PEC: Peter Bils

Oct 11, 2018, 12:15 pm12:15 pm
Fisher Hall 200



Event Description

Political institutions often grant executive policymakers authority on the premise that they have the expertise to craft effective solutions to difficult policy issues. Executives are criticized, however, for choosing disproportionate policies that exaggerate the degree of action required to address particular situations. Such policies can have severe consequences, e.g., an overly aggressive military operation resulting in civilian casualties.  To better understand the conditions under which disproportionate policies arise, I develop a model of elections in which officeholders differ in their expertise. In equilibrium, moderate policies are viewed unfavorably by the electorate. Consequently, politicians are motivated to enact extreme policies in order to appear informed to voters. Disproportionate policies are most likely when the election is competitive and the candidates are ideologically polarized.