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Towards a Behavioral Public Choice: Guilt-Aversion and Accountability in the Lab

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Abstract

Mimicking standard features of electoral accountability and selection models, we conduct a computerized laboratory experiment in order to identify the influence of other-regarding preferences on democratic outcomes. We find that elected candidates are more pro-social towards their constituency the more favorable approval rates are. In contrast, this systematic positive relationship is not observed if the appointment is unintentionally determined by computer. These results suggest that a substantial fraction of candidates is motivated by guilt aversion. We discuss the implications of these findings for the design of democratic institutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Luca Corazzini, Sebastian Kube, Michel André Maréchal, 2007. "Towards a Behavioral Public Choice: Guilt-Aversion and Accountability in the Lab," ISLA Working Papers 27, ISLA, Centre for research on Latin American Studies and Transition Economies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:slp:islawp:islawp27
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    Cited by:

    1. Balafoutas, Loukas, 2011. "Public beliefs and corruption in a repeated psychological game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 51-59, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    guilt aversion; social preferences; accountability; constitutional design; public choice; experiment.;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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