Do Elections Lead to Informed Public Decisions?
Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper No. 03-067/1
42 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2003
Date Written: August 25, 2003
Democracies delegate substantial decision power to politicians. Using a model in which an incumbent can design, examine and implement public policies, we show that examination takes place in spite of, rather than thanks to, elections. Elections are needed as a carrot and a stick to motivate politicians, yet politicians who are overly interested in re-election shy away from policy examination. Our analysis sheds light on the distance created in mature democracies between the political process and the production of policy relevant information; on the role played by probing into candidates' past; and on the possibility of crowding out desirable political behaviour by increasing the value of holding office.
Keywords: Democracy, Media, Policy Examination, Multiple Tasks, Information, Elections
JEL Classification: D72, D78, D83
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation