When do politicians lie? A politician who admits to wrongdoing will likely suffer some loss of popularity, but probably not as great as if he denied wrong doing and was subsequently discovered to have lied. This simple observation has a number of implications. For example, a politician in a marginal seat may have little choice but to risk lying as admitting will lose him too much popularity to survive. On the other hand, a politician in a relatively safe seat might survive the loss from admitting, but not from lying and being caught. Therefore we might predict the likelihood that a politician admits to a scandal to be positively related (over some range at least) to the security of his seat. This paper tests this prediction, and some others, with data from House bank scandal of 1991-92.
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