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Do Elections Always Motivate Incumbents? Learning versus Re-election Concerns

Ben Lockwood () and Eric Le Borgne

No 4664, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: This Paper studies a principal-agent model of the relationship between officeholder and an electorate, where everyone is initially uninformed about the officeholder?s ability. If office-holder effort and ability interact in the determination of performance in office, then an office-holder has an incentive to learn, i.e., raise effort so that performance becomes a more accurate signal of their ability. Elections reduce the learning effect, and the reduction in this effect may more than offset the positive ?re-election concerns? effect of elections on effort, implying higher effort with appointment. When this occurs, appointment of officials may welfare-dominate elections.

Keywords: Career concerns; Elections; Citizen-candidate; Learning; Effort; Incomplete information (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 D78 H41 J44 J45 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2004-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm
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