Political Accountability and Democratic Institutions: An Experimental Assessment
36 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2019
Date Written: June 2019
We study the extent to which centralized democratic institutions enhance collective action under political accountability. In a public goods game with costly punishment, we vary the appointment of one group member to enforce punishment. Specifically, we compare democratically elected punishers to those appointed exogenously, under both single- and multiple election environments. We find that democratically appointed sanctioning authority has muted effects on group outcomes. Yet, democratically elected authorities contribute as much as other group members when facing repeated elections, as opposed to the ones in single elections or exogenously appointed. One important feature of modern governance to discipline authorities is political accountability; when in place, it offers different incentives, and in particular, we observe a responsibility effect reflected in higher contribution behavior. Important in our study results, this effect rises only under a democracy.
Keywords: public goods game, democracy, political accountability
JEL Classification: C92, D72, H41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation