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Accountability with Large Electorates

R. Emre Aytimur () and Christian Bruns

The Economic Journal, 2019, vol. 129, issue 620, 1529-1560

Abstract: We show that ignorant voters can succeed in establishing high levels of electoral accountability. In our model, an incumbent politician is confronted with a large number of voters who receive fuzzy private signals about her performance. A sampling effect enables the incumbent to form a precise estimate of the median voter's signal, and the resulting level of accountability is as if the incumbent faced a perfectly informed social planner. Public information or ideological preferences can impair the beneficial impact of the sampling effect on accountability; overconfidence of voters can restore the full benefit of the sampling effect.

Date: 2019
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