Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Fact Finding Trips to Italy: An experimental investigation of voter incentives

Rodet, Cortney S. (2011): Fact Finding Trips to Italy: An experimental investigation of voter incentives.

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Abstract

This paper addresses the interaction of voter information and seniority on electoral accountability. We test whether information leads voters to be less tolerant of moral hazard in a legislative system favoring seniority. A simple game theoretic model is used to predict outcomes in a pork-barrel experiment where subjects act as legislators and voters. Senior legislators have an advantage in providing transfers which presents the opportunity to shirk where legislators can enrich themselves at the expense of voters. Voter information about incumbent behavior is varied across experimental treatments. We find that accountability increases when voters can compare their own legislator’s behavior to the behavior of others. Despite the fact that voters succumb to the incentives of seniority, information is effective in deterring legislator shirking.

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