Lame Ducks and Divided Government: How Voters Control the Unaccountable
University of St. Gallen; CREMA
CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3523
Divided government is not only the outcome of moderate voters’ electoral decision to balance party ideology in government, but a more general reaction of voters to a systematic control problem. Voters realize that term limited executives (i.e., “lame ducks”) cannot be held accountable due to the missing re-election incentives. By dividing government control voters force a lame duck to compromise on policies with an opposing legislature and restrict his ability to extract rents. Based on US state data I present empirical evidence showing that the probability of divided government is 9 to 15 percent higher when governors are lame ducks.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 39
Keywords: divided government, lame duck, term limit, accountability
JEL Classification: D720working papers series
Date posted: July 26, 2011
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