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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Ludwig, Sandra / Schmitz, Hendrik

Ed. by Auriol, Emmanuelle / Barigozzi, Francesca / Brunner, Johann / Fleck, Robert / Mastrobuoni, Giovanni / Mendola, Mariapia / Requate, Till / de Vries, Frans / Wenzel, Tobias / Zulehner, Christine

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Volume 15, Issue 4


Volume 19 (2019)

Volume 6 (2006)

Volume 4 (2004)

Volume 2 (2002)

Volume 1 (2001)

Lexicographic Voting: Holding Parties Accountable in the Presence of Downsian Competition

Jan Klingelhöfer
  • Corresponding author
  • School of Business and Economics, RWTH Aachen University, Lehrstuhl für Volkswirtschaftslehre, insb. Mikroökonomie, Templergraben 64/V, 52062 Aachen, Germany
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Published Online: 2015-09-11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bejeap-2014-0117


This paper combines ideas from models of electoral competition with forward-looking voters and models of electoral competition with backward-looking voters. Two political parties can commit in advance to policy platforms, but not to a maximum level of rent extraction. In the case without uncertainty, the electorate can limit rents to the same extent as in a purely backward-looking model of accountability, and the policy preferred by the voter who represents the median preferences of the electorate is implemented. In the case with uncertainty about the bliss point of the representative voter, the electorate has to accept higher rent seeking by the incumbent politician, but nonetheless retains some control over rent extraction. The policy positions of the two competing parties do not converge as they do in the case without uncertainty. I show in an example that this nonconvergence can increase the welfare of the representative voter.

Keywords: accountability; elections; Downsian competition; voting; median voter

JEL Classification: D72


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About the article

Published Online: 2015-09-11

Published in Print: 2015-10-01

Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, Volume 15, Issue 4, Pages 1867–1892, ISSN (Online) 1935-1682, ISSN (Print) 2194-6108, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bejeap-2014-0117.

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