Do Elections Always Motivate Incumbents? Experimentation vs. Career Concerns

32 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2006

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: March 2003

Abstract

This paper studies a principal-agent model of the relationship between an incumbent officeholder and the electorate, where the officeholder is initially uninformed about her ability. If officeholder effort and ability interact in the production function that determines performance in office, then an officeholder has an incentive to experiment - that is, raise effort so that performance becomes a more accurate signal of her ability. Elections reduce the experimentation effect, and the reduction in this effect may more than offset the positive career-concerns effect of elections on effort. Moreover, when this occurs, appointment of officeholders may Pareto-dominate elections.

Keywords: Career Concern, Elections, Citizen Candidate, Experimentation, Tournaments, Political Business Cycles

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

Suggested Citation

Le Borgne, Eric and Lockwood, Ben, Do Elections Always Motivate Incumbents? Experimentation vs. Career Concerns (March 2003). IMF Working Paper No. 03/57, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=879132

Eric Le Borgne (Contact Author)

International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

700 19th Street NW
Washington, DC 20431
United States

Ben Lockwood

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

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
52
Abstract Views
647
rank
419,134
PlumX Metrics