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Divisive politics and accountability

Áron Kiss

European Journal of Political Economy, 2012, vol. 28, issue 2, 208-214

Abstract: The paper analyzes a political accountability game with an electorate of ‘partisan’ and ‘independent’ voters. It is shown that politicians have a strategic incentive to engage in ‘divisive politics’, that is, to force some independent voters to take sides, even if the direct electoral benefits are higher for their opponents than for themselves. By polarizing the electorate, the incumbent politician weakens the ability of independent voters to make him accountable for his policies in the common interest. Moreover, the interests of the incumbent and the opposition are aligned: the opposition also benefits from divisive politics because, in equilibrium, its election probability increases.

Keywords: Political accountability; Ideology; Party attachment; Divided society (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 H11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012
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Working Paper: Divisive Politics and Accountability (2011) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:poleco:v:28:y:2012:i:2:p:208-214

DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2011.11.004

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