Essays in political economy
Title: Essays in political economy
Author: ANDREOTTOLA, Giovanni
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2017
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of Economics
My thesis is centred on the question of how information asymmetries affect elections. In particular, I am interested in how electoral concerns shape policy choices and in the consequences of institutional arrangements aimed to providing voters with information on politicians. In the first chapter I model a primary election, i.e. an election to choose a candidate. I show that if party members do not know the quality of candidates, high quality candidates distinguish themselves by proposing more extreme policies. As a result, introducing primary elections increases the quality of candidates but it might lead to policy polarization. The second chapter, which is my job market paper, develops a model in which a politician takes a repeated action over an issue and is evaluated by a voter through an election. I show that politicians who flip-flop, i.e. change their decision on the issue, are penalized by voters, because flip-flopping signals incompetence. As a result, politicians have an incentive to protect their reputation by inefficiently sticking to their initial policy choice. This decreases the quality of both policy and electoral choices. The paper also discusses how changes in transparency and term limits can discipline the behaviour of politicians. My third and final chapter describes a media market in which a set of news outlets compete to break a news concerning a politician in office; after receiving a signal of whether the politician is corrupt, media outlets can either fact-check and learn the truth, or publish the news immediately. We show that increasing the number of outlets competing in the market results in less fact-checking and more fake corruption scandals being published. By making the re-election of honest incumbents more difficult, the increase in competition might therefore be detrimental to social welfare.
LC Subject Heading: Macroeconomics; Elections; Voting
Table of Contents:
-- 1. Signalling Valence in Primary Elections -- 2. Flip-flopping and Electoral Concerns -- 3. Candidates, Leaks and Media (written with Antoni Italo De Moragas)
Defence date: 25 October 2017; Examining Board: Professor Andrea Mattozzi, EUI, Supervisor; Professor David K. Levine, EUI; Professor Ronny Razin, London School of Economics; Professor Alessandro Riboni, Ecole Polytechnique.
Type of Access: openAccess