Journal Article

Political Motivations

Steven Callander

in The Review of Economic Studies

Published on behalf of Review of Economic Studies Ltd

Volume 75, issue 3, pages 671-697
Published in print July 2008 | ISSN: 0034-6527
Published online July 2008 | e-ISSN: 1467-937X | DOI:
Political Motivations

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  • Analysis of Collective Decision-making


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Are politicians motivated by policy outcomes or by the perks of office? To shed light on this important question, I develop a simple model of two candidate electoral competitions in which candidates may be either office or policy motivated. In a second departure from standard formulations, the model incorporates both campaign and post-election behaviour of candidates. In this environment, I find that office-motivated candidates are favoured in electoral competition but that their advantage is limited by the electoral mechanism itself and policy-motivated candidates win a significant fraction of elections. More importantly, I show that the competitive interaction among candidates of different motivations affects the incentives of all candidates—both office and policy motivated—and that this competition affects policy outcomes. I also extend the model to explore the decision of citizens to enter politics and show that in all equilibria policy-motivated citizens compose a majority of the candidate pool.

Keywords: D72

Journal Article.  14976 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Analysis of Collective Decision-making

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