Electoral Accountability and Inter-district Externalities
28 Pages Posted: 29 May 2012 Last revised: 2 Mar 2016
Date Written: November 2015
This paper analyzes a multidistrict game of electoral accountability in which constituencies compete over scarce resources by setting expectations for targeted spending. I build a political agency model in which a vote-maximizing politician is subject to the oversight of distinct constituencies. The voters' demand for targeted spending in these constituencies is driven down by the competition among them. I characterize the unique equilibrium of this game. In order to make their constituency an attractive choice for discretionary spending, the voters adopt reelection standards below what they receive in equilibrium. They therefore tend to be satisfied with the distributive politics of the incumbent politician. The incumbent is then quite likely to win more than half of the votes.
Keywords: Electoral Accountability; Targeted spending; Political agency
JEL Classification: D72
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