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ISSN 2385-2275 No. 13 - July 2015

Sophisticated Electoral Accountability: A Political Psychology Agency Theory

IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca, Italy Questo indirizzo email è protetto dagli spambots. È necessario abilitare JavaScript per vederlo.


I propose a political agency model where rent-maximizer rulers are constrainedby sophisticated principals/producers that use an awareness-management model ala Benabou and Tirole. In the first part of the paper I empirically test the theoreticalnexus between education and political sophistication by comparing individualswith different education attainments within more than eighty countries and morethat twenty religious groups introduced to capture specic cultural variation inthe results.  And elastic (inelastic) political beliefs for respondents with a tertiary(primary) degree according to the quality of political institutions. Motivatedby that, I model Political Psychology predictions by introducing heterogeneity onthe electoral side: producers are endowed with di fferent levels of education, thatincrease over time with human capital investments. I allow education to be boththe engine of growth and a determinant of political participation; in equilibrium,more educated societies are more able to punish politicians that, in turn, investmore in productive public goods such as infrastructure, roads or legal rules forcontracts enforcement. I prove the existence of multiple steady states featuring,respectively, a sophisticated society with congruent politicians in once, and a naivesociety ruled by dissonant politicians. Finally, I address inequality concerns andshow how, for intermediate values, inequality opposingly hits citizens and ruler andonly the latter is found to better or  conversely, citizens are averse to inequality,contributing to explain, via sophisticated accountability, why most people dislikeliving in a society which is too unequal.Keywords: political economy, voting, signaling, sophistication, naivet e, human capital,economic growth, inequality.


JEL classification:  H30, O43, D21, D72.2

Keywords: political economy, voting, signaling, sophistication, naivete, human capital, economic growth, inequality


First Version: September 20, 2012

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