Information, polarization and term length in democracy

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt

This paper considers term lengths in a representative democracy where the political issue divides the population on the left-right scale. Parties are ideologically different and better informed about the consequences of policies than voters are. A short term length makes the government more accountable, but the re-election incentive leads to policy-distortion as the government seeks to manipulate swing voters' beliefs to make its ideology more popular. This creates a trade-off: A short term length improves accountability but gives distortions. A short term length is best for swing voters when the uncertainty is large and parties are not very polarized. Partisan voters always prefer a long term length. When politicians learn while in office a long term length becomes more attractive for swing voters.
TidsskriftJournal of Public Economics
Udgave nummer5-6
Sider (fra-til)1078-1091
Antal sider14
StatusUdgivet - 2008

Bibliografisk note

JEL classification: D72, H1, H7, K4

ID: 3798074