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Leaping into the dark: A theory of policy gambles

Author

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  • Anand, Kartik
  • Gai, Prasanna
  • König, Philipp Johann

Abstract

Why do politicians sometimes pursue policies with uncertain outcomes? We present a model in which politicians are unable to pre-commit to a status quo policy, and where investors and voters face a conflict over the division of output. Politicians may deviate from the status quo and pursue risky policy gambles in order to raise aggregate output to satisfy voters. These policy gambles may have a "populist" and self-fulfilling flavour: they can command electoral support despite being against voters' best interests. We analyse how consensus-building institutions eliminate the gamble equilibrium and enhance voter welfare. We interpret the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union through the lens of the model.

Suggested Citation

  • Anand, Kartik & Gai, Prasanna & König, Philipp Johann, 2020. "Leaping into the dark: A theory of policy gambles," Discussion Papers 07/2020, Deutsche Bundesbank.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:bubdps:072020
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    policy gambles; policy uncertainty; multiple equilibria; economic populism; Brexit;
    All these keywords.

    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
    • P16 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Capitalist Economies - - - Capitalist Institutions; Welfare State

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