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Serving the Public Interest

Thomas Markussen () and Jean-Robert Tyran

No 10-11, Discussion Papers from University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics

Abstract: We present a model of political selection in which voters elect a president from a set of candidates. We assume that some of the candidates are benevolent and that all voters prefer a benevolent president, i.e. a president who serves the public interest. Yet, political selection may fail in our model because voters cannot easily tell benevolent from egoistic candidates by observing their pre-election behavior. Egoistic types may strategically imitate benevolent types in the pre-election stage to extract rents once in office. We show that strategic imitation is less likely if the political system is likely to produce good governance. That is, if benevolent candidates are common, if the president has little discretionary power, and if the public sector is effective. We analyze the role of institutions like investigative media and re-election and show that they can improve or further hamper political selection, depending on the parameters of the political game.

Keywords: political selection; elections; social preferences; political leadership (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D64 D72 D82 H0 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 23 pages
Date: 2010-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-cta, nep-pbe and nep-pol
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2)

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:kud:kuiedp:1011

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