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Clueless Politicians

Author

Listed:
  • Christopher Cotton

    () (Queen's University)

  • Cheng Li

    () (Mississippi State University)

Abstract

We develop a model of policymaking in which a politician decides how much expertise to acquire or how informed to become about issues before interest groups engage in monetary lobbying. For a range of issues, the policymaker prefers to remain clueless about the merits of reform, even when acquiring expertise or better information is costless. Such a strategy leads to intense lobbying competition and larger political contributions. We identify a novel benefit of campaign finance reform, showing how contribution limits decrease the incentives that policymakers have to remain uninformed or ignorant of the issues on which they vote.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Cotton & Cheng Li, 2016. "Clueless Politicians," Working Papers 1341, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:1341
    as

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    File URL: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/working_papers/papers/qed_wp_1341.pdf
    File Function: First version 2016
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Raphael Boleslavsky & Christopher Cotton, 2015. "Grading Standards and Education Quality," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 248-279, May.
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    1. repec:eee:ecolet:v:161:y:2017:i:c:p:93-95 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    lobbying; strategic ignorance; campaign finance; rent seeking;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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