Political Statement Cycle

55 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2018 Last revised: 18 Feb 2020

See all articles by Jun Goto

Jun Goto

Kobe University

Tomoko Matsumoto

Tokyo University of Science

Junichi Yamasaki

Kobe University

Date Written: September 18, 2018

Abstract

Elected politicians may engage in opportunistic behavior for private benefits, which is a central problem in democratic societies. While re-election incentives can mitigate this problem, they may also induce words without actions: politicians pander to voters right before elections by proposing attractive policies but without actually implementing them. Using the minutes from assembly meetings, we find that politicians' statements follow election cycles: in election years, politicians temporarily change their statements (e.g., increasing amounts of money specified) during the budget-making process, and their contents become less consistent with the realized budget. The effects are larger for politicians whose previous electoral victories were narrower and these changes are associated with a higher probability of being re-elected. We find little evidence that politicians put more efforts to realize their policies when re-election incentives increase. These results imply a failure of the delegation system between voters and politicians, a key element of representative democracy.

Keywords: Re-election Incentives, Machine Learning, Minutes of Assembly, Political Budget Cycle

JEL Classification: D72, H1

Suggested Citation

Goto, Jun and Matsumoto, Tomoko and Yamasaki, Junichi, Political Statement Cycle (September 18, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3238998 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3238998

Jun Goto

Kobe University ( email )

2-1, Rokkodai
Nada-Ku
Kobe, Hyogo, 657-8501
Japan

Tomoko Matsumoto

Tokyo University of Science ( email )

1-3 Kagurazaka
Tokyo, 162-8601
Japan

Junichi Yamasaki (Contact Author)

Kobe University ( email )

2-1, Rokkodai
Nada-Ku
Kobe, Hyogo, 657-8501
Japan

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