The Usefulness of Corruptible Elections
The belief that elections reduce rent seeking by government officials is widely held, likewise the belief that rent seeking decreases as elections are less subject to corruption. In this paper we develop and test a model in which these beliefs are carefully examined. Our model indicates that, while elections may provide a disincentive for rent seeking, this disincentive (1) need not actually materialise, and (2), is not necessarily correlated with the integrity of the electoral protocol. We next consider the ability of village-level elections in rural China to reduce rent seeking, and the extent to which this ability varies as the elections are more or less corruptible. We find that in practice, even elections that appear quite corruptible provide a strong disincentive to rent seeking. Moreover, our results indicate which types of electoral reform lead to more effective popular oversight of leaders, and which do not.
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|Date of creation:||11 Jul 2003|
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- Besley, Timothy J. & Case, Anne, 2002.
"Political Institutions and Policy Choices: Evidence from the United States,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
3498, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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"Local Government Behavior And Property Rights Formation In Rural China,"
11988, University of California, Davis, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
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"Incumbent Behavior: Vote Seeking, Tax Setting and Yardstick Competition,"
NBER Working Papers
4041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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"Does Electoral Accountability Affect Economic Policy Choices? Evidence from Gubernatorial Term Limits,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 769-798.
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- Banks, Jeffrey S. & Sundaram, Rangarajan K., 1998. "Optimal Retention in Agency Problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 293-323, October.
- Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2003. "Do Electoral Cycles Differ Across Political Systems?," Working Papers 232, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
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