PE Research Seminar: Dan Gibbs

Oct 20, 2020, 12:15 pm1:15 pm
via Zoom


Event Description

I develop a formal accountability model to study pandering in settings where multiple politicians, each accountable to their own constituency, are responsible for policymaking. I find that politicians’ incentives to pander are strongest for a single executive and become weaker as the number of politicians involved in policymaking increases. I identify a condition under which expanding the size of a group improves the quality of its policy-making even if new members face strong individual electoral incentives to manipulate the group into selecting a popular policy. These results challenge a well-known argument in Federalist 70 that politicians face weaker incentives to act in the interests of the electorate when political institutions allow blame for perceived policy failures to be directed towards others. I show that if voters misunderstand which policies are in their best interests, decision-making institutions that allow blame to be dispersed protect politicians from the negative electoral consequences of prudent policy decisions.