Walkowitz, G. & A. Weiss
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization – (2017) Vol. 142, 348-367
Resum: We experimentally test whether electoral competition reduces shirking behavior by office-holders and increases citizens’ trust. Using a novel multi-person investment game with voting, we indeed find that elected office-holders shirk less (i.e., they back-transfer more to citizens relative to investments) than randomly appointed office-holders. Surprisingly, this effect is not driven by electoral competition inflating office-holders’ promises. Instead, elected office-holders feel more committed to their promises than their randomly appointed counterparts. Elections initially also increase citizens’ trust because voters select candidates with the “right” kind of promises: neither low nor non-credibly high. However, over the course of the entire experiment, we find no evidence that electoral competition increases citizens’ trust.