akira Okada & Arno Riedl, 2009. "Institution Formation in Public Goods Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1335-1355, September.
    18. B. Douglas Bernheim & Navin Kartik, 2014. "Candidates, Character, and Corruption," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 205-246, May.
    19. Matthias Sutter & Stefan Haigner & Martin G. Kocher, 2010. "Choosing the Carrot or the Stick? Endogenous Institutional Choice in Social Dilemma Situations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1540-1566.
    20. Pedro Dal Bo & Andrew Foster & Louis Putterman, 2010. "Institutions and Behavior: Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2205-2229, December.
    21. Jean‐Robert Tyran & Lars P. Feld, 2006. "Achieving Compliance when Legal Sanctions are Non‐deterrent," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(1), pages 135-156, March.
    22. Dufwenberg, Martin & Kirchsteiger, Georg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 268-298, May.
    23. Andrea Mattozzi & Antonio Merlo, 2007. "The Transparency of Politics and the Quality of Politicians," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 311-315, May.
    24. Putterman, Louis & Tyran, Jean-Robert & Kamei, Kenju, 2011. "Public goods and voting on formal sanction schemes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9-10), pages 1213-1222, October.
    25. Daniel Houser & Thomas Stratmann, 2006. "Selling Favors in the Lab: Experiments on Campaign Finance Reform," CESifo Working Paper Series 1727, CESifo.
    26. Daniel Houser & Sandra Ludwig & Thomas Stratmann, 2009. "Does Deceptive Advertising Reduce Political Participation? Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 1011, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
    27. Emrah Arbak & Marie Claire Villeval, 2013. "Voluntary Leadership: Selection and Influence," Post-Print halshs-00664830, HAL.
    28. Houser, Daniel & Morton, Rebecca & Stratmann, Thomas, 2011. "Turned on or turned out? Campaign advertising, information and voting," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 708-727.
    29. Thomas Markussen & Ernesto Reuben & Jean‐Robert Tyran, 2014. "Competition, Cooperation and Collective Choice," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(574), pages 163-195, February.
    30. Kenju Kamei & Louis Putterman & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2011. "State or Nature? Formal vs. Informal Sanctioning in the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods," Working Papers 2011-3, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    31. Daniel Houser & Thomas Stratmann, 2008. "Selling favors in the lab: experiments on campaign finance reform," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 136(1), pages 215-239, July.
    32. R. Cookson, 2000. "Framing Effects in Public Goods Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 3(1), pages 55-79, June.
    33. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
    34. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
    35. Daron Acemoglu & Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2010. "Political Selection and Persistence of Bad Governments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1511-1575.
    36. Rupert Sausgruber, 2009. "A note on peer effects between teams," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(2), pages 193-201, June.
    37. Navin Kartik & R. Preston McAfee, 2007. "Signaling Character in Electoral Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 852-870, June.
    38. Sugato Dasgupta & Kenneth C. Williams, 2002. "A Principal-Agent Model of Elections with Novice Incumbents," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 14(4), pages 409-438, October.
    39. Levy, David M. & Padgitt, Kail & Peart, Sandra J. & Houser, Daniel & Xiao, Erte, 2011. "Leadership, cheap talk and really cheap talk," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 40-52, January.
    40. Haigner, Stefan & Kocher, Martin & Sutter, Matthias, 2006. "Choosing the Stick or the Carrot? Endogenous Institutional Choice in Social Dilemma Situations," CEPR Discussion Papers 5497, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    41. Robert Barro, 1973. "The control of politicians: An economic model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 19-42, March.
    42. Thomas Markussen & Louis Putterman & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2014. "Self-Organization for Collective Action: An Experimental Study of Voting on Sanction Regimes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 301-324.
    43. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Government for the people, of the people, by people who are pretending
      by Nicholas Gruen in Club Troppo on 2017-04-03 18:05:24

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Galeotti, Fabio & Zizzo, Daniel John, 2018. "Identifying voter preferences: The trade-off between honesty and competence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 27-50.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Nicklisch, Andreas & Grechenig, Kristoffel & Thöni, Christian, 2016. "Information-sensitive Leviathans," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 1-13.
    2. Markussen, Thomas & Putterman, Louis & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2016. "Judicial error and cooperation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 372-388.
    3. Thomas Markussen & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2010. "Serving the Public Interest," Discussion Papers 10-11, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
      • Thomas Markussen & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2010. "Serving the Public Interest," NRN working papers 2010-21, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    4. Astrid Dannenberg & Carlo Gallier, 2020. "The choice of institutions to solve cooperation problems: a survey of experimental research," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 23(3), pages 716-749, September.
    5. Balafoutas, Loukas & Kocher, Martin G. & Putterman, Louis & Sutter, Matthias, 2013. "Equality, equity and incentives: An experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 32-51.
    6. Galeotti, Fabio & Zizzo, Daniel John, 2018. "Identifying voter preferences: The trade-off between honesty and competence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 27-50.
    7. Kube, Sebastian & Schaube, Sebastian & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah & Khachatryan, Elina, 2015. "Institution formation and cooperation with heterogeneous agents," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 248-268.
    8. Kamei, Kenju, 2014. "Promoting Competition or Helping Less-Endowed? An Experiment on Collective Institutional Choices under Intra-Group Inequality," MPRA Paper 56774, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Engel, Christoph, 2014. "Social preferences can make imperfect sanctions work: Evidence from a public good experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 343-353.
    10. Peter Martinsson & Emil Persson, 2019. "Public Goods and Minimum Provision Levels: Does the Institutional Formation Affect Cooperation?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 121(4), pages 1473-1499, October.
    11. Alexander Smith & Xi Wen, 2017. "Investing in institutions for cooperation," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 3(1), pages 75-87, July.
    12. Gürerk, Özgür & Irlenbusch, Bernd & Rockenbach, Bettina, 2014. "On cooperation in open communities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 220-230.
    13. Braendle, Thomas, 2013. "Do Institutions Affect Citizens' Selection into Politics?," Working papers 2013/04, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    14. Gari Walkowitz & Arne R. Weiss, 2014. ""Read my Lips!" Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Electoral Competition on Shirking and Trust," Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series 05-07, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences.
    15. Bettina Rockenbach & Irenaeus Wolff, 2016. "Designing Institutions for Social Dilemmas," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 17(3), pages 316-336, August.
    16. Kölle, Felix, 2020. "Governance and Group Conflict," MPRA Paper 98859, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. José Gabriel Castillo & Zhicheng Phil Xu & Ping Zhang & Xianchen Zhu, 2021. "The effects of centralized power and institutional legitimacy on collective action," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 56(2), pages 385-419, February.
    18. Astrid Dannenberg & Corina Haita-Falah & Sonja Zitzelsberger, 2020. "Voting on the threat of exclusion in a public goods experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 23(1), pages 84-109, March.
    19. Kenju Kamei & Louis Putterman & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2015. "State or nature? Endogenous formal versus informal sanctions in the voluntary provision of public goods," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(1), pages 38-65, March.
    20. Christoph Engel, 2013. "Deterrence by Imperfect Sanctions – A Public Good Experiment," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2013_09, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    political selection; pro-social behavior; social dilemma; corruption; voting;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:1704. 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: (Thomas Hoffmann). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/okokudk.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.