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Electoral accountability and political competence

Gailmard, Lindsey (2022) Electoral accountability and political competence. Journal of Theoretical Politics, 34 (2). Art. No. 095162982210818. ISSN 0951-6298. doi:10.1177/09516298221081809.

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Much research contends that candidate competence brings technical or political skill, such that selecting against such attributes seems irrational. However, if special interest coalitions are sufficiently strong, a majority may expect that political expertise will be used to select policies that generate rents for narrow constituencies at the expense of its own welfare. I develop a model in which a majority prefers to elect the less competent politician in order to undermine the incumbent’s ability to pursue the special interest agenda and derive the implications for accountability in this setting. The results demonstrate that the majority’s attempts to reassert control over policy through its retention decisions impede social welfare maximizing reform and distort aggregate welfare by either encouraging ([Formula: see text]) inefficient policy selection or ([Formula: see text]) inefficient candidate selection. Even if politicians choose policies that maximize social welfare doing so may only worsen aggregate welfare by providing voters with more information about candidate competence, which enables the majority to better select inept politicians.

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Gailmard, Lindsey0000-0001-7500-3466
Additional Information:© 2022 by SAGE Publications. Article first published online: April 12, 2022.
Subject Keywords:Accountability, competence, special interest influence
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220427-625291100
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Official Citation:Gailmard, L. (2022). Electoral accountability and political competence. Journal of Theoretical Politics, 34(2), 236–261.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:114475
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:27 Apr 2022 19:30
Last Modified:27 Apr 2022 19:30

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