Voters’ Commitment Problem and Welfare-Program Reforms

CentER Discussion Paper Series No. 2009-93

28 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2009

See all articles by David Hollanders

David Hollanders

Tilburg University - Center and Faculty of Economics and Business Administration

Barbara Vis

Utrecht University School of Governance

Date Written: November 24, 2009

Abstract

This paper proposes that reforms by vote-seeking governments and the existence of reform-adverse voters are logically compatible. This results from a commitment problem on the part of voters. Due to economic voting voters cannot credibly commit to reelect a non-reforming government during a recession. The empirical implication of this voter commitment mechanism is that governments only adopt visible welfare-program reforms during economic lows, which is what the empirical political-economic literature has established.

Keywords: Commitment, Political Economy, Reform, Welfare-Programs

JEL Classification: D72, D78, H11, H5, I38, J48

Suggested Citation

Hollanders, David and Vis, Barbara, Voters’ Commitment Problem and Welfare-Program Reforms (November 24, 2009). CentER Discussion Paper Series No. 2009-93. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1517274 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1517274

David Hollanders

Tilburg University - Center and Faculty of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Barbara Vis (Contact Author)

Utrecht University School of Governance ( email )

Bijlhouwerstraat 6
Utrecht, 3511 ZC
Netherlands

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