Voter Conformism and Inefficient Policies

40 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2019 Last revised: 14 Nov 2019

See all articles by Huihui Ding

Huihui Ding

University of Cergy-Pontoise - THEMA

Cecile Aubert

GREThA; French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) - Laboratoire d'Economie des Ressources Naturelles (LERNA)

Date Written: October 8, 2019

Abstract

We study the efficiency of policies when some voters are conformists who like being on the winner's side and when policies signal information. A reelection-seeking incumbent has private and fully informative information on both her ability and the quality of her policy. Repealing a policy signals a mistake, which downgrades her perceived ability and may thus cause inefficient policy persistence. Conformism is independent from policies and from voters' perceptions, yet we identify a `conformism advantage' for the incumbent that exists only when there is also an incumbency advantage. We contrast an efficient equilibrium with an inefficient, pooling, one . Strong conformism makes pandering less likely, and may even eliminate it. Nonzero weak conformism can however deteriorate welfare and increase pandering, but paradoxically only when the incumbent is `altruistic' and values social welfare even when not in power.

Keywords: conformity, pandering, incumbency advantage, signaling

JEL Classification: D72, D82

Suggested Citation

Ding, Huihui and Aubert, Cecile, Voter Conformism and Inefficient Policies (October 8, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3359166 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3359166

Huihui Ding (Contact Author)

University of Cergy-Pontoise - THEMA ( email )

33 boulevard du port
F-95011 Cergy-Pontoise Cedex, 95011
France

Cecile Aubert

GREThA ( email )

Avenue Leon Duguit
33608 Pessac Cedex, 33608
France

French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) - Laboratoire d'Economie des Ressources Naturelles (LERNA) ( email )

21, Allee de Brienne
31000 Toulouse
France

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