American Economic Review: Vol. 94 No. 4 (September 2004)
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The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government
Maskin, Eric, and Jean Tirole. 2004. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government." American Economic Review, 94(4): 1034-1054.
We build a simple model to capture the major virtues and drawbacks of making public officials accountable (i. e., subjecting them to reelection): On the one hand, accountability allows the public to screen and discipline their officials; on the other, it may induce those officials to pander to public opinion and put too little weight on minority welfare. We study when decision-making powers should be allocated to the public directly (direct democracy), to accountable officials (called "politicians"), or to nonaccountable officials (called "judges").
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