Political Resource Allocation: Benefits and Costs of Voter Initiatives
John Matsusaka () and
Nolan M McCarty
The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, 2001, vol. 17, issue 2, 413-48
This article explores the benefits and costs of the voter initiative, a direct democracy device that allows policy decisions to be made by voters rather than their elected representatives. Previous research suggests that by introducing "competition" into the proposal process, the initiative leads to policies that are closer to the median voter's ideal point. In our model, in contrast, the effect of the initiative is conditional on the severity of representative agency problems and uncertainty about voter preferences. The initiative always makes the voter better off when representatives are faithful agents, but when voter preferences are uncertain, initiatives can cause "shirking" representatives to choose policies farther from the voter's ideal point. Our evidence shows that initiatives are more common in states with heterogeneous populations, and initiatives reduce state spending when Democrats control the government and when citizens have diverse preferences. Copyright 2001 by Oxford University Press.
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (62) Track citations by RSS feed
There are no downloads for this item, see the EconPapers FAQ for hints about obtaining it.
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:17:y:2001:i:2:p:413-48
Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
Access Statistics for this article
The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization is currently edited by Andrea Prat
More articles in The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization from Oxford University Press Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Oxford University Press ().