Pandering and Pork-Barrel Politics

Maskin, Eric and Tirole, Jean (2019) Pandering and Pork-Barrel Politics. Journal of Public Economics, vol. 176. pp. 79-93.

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We develop a model of pork-barrel politics in which a government official tries to improve her reelection chances by spending on targeted interest groups. The spending signals that she shares their concerns. We investigate the effect of such pandering on the public deficit. Pandering widens the deficit relative to a non-accountable official (one who does not have to run for reelection) if either the official’s overall spending propensity is known, or if it is unknown but the effect of spending on the deficit is opaque to voters. By contrast, an unknown spending propensity may induce the elected official to exhibit fiscal discipline if the deficit is transparent.

Item Type: Article
Language: English
Date: August 2019
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Accountability, pandering, deficit bias, redistributive politics, budget caps
JEL Classification: H1 - Structure and Scope of Government
H7 - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
K4 - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior
Divisions: TSE-R (Toulouse)
Site: UT1
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2019 10:26
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2019 10:26
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