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Do Elections Always Notivate Incumbents? Learning Vs Career Concerns

Author

Listed:
  • Borgne, Eric Le

    (IMF)

  • Lockwood, Ben

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick,)

Abstract

This paper studies a principal-agent model of the relationship between officeholder and the electorate, where everyone is initially uninformed about the officeholder’s ability. If office-holder effort and ability interact in the determination of performance in office, then an office-holder has an incentive to learn i.e. raise effort so that performance becomes a more accurate signal of her ability. Elections reduce the learning effect, and the reduction in this effect may more than offset the positive “career concerns” effect of elections on effort. Moreover, when this occurs, appointment of officials may welfare-dominate elections.

Suggested Citation

  • Borgne, Eric Le & Lockwood, Ben, 2004. "Do Elections Always Notivate Incumbents? Learning Vs Career Concerns," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 714, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:714
    as

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    File URL: https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2008/twerp714.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Torsten Persson & Gérard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 1997. "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1163-1202.
    2. repec:rus:hseeco:110836 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114.
    4. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
    5. Besley, Timothy J. & Smart, Michael, 2002. "Does Tax Competition Raise Voter Welfare?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3131, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. 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 139-156, March.
    7. Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999. "The Economics of Career Concerns, Part II: Application to Missions and Accountability of Government Agencies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 199-217.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Career Concerns ; Elections ; Citizen-Candidate ; Learning ; Effort ; Incomplete Information;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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