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Pandering and Pork-Barrel Politics

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  • Eric Maskin
  • Jean Tirole

Abstract

We develop a model of pork-barrel politics in which a government official tries to improve her reelection chances by spending on targeted interest groups. The spending signals that she shares their concerns. We investigate the effect of such pandering on public spending. Pandering increases spending relative to a non-accountable official (one who does not have to run for reelection) if either the official's overall spending propensity is known, or if it is unknown but the effect of spending on the deficit is opaque to voters. By contrast, an unknown spending propensity may induce the elected official to exhibit fiscal discipline if spending is transparent.
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Suggested Citation

  • Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2014. "Pandering and Pork-Barrel Politics," Working Paper 194631, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  • Handle: RePEc:qsh:wpaper:194631
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    File URL: http://scholar.harvard.edu/maskin/node/194631
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    JEL classification:

    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior

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