Fourteen Ways to Credibly Escape a Credible Commitment (and Still Get Re-Elected)
- 156 Downloads
The application of economic theory to political processes requires that it makes sense to conceive of these processes in terms of exchange. In the electoral process, politicians make promises to citizens or interest groups in exchange for votes or other forms of political support. However, in political life, as in many other forms of non-market exchange, the problem arises that there is no third party enforcement mechanism, analogous to legally enforceable property rights, which prevents the parties from cheating one another. If a politician promises a policy in order to win votes, and then, once elected, reneges on that promise, the citizenry cannot seek legal redress from this violation. All they can (implicitly) threaten to do is withdraw their support at the next election. Moreover, politicians and citizens can be presumed to be aware of this fact. How, then, can politicians get citizens to believe their promises or, in current jargon, how can they make credible commitments to citizens?
KeywordsPublic Choice Political Party Median Voter American Political Science Review Credible Commitment
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Alesina, Alberto. “Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters.” American Economic Review 78 (1988): 796–805Google Scholar
- Alesina, Alberto. “Political Cycles.” (1990): Paper delivered at the 1991 meetings of the European Public Choice Society, Beaune, France, April 3–6, 1991Google Scholar
- Axelrod, Robert. The Evolution of Cooperation New York: Basic Books, 1984Google Scholar
- Breton, Albert. “The Organization of Competition in Congressional and Parliamentary Governments”, in A. Breton, G. Galeotti, P. Salmon and R. Wintrobe, (eds.) The Competitive State, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Press, 1991Google Scholar
- Buchanan, James, and Tullock, Gordon. The Calculus of Consent. Ann Arbor, Michigan: The University of Michigan Press, 1962Google Scholar
- Fiorina, Morris. Congress: Keystone of the Washington Establishment. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977Google Scholar
- Howitt, Peter, and Wintrobe, Ronald. “Equilibrium Political Inaction in a Democracy.” In this volumeGoogle Scholar
- North, Douglass, and Weingast, Barry. “Constitutions and Commitment: Evolution of the Institutions Governing Public choice in 17th Century England.” Journal of Economic History (December 1989)Google Scholar
- Young, Robert. “Tectonic Policies and Political Competition”, in A. Breton, G. Galeotti, P. Salmon and R. Wintrobe, (eds.), The Competitive State, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Press, 1991Google Scholar