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The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government

Eric Maskin and Jean Tirole

American Economic Review, 2004, vol. 94, issue 4, 1034-1054

Abstract: We build a simple model to capture the major virtues and drawbacks of making public officials accountable (i. e., subjecting them to reelection): On the one hand, accountability allows the public to screen and discipline their officials; on the other, it may induce those officials to pander to public opinion and put too little weight on minority welfare. We study when decision-making powers should be allocated to the public directly (direct democracy), to accountable officials (called "politicians"), or to nonaccountable officials (called "judges").

Date: 2004
Note: DOI: 10.1257/0002828042002606
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