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Why are Reforms incomplete? Reputation versus the " need for enemies "

Pourquoi les réformes sont-elles incomplètes ? Réputation versus « besoin d'ennemis »

Maxime Menuet and Patrick Villieu ()

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Abstract: Why do Politicians not solve social problems? One reason may be that such problems are very difficult to solve. Another one may be that Politicians have not the ability to solve difficult problems, i.e. they are "incompetent". But there is another reason: Politicians sometimes lack the incentive to solve problems because of inefficiencies generated by electoral process in representative democracies. It is the case when Politicians have the incentive "to keep their enemies alive", precisely because they are competent in solving the problem: once the problem removed, competent Politicians lose their electoral advantage. In this paper, we show that reputational strengths can, to some extent, circumvent Politicians' incentives not to address the problems. If the reputation of an incumbent Politician depends on the amount of reforms he implements, and positively affects his probability of being reelected, the trade-off between reputation and the "need for enemies" leads to an incomplete set of reforms, which can handle only a part of the problems. This mechanism might contribute to the explanation of the high degree of persistence of some social or economic diseases such as, specifically, public indebtedness.

Keywords: Public Debt; Public Choice; Non-cooperative games; Reputation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016-01-06
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Working Paper: Why are Reforms incomplete? Reputation versus the "need for enemies" (2015) Downloads
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