Private agenda and re-election incentives

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Consider a politician who has to take two sequential decisions during his term in office. For each decision, the politician faces a trade-off between taking what he believes to be the decision that generates a public benefit, thus increasing his chances of re-election, and taking the decision that increases his private gain but is likely to decrease his chances of re-election. In our results we find that if the politician is a good enough decision maker and he desires to be re-elected enough, he takes the action that generates a public benefit regardless of his private interests. Moreover, we find that the behavior such that the politician delays taking the action that generates a public benefit to the last period of his term in office before he is up for re-election is optimal if and only if he has either very high or very low decision making skills.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)899-915
JournalSocial Choice and Welfare
Issue number4
Early online date14 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


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