Constitutional Political Economy

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 336–351 | Cite as

When and how politicians take ‘scandalous’ decisions?

Original Paper


We study the decisions of a politician who maximizes his probability of being re-elected, which depends on the enactment of legislative instruments defined ‘scandalous’ because of their highly redistributive content. The agents are a politician and the voters; the legislative instruments available to the legislator are ordinary and executive laws, which differ according to their visibility. The theoretical model predicts that ‘scandalous’ legislation tends to be passed at the beginning of the legislature, while ‘non scandalous’, broader legislation, is approved mostly at the end of the legislation. Scandalous decisions, moreover, tend to be implemented by means of less visible executive legislation, while ordinary acts are mainly used to implement non scandalous decisions. This explanation of the genesis of legislation cycles is consistent with the findings of the empirical literature.


Legislation cycle Ordinary legislation Executive legislation Redistribution 

JEL Classification

D83 H71 C21 C73 



Paper presented at the workshop of the Centre Condorcet for Political Economy on “The Political Economy of Redistribution”. We would especially like to thank Vani K. Borooah, Amihai Glazer, Fabien Moizeau and Stanley Winer, the Editor of this review and two anonymous referees for comments and suggestions. The usual disclaimer applies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CREM-CNRS and Condorcet Centre for Political EconomyUniversité de Rennes 1RennesFrance
  2. 2.Department of Political StudiesUniversity Roma ‘Tre’RomeItaly
  3. 3.Department of EconomicsUniversity of VeronaVeronaItaly

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