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Flip-opping and Electoral Concerns

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Abstract

Politicians who change their mind on a policy issue are often confronted with the accusation of being flip-oppers. However, a changing environment sometimes makes policy revisions necessary. The model developed in this paper suggests that flip-opping signals that politicians are poorly informed and is therefore detrimental to their reputation. As a result, electorally concerned politicians can have an incentive to stick to an inefficient policy choice in order to avoid the stigma of flip-opping. This behaviour damages both the quality of policies and the ability of voters to select competent politicians through elections. The paper also provides an in-depth discussion of how institutional features of the policy-making environment interact with the problem of insufficient flip-opping: these include term limits, the presence of media and the partial delegation of actions to independent agents and can be found in the Online Appendix.

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni Andreottola, 2020. "Flip-opping and Electoral Concerns," CSEF Working Papers 558, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:558
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