Democracy and Visibility
We examine the role of visibility in influencing government resource allocation across multiple public goods. In an electoral framework, outcomes are defined to be less visible in tasks if it is harder to assess government ability based on observed outcomes. Such a 'visibility effect' distorts resource allocation towards more visible goods. Our model provides an explanation for government neglect in the provision of several essential public goods, despite their considerable benefits. It throws light on the even more puzzling phenomena of voter apathy towards such neglect, and the focus of political competition on issues with small welfare benefits. We show that, even though greater democracy does reduce moral hazard in government effort, there need not be a monotonic improvement in provision of some essential public goods. Good/services with low visibility are more prone to multiple equilibria in resource allocation, such that the outcome depends on voter expectations. We present on evidence on less and more visible public good outcomes in countries at varying levels of democracy.
|Date of creation:||Apr 2000|
|Date of revision:||Dec 2000|
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/econ/wparchive/index.html|
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.:
- Barro, Robert J., 1999.
"Determinants of Democracy,"
3451297, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- David Spector, 2000.
"Rational Debate And One-Dimensional Conflict,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 115(1), pages 181-200, February.
- Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee, 1998. "Expenditure Decentralization and the Delivery of Public Services in Developing Countries," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 90, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
- Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999.
"The economics of career concerns: part 2 :application to missions and accountability of government agencies,"
ULB Institutional Repository
2013/9641, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Dewatripont, Mathias & Jewitt, Ian & Tirole, Jean, 1999. "The Economics of Career Concerns, Part II: Application to Missions and Accountability of Government Agencies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 199-217, January.
- Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990.
"Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
- Rodrik, Dani, 2000.
"Institutions For High-Quality Growth: What They Are And How To Acquire Them,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
2370, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Dani Rodrik, 2006. "Institutions for High-Quality Growth: What They Are and How to Acquire Them," Chapters, in: Institutions, Globalisation and Empowerment, chapter 2 Edward Elgar.
- Dani Rodrik, 2000. "Institutions for High-Quality Growth: What They are and How to Acquire Them," NBER Working Papers 7540, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Dewatripont, Mathias & Jewitt, Ian & Tirole, Jean, 1999.
"The Economics of Career Concerns, Part I: Comparing Information Structures,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 183-98, January.
- Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999. "The economics of career concerns: part 1 :comparing information structures," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9617, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1998. "Sources of Inefficiency in a Representative Democracy: A Dynamic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 139-56, March.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0009. 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: (John P. Conley)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.