Lame Ducks and Divided Government: How Voters Control the Unaccountable
The ability of voters to use the available electoral instruments is crucial for the functioning of democracies. The paper shows that voters consider the institutional environment when making electoral decisions. Voters recognize that executives who face binding term limits (i.e., “lame ducks”) have incentives to deviate from the preferences of voters because these politicians are not subject to reelection restrictions. This weakened accountability can be counterbalanced by an alternative mechanism known as divided government. By dividing government control between the executive and legislative branches, voters can force a lame duck to compromise on policies with an opposing legislature. Using a panel data analysis of the US states from 1975 to 2000, it is shown that the probability of divided government is 10-15 percent higher when governors are lame ducks. This effect remains robust and significant even after controlling for many relevant covariates. This result provides evidence of the considerable capacity of voters to process information and use alternative electoral instruments to control an otherwise unaccountable executive.
|Date of creation:||Jul 2011|
|Date of revision:||Mar 2012|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Dufourstrasse 50, CH - 9000 St.Gallen|
Phone: +41 71 224 23 25
Fax: +41 71 224 31 35
Web page: http://www.seps.unisg.ch/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- 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, 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.
- Poterba, James M, 1994.
"State Responses to Fiscal Crises: The Effects of Budgetary Institutions and Politics,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 799-821, August.
- James M. Poterba, 1993. "State Responses to Fiscal Crisis: The Effects of Budgetary Institutionsand Politics," NBER Working Papers 4375, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Friedman, Daniel & Wittman, Donald, 1995. "Why voters vote for incumbents but against incumbency: A rational choice explanation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 67-83, May.
- Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002.
"How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?,"
NBER Working Papers
8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
- John Sondey & Jing Li, 2008. "Economic Stimulus: Charting The Cautious Course; Econometrics Versus Regression Analysis," Issue Briefs 2008496, South Dakota State University, Department of Economics.
- Roland Hodler & Simon Loertscher & Dominic Rohner, 2007.
"Inefficient Policies and Incumbency Advantage,"
Department of Economics - Working Papers Series
996, The University of Melbourne.
- Levitt, Steven D & Snyder, James M, Jr, 1997.
"The Impact of Federal Spending on House Election Outcomes,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 30-53, February.
- Steven D. Levitt & James M. Snyder, Jr., 1995. "The Impact of Federal Spending on House Election Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 5002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Alesina, Alberto & Rosenthal, Howard, 1996. "A Theory of Divided Government," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1311-41, November.
- James Rogers, 2005. "The Impact of Divided Government on Legislative Production," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 123(1), pages 217-233, April.
- List, John & Sturm, Daniel M, 2004.
"How Elections Matter: Theory and Evidence from Environmental Policy,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
4489, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- John A. List & Daniel M. Sturm, 2006. "How Elections Matter: Theory and Evidence from Environmental Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1249-1281.
- John A., List & Daniel, Sturm, 2006. "How Elections Matter: Theory and Evidence from Environmental Policy," Discussion Papers in Economics 768, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- John A. List & Daniel M. Sturm, 2004. "How Elections Matter: Theory and Evidence from Environmental Policy," NBER Working Papers 10609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- F. Andrew Hanssen, 2004. "Is There a Politically Optimal Level of Judicial Independence?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 712-729, June.
- Chari, V V & Jones, Larry E & Marimon, Ramon, 1997.
"The Economics of Split-Ticket Voting in Representative Democracies,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 957-76, December.
- V. V. Chari & Larry E. Jones & Ramon Marimon, 1997. "The economics of split-ticket voting in representative democracies," Working Papers 582, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- James E. Alt & David Dreyer Lassen & Shanna Rose, 2006. "The Causes of Fiscal Transparency: Evidence from the American States," EPRU Working Paper Series 06-02, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
- Joseph M. Johnson & W. Mark Crain, 2004. "Effects of Term Limits on Fiscal Performance: Evidence from Democratic Nations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 119(1_2), pages 73-90, 04.
- Daniel, Kermit & Lott, John R, Jr, 1997. " Term Limits and Electoral Competitiveness: Evidence from California's State Legislative Races," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 90(1-4), pages 165-84, March.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:usg:econwp:2011:30. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Martina Flockerzi)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.