DP9467 Benchmarking Politicians

Author(s): Antonio Estache, Renaud Foucart
Publication Date: May 2013
Keyword(s):
JEL(s): D7, D82
Programme Areas: Public Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=9467

We study a political system in which voters can optimally pick between political platforms, but cannot screen the quality of individual politicians associated with these platforms. A bad individual achievement can correspond to either incompetence (adverse selection) or corruption (moral hazard). Information could improve, if independent experts assess achievements as compared to commitments, allowing independent judges to investigate possible corruption. We find that while good experts are always beneficial as they increase transparency, the impact of the quality of judges is ambiguous. Above a threshold, with risk-averse social planners, good judges increase the incentive-compatible punishment of politicians, at the cost of possible judiciary mistakes.