Obfuscation, Inequality and Votes: A Model of Policy Choice under Rent Seeking
This paper applies the concept of optimal obfuscation to fast-growth, high-inequality emergent economies. The obfuscation level depends on the nature of policy, government propaganda or 'spin', and GDP growth. The conditions are identified for a negative impact of economic growth on electoral support for the government, as well as for the relative size of the impacts on the vote of a marginal decline in growth, as opposed to a marginal increase in the exogenous component of obfuscation. The model suggests reasons behind different responses in government policy, and policy labelling, to falling electoral support in Chile and Malaysia.
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