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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References listed on IDEAS
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- Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 1995.
"Incumbent Behavior: Vote-Seeking, Tax-Setting, and Yardstick Competition,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 25-45, March.
- Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1992. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote Seeking, Tax Setting and Yardstick Competition," NBER Working Papers 4041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 2003. "Political Institutions and Policy Choices: Evidence from the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 7-73, March.
- 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.
- Tim Besley, 2002. "Political institutions and policy choices: evidence from the United States," IFS Working Papers W02/13, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
- Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1995. "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.
- Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1993. "Does Electoral Accountability Affect Economic Policy Choices? Evidence from Gubernatorial Term Limits," NBER Working Papers 4575, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Loren Brandt & Scott Rozelle & Matthew A. Turner, 2004. "Local Government Behavior and Property Right Formation in Rural China," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 160(4), pages 627-627, December.
- Loren Brandt & Scott Rozelle & Matthew A. Turner, 2002. "Local Government Behavior and Property Right Formation in Rural China," Working Papers mturner-02-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
- Brandt, Loren & Rozelle, Scott & Turner, Matthew A., 2002. "Local Government Behavior And Property Rights Formation In Rural China," Working Papers 11988, University of California, Davis, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
- Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2003. "Do Electoral Cycles Differ Across Political Systems?," Working Papers 232, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
- Banks, Jeffrey S. & Sundaram, Rangarajan K., 1998. "Optimal Retention in Agency Problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 293-323, October. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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