Political Accountability and Democratic Institutions: An Experimental Assessment

36 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2019

See all articles by Jose G. Castillo

Jose G. Castillo

ESPOL Polytechnic University, College of Social Sciences and Humanities

John Hamman

Florida State University - Department of Economics

Date Written: June 2019

Abstract

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

Castillo, Jose G. and Hamman, John, Political Accountability and Democratic Institutions: An Experimental Assessment (June 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3425639 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3425639

Jose G. Castillo (Contact Author)

ESPOL Polytechnic University, College of Social Sciences and Humanities ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/jcastilloecon/

John Hamman

Florida State University - Department of Economics ( email )

Tallahassee, FL 30306-2180
United States

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