Challengers, Democratic Contestation, and Electoral Accountability

37 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 23 Aug 2011

See all articles by Kenneth Shotts

Kenneth Shotts

Stanford University, Graduate School of Business

Scott Ashworth

University of Chicago

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

In most models of electoral accountability, the "challenger" is simply a passive replacement. We develop a model in which the challenger can actively criticize the incumbent's policy choices, and we use this model to analyze whether voters can use the challenger's critiques to enhance the incumbent's incentives to choose correct policies. If the challenger's information is soft, then challenger critiques are irrelevant, but if the challenger can obtain hard information the voter can use this information to discipline the incumbent. We extend our model to analyze selection concerns, the incumbency advantage, and incumbents' decisions about whether to focus on making policy or on generating public justifications for their policy choices.

Suggested Citation

Shotts, Kenneth and Ashworth, Scott, Challengers, Democratic Contestation, and Electoral Accountability (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1901510

Kenneth Shotts (Contact Author)

Stanford University, Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Scott Ashworth

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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