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Off-the-peak preferences over government size

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  • Francisco Martínez-Mora

    ()

  • M. Socorro Puy

Abstract

We study the political consequences of policy preferences which are non-symmetric around the peak. While the usual assumption of symmetric preferences is innocuous in political equilibria with plat-forms convergence, it is not neutral when candidates are differentiated. We show that a larger government size emerges when preferences of the median voter off-the-peak are more intense towards overprovision (what we call wasteful preferences), whereas a smaller government results when her preferences are more intense towards underprovision (scrooge preferences). We then analyze the determinants of preferences off-the-peak and find that: (i) The sign of the third derivative of the policy-induced utility function indicates whether preferences are wasteful (positive) or scrooge (negative). (ii) The analog of Kimball's coefficient of prudence can be used to measure degrees of wastefulness and scroogeness. (iii) Consumers' risk aversion and government decreasing effectiveness in producing the public good generate scrooge.

Suggested Citation

  • Francisco Martínez-Mora & M. Socorro Puy, 2010. "Off-the-peak preferences over government size," Discussion Papers in Economics 10/04, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  • Handle: RePEc:lec:leecon:10/04
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Single-peaked preferences; citizen-candidate; coefficient of prudence; differentiated platforms; risk-aversion;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies

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