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Do Elections Always Notivate Incumbents? Learning Vs Career Concerns

  • Borgne, Eric Le

    (IMF)

  • Lockwood, Ben

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick,)

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.

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File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2008/twerp714.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 714.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:714
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Web page: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/

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  1. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . ""An Economic Model of Representative Democracy''," CARESS Working Papres 95-02, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  2. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Besley, Timothy J. & Smart, Michael, 2002. "Does Tax Competition Raise Voter Welfare?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3131, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, . "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," Working Papers 100, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  7. repec:rus:hseeco:110836 is not listed on IDEAS
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