EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Lame Ducks and Divided Government: How Voters Control the Unaccountable

Mark Schelker

No 1130, Economics Working Paper Series from University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science

Abstract: The ability of voters to use the available electoral instruments is crucial for the functioning of democracies. The paper shows that voters consider the institutional environment when making electoral decisions. Voters recognize that executives who face binding term limits (i.e., “lame ducks”) have incentives to deviate from the preferences of voters because these politicians are not subject to reelection restrictions. This weakened accountability can be counterbalanced by an alternative mechanism known as divided government. By dividing government control between the executive and legislative branches, voters can force a lame duck to compromise on policies with an opposing legislature. Using a panel data analysis of the US states from 1975 to 2000, it is shown that the probability of divided government is 10-15 percent higher when governors are lame ducks. This effect remains robust and significant even after controlling for many relevant covariates. This result provides evidence of the considerable capacity of voters to process information and use alternative electoral instruments to control an otherwise unaccountable executive.

Keywords: Divided government; lame duck; term limit; accountability (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 41 pages
Date: 2011-07, Revised 2012-03
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 (3)

Downloads: (external link)
http://ux-tauri.unisg.ch/RePEc/usg/econwp/EWP-1130.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
Journal Article: Lame ducks and divided government: How voters control the unaccountable (2018) Downloads
Working Paper: Lame Ducks and Divided Government: How Voters Control the Unaccountable (2011) 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:usg:econwp:2011:30

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Economics Working Paper Series from University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ().

 
Page updated 2024-05-20
Handle: RePEc:usg:econwp:2011:30