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Habit formation, strategic extremism, and debt policy

  • Egil Matsen
  • �ystein Th�gersen

We suggest a probabilistic voting model where voters� preferences for alternative public goods display habit formation. Current policies determine habit levels and in turn the future preferences of the voters. This allows the incumbent to act strategically in order to influence the probability of reelection. Comparing to a benchmark case of a certain reelection, we demonstrate that the incumbent�s optimal policy features both a more polarized allocation between the alternative public goods and a debt bias.

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Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 468.

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Date of creation: Jan 2010
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Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:468
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  1. Glazer, A. & Konrad, K.A., 1995. "The Electoral Politics of Extreme Policies," Papers 94-95-23, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  2. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
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  4. Caporale, Guglielmo Maria & Georgellis, Yannis & Tsitsianis, Nicholas & Yin, Ya Ping, 2009. "Income and happiness across Europe: Do reference values matter?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 42-51, February.
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  8. Matthew Rabin., 1997. "Psychology and Economics," Economics Working Papers 97-251, University of California at Berkeley.
  9. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
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  14. Cukierman, Alex & Edwards, Sebastian & Tabellini, Guido, 1992. "Seigniorage and Political Instability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 537-55, June.
  15. John Y. Campbell & John Cochrane, 1999. "Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 205-251, April.
  16. Edward L. Glaeser & Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2005. "Strategic Extremism: Why Republicans and Democrats Divide on Religious Values," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1283-1330.
  17. Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Scholarly Articles 3612769, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  18. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244, May.
  19. Cassing, James H & Hillman, Arye L, 1986. "Shifting Comparative Advantage and Senescent Industry Collapse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 516-23, June.
  20. Per Pettersson-Lidbom, 2001. "An Empirical Investigation of the Strategic Use of Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 570-583, June.
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