EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Election and Divisiveness: Theory and Evidence

Elliott Ash, Massimo Morelli () and Richard Van Weelden

No 542, Working Papers from IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University

Abstract: We analyze the effort allocation choices of incumbent politicians when voters are uncertain about politician preferences. There is a pervasive incentive to “posture†by overproviding effort to pursue divisive policies, even if all voters would strictly prefer to have a consensus policy implemented. As such, the desire of politicians to convince voters that their preferences are aligned with the majority of the electorate can lead them to choose strictly pareto dominated effort allocations. Transparency over the politicians’ effort choices can either mitigate or re-enforce the distortions depending on the strength of politicians’ office motivation and the capacity for the holder of the office in question to effect change. When re-election concerns are paramount transparency about effort choices can be bad for both incentivizing politicians to exert effort on socially efficient tasks and for allowing voters to select congruent politicians. We take our theoretical results to the data with an empirical analysis o f how U.S. Congressmen allocate time across issues. Consistent with the theory, we find evidence of political posturing due to elections (among U.S. Senators) and due to higher transparency (among U.S. House Members). Keywords: Posturing, Reputation, Transparency, Effort Allocation, Multi-task. JEL: D72, D78, D82.

Date: 2015
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm and nep-pol
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (4)

Downloads: (external link)
https://repec.unibocconi.it/igier/igi/wp/2015/542.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
Working Paper: Elections and Divisiveness: Theory and Evidence (2015) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:igi:igierp:542

Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
https://repec.unibocconi.it/igier/igi/

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Working Papers from IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University via Rontgen, 1 - 20136 Milano (Italy).
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ().

 
Page updated 2024-05-15
Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:542