A Structural Model of Electoral Accountability

(with Allan Drazen and Razvan Vlaicu)


This paper proposes a structural approach to measuring the effects of electoral accountability. We estimate a political agency model with imperfect information in order to identify and quantify discipline and selection effects, using data on U.S. governors. We find that the possibility of reelection provides a significant incentive for incumbents to exert effort, that is, a disciplining effect. We also find a positive but weaker selection effect. According to our model, the widely-used two-term regime improves voter welfare by 4.2% compared to a one-term regime.

First draft  : April 2015


Most Recent Working Paper  [December 2016]

NBER Working Paper 21151 [May 2015]