Do Elections Always Motivate Incumbents? Learning Versus Re-Election Concerns

24 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2004

See all articles by Eric Le Borgne

Eric Le Borgne

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Ben Lockwood

University of Warwick - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: October 2004

Abstract

This Paper studies a principal-agent model of the relationship between office-holder and an electorate, where everyone is initially uninformed about the office-holder's ability. If office-holder effort and ability interact in the determination of performance in office, then an office-holder has an incentive to learn, i.e., raise effort so that performance becomes a more accurate signal of their ability. Elections reduce the learning effect, and the reduction in this effect may more than offset the positive 're-election concerns' effect of elections on effort, implying higher effort with appointment. When this occurs, appointment of officials may welfare-dominate elections.

Keywords: Career concerns, elections, citizen-candidate, learning, effort, incomplete information

JEL Classification: D72, D78, H41, J44, J45

Suggested Citation

Le Borgne, Eric and Lockwood, Ben, Do Elections Always Motivate Incumbents? Learning Versus Re-Election Concerns (October 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=631006

Eric Le Borgne

International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

700 19th Street NW
Washington, DC 20431
United States

Ben Lockwood (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
+44 24 7652 8906 (Phone)
+44 24 7657 2548 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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