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Multitasking, limited liability and political agency

Hatfield, John William and Padro i Miquel, Gerard (2006) Multitasking, limited liability and political agency. . John William Hatfield and Gerard Padro i Miquel.

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This paper considers a political accountability framework in which the politician exerts unobserved e¤ort in two independent dimensions. Since the worst payo¤ to the politician is removal from o¢ ce, this contracting environment exhibits limited liability. We show that limited liability implies that it is di¢ cult to implement vectors that devote attention to both dimensions. Hence citizens must decide between a high e¤ort allocation to a single task or a low total e¤ort allocation split between the two tasks. Given this, we consider why we do not observe more direct elections of separate ministers, which would allow for better balanced allocations of e¤ort. We …nd that if elections are primarily used as devices to weed out low type politicians, a united executive dominates one with divided accountability. These results give support to the view that elections act chie‡y as selection devices.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2006 the authors
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D7 - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making > D72 - Economic Models of Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
D - Microeconomics > D8 - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty > D86 - Economics of Contract: Theory
Date Deposited: 12 May 2008 15:37
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 11:40

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