Political Selection and the Concentration of Political Power

46 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2013

See all articles by Andreas Grunewald

Andreas Grunewald

University of Bonn - Economic Science Area

Emanuel Hansen

University of Cologne - Department of Economics

Gert Pönitzsch

Heidelberg University - Alfred Weber Institute for Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 18, 2013

Abstract

This paper studies the effects of power-concentrating institutions on the quality of political selection, i.e., the voters’ capacity to identify and empower competent politicians. In our model, candidates are privately informed about their abilities and are driven by office rents as well as welfare considerations. We show that variations in power concentration involve a trade-off. On the one hand, higher concentration of power enables the voters’ preferred politician to enforce larger parts of his agenda. On the other hand, higher power concentration increases electoral stakes and thereby induces stronger policy distortions. We identify a negative relation between the optimal level of power concentration and the extent of office motivation. In particular, full concentration of power is desirable if and only if politicians are mostly welfare oriented. The results of an empirical analysis are in line with this prediction.

Keywords: Elections, Constitutional Design, Selection, Asymmetric Information

JEL Classification: D72, D82, H11

Suggested Citation

Grunewald, Andreas and Hansen, Emanuel and Pönitzsch, Gert, Political Selection and the Concentration of Political Power (April 18, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2239979 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2239979

Andreas Grunewald

University of Bonn - Economic Science Area ( email )

Adenauerallee 24-42
D-53113 Bonn
Germany

Emanuel Hansen (Contact Author)

University of Cologne - Department of Economics ( email )

Cologne, 50923
Germany
++ 49 (0)221/470-8650 (Phone)

Gert Pönitzsch

Heidelberg University - Alfred Weber Institute for Economics ( email )

Grabengasse 14
Heidelberg, D-69117
Germany
+49 6221 54 2929 (Phone)

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