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Inefficient policies and incumbency advantage


Hodler, R; Loertscher, S; Rohner, D (2010). Inefficient policies and incumbency advantage. Journal of Public Economics, 94(9-10):761-767.

Abstract

We present a model of (re)elections in which an incumbency advantage arises because the incumbent can manipulate issue salience by choosing inefficient policies in the policy dimension in which he is the stronger candidate. The voters are uncertain about the state of the world and the incumbent’s choice of policy. Under complete information they would reelect the incumbent if and only if the state is sufficiently high. Undesirable policy outcomes may be due to either a bad state or the incumbent’s choice of inefficient policies. The incumbent uses inefficient policies in intermediate states, whereby he creates uncertainty about the true state in such a way that voters are better off in expectation reelecting him. Hence the equilibrium exhibits an incumbency advantage that stems from asymmetric information and the use of inefficient policies.

Abstract

We present a model of (re)elections in which an incumbency advantage arises because the incumbent can manipulate issue salience by choosing inefficient policies in the policy dimension in which he is the stronger candidate. The voters are uncertain about the state of the world and the incumbent’s choice of policy. Under complete information they would reelect the incumbent if and only if the state is sufficiently high. Undesirable policy outcomes may be due to either a bad state or the incumbent’s choice of inefficient policies. The incumbent uses inefficient policies in intermediate states, whereby he creates uncertainty about the true state in such a way that voters are better off in expectation reelecting him. Hence the equilibrium exhibits an incumbency advantage that stems from asymmetric information and the use of inefficient policies.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:October 2010
Deposited On:17 Jan 2011 09:42
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:35
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0047-2727
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpubeco.2010.05.002

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