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American Economic Review: Vol. 91 No. 1 (March 2001)

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The Provision of Public Goods under Alternative Electoral Incentives

Article Citation

Lizzeri, Alessandro, and Nicola Persico. 2001. "The Provision of Public Goods under Alternative Electoral Incentives." American Economic Review, 91(1): 225-239.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.91.1.225

Abstract

Politicians who care about the spoils of office may underprovide a public good because its benefits cannot be targeted to voters as easily as pork-barrel spending. We compare a winner-take-all system--where all the spoils go to the winner--to a proportional system--where the spoils of office are split among candidates proportionally to their share of the vote. In a winner-take-all system the public good is provided less often than in a proportional system when the public good is particularly desirable. We then consider the electoral college system and show that it is particularly subject to this inefficiency.

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Authors

Lizzeri, Alessandro (Princeton U)
Persico, Nicola (U PA)

JEL Classifications

D72: Models of Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
H41: Public Goods


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