Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Seniority, Information and Electoral Accountability

Rodet, Cortney Stephen (2013): Seniority, Information and Electoral Accountability.

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Abstract

This paper addresses the impact information has on electoral accountability in a legislative system based on seniority using laboratory experiments. A purely rational choice perspective of a simple voting environment implies that information is inconsequential when seniority is exceptionally valuable. Seniority advantage presents the opportunity to shirk at the expense of voters. I contrast the rational choice perspective to behavioral considerations of trust, betrayal and expectations. Voter information about incumbent behavior is varied across experimental treatments, and I find that information leads to accountability when voters can compare their own incumbent’s behavior to the behavior of others. Moreover, information deters incumbent shirking.

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