New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2005‒10‒04
three papers chosen by

  1. Succession Rules and Leadership Rents By Kai A. Konrad; Stergios Skaperdas
  2. Re-election Threshold Contracts in Politics By Gersbach, Hans; Liessem, Verena
  3. Party Discipline and Pork-Barrel Politics By Grossman, Gene; Helpman, Elhanan

  1. By: Kai A. Konrad; Stergios Skaperdas
    Abstract: Leaders compensate supporters not just for performing their duties but also in order to preempt an overthrow by the same supporters. We show how succession rules affect the power of leaders relative to supporters as well as the resources expended on possible succession struggles. We compare two regimes of leadership succession: the conclave regime and the divide-et-impera regime which differ with respect to the role of supporters of the previous leader once the new leader takes power. The leadership rent is higher and supporters receive a lower compensation in the divide-et-impera regime, as supporters have to fight harder for succession to avoid the grim outcome of loss. A leader, then, would like to induce the divide-et-impera regime even when every supporter has veto power over his leadership.
    Keywords: political leadership, political support, political survival, successorship
    JEL: D72 D74 H50 N40
    Date: 2005
  2. By: Gersbach, Hans; Liessem, Verena
    Abstract: When politicians are provided with insufficient incentives by the democratic election mechanism, social welfare can be improved by threshold contracts. A threshold contract stipulates the performance level that a politician must reach in order to obtain the right to stand for re-election. 'Read my lips' turns into 'read my contract'. Politicians can offer the threshold contracts during their campaign. These threshold contracts do not violate the liberal principle of free and anonymous elections in democracies.
    Keywords: democracy; elections; threshold contract
    JEL: D72 D82
    Date: 2005–08
  3. By: Grossman, Gene; Helpman, Elhanan
    Abstract: Polities differ in the extent to which political parties can pre-commit to carry out promised policy actions if they take power. Commitment problems may arise due to a divergence between the ex ante incentives facing national parties that seek to capture control of the legislature and the ex post incentives facing individual legislators, whose interests may be more parochial. We study how differences in "party discipline" shape fiscal policy choices. In particular, we examine the determinants of national spending on local public goods in a three-stage game of campaign rhetoric, voting, and legislative decision-making. We find that the rhetoric and reality of pork-barrel spending, and also the efficiency of the spending regime, bear a non-monotonic relationship to the degree of party discipline.
    Keywords: electoral competition; party politics; political economy; public goods
    JEL: D72 H41
    Date: 2005–09

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