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The Impact of Direct Democracy on Crime: Is the Median Voter Boundedly Rational?

Justina A. V. Fischer

University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2005 from Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen

Abstract: Direct democracy is believed to lead to an allocation of resources that is closer to the median voter's preferences. If, however, the median voter suffers from bounded rationality, the allocation of public goods actually achieved should be affected. Based on recent empirical findings by economic psychologists, optimism bias and availability heuristic are assumed to influence the median voter's preferences for public safety; particularly, (1) a preference for lower spending on crime prevention and (2) a preference for fighting property crime to fighting violent crime is hypothesized. In consequence, in more direct democratic systems, a re-allocation of scarce means in favor of property crimes should be observed. Estimation of a structural economic model of crime using Swiss cantonal crime rates from 1986 to 2001 corroborates these hypotheses.

JEL-codes: D70 D80 K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 59 pages
Date: 2005-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-law, nep-pbe and nep-reg
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1)

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