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The Effect of Party Discipline on the Electoral Accountability of Politicians

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  • Nicolas-Guillaume Martineau

    () (Département d'économique and GRÉDI, Université de Sherbrooke)

Abstract

This essay examines the influence of a politician's party on her accountability to the electorate. It also considers what the conjectured waning of political parties may imply for the effectiveness of elections in disciplining politicians, and for voter welfare. The paper models the election mechanism as a principal-agent relationship between the representative voter (principal) and the politician in office (agent). The party is heterogeneous, composed of factions whose preferences over policy differ. It may coerce the politician by threatening to remove her from the party's helm following certain policy choices. The main result is that putschist threats, despite being a distortion when the electoral mechanism is functioning well, can be welfare-enhancing in the presence of another distortion on the electoral mechanism. This serves to contribute to a theory of the political second-best.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas-Guillaume Martineau, 2012. "The Effect of Party Discipline on the Electoral Accountability of Politicians," Cahiers de recherche 12-04, Departement d'Economique de l'École de gestion à l'Université de Sherbrooke.
  • Handle: RePEc:shr:wpaper:12-04
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    File URL: http://gredi.recherche.usherbrooke.ca/wpapers/GREDI-1204.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Micael Castanheira & Benoît Crutzen & Nicolas Sahuguet, 2010. "The Impact of Party Organization on Electoral Outcomes," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 61(4), pages 677-695.
    2. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    political agency; factions; accountability; political parties; ideology; voter welfare;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General

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