Munich Personal RePEc Archive

A Political-Economy Perspective on Mayoral Elections and Urban Crime

Batabyal, Amitrajeet and Beladi, Hamid (2020): A Political-Economy Perspective on Mayoral Elections and Urban Crime.

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We provide a political-economy analysis of crime prevention in an arbitrary city in the United States. City residents (voters) elect mayors (politicians) and elected mayors determine the resources to be allocated to crime prevention. Between the two time periods, there is an election. Politicians are either honest or dishonest. The marginal cost of public monies ψ measures how efficiently an elected mayor converts tax receipts into crime prevention. Voters have identical per period utility functions. We ascertain the equilibrium outcome and per period voter well-being. Second, we show that an increase in ψ reduces the equilibrium allocation of resources to crime prevention and voter well-being. Third, a dishonest politician can delay the revelation of his dishonesty. A critical value of ψ,ψ^*, exists such that a dishonest incumbent separates and loses the election if and only if ψ>ψ^* and he pools and is re-elected otherwise. Finally, we note that an increase in ψ can raise voter well-being when politicians are more likely to be dishonest.

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